CSUB comes up short against UTRGV in WAC Semi-finals.


Chris Lopez/ The Runner

CSUB senior Alexxus Gilbert shoots over UTRGV defender on March 15,2019

Chris Burdick, Assistant Sports Editior

With a trip to the WAC Tournament finals on the line in the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The number three seeded CSU Bakersfield took the court to play against the number two seed University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley.

With a spectacular regular season in the books for the Roadrunners, senior guards Alexxus Gilbert and Jazmine Johnson were selected for multiple WAC team honors.

Gilbert was selected for the All-WAC first team ranking third in the conference in scoring with 16.6 points per game and ranking second in free-throw percentage in the league at 83 percent.

Johnson was selected to the WAC All-Defensive team for the second straight season and currently sits 45th in steals on the national scale along with third in league stats.

CSUB began the game with a tough defensive mindset and started strong by holing the Vaqueros to only one made shot in 12 attempts.

Freshman guard Ashley Austin and Sophomore center Vanessa Austin were able to get the offense going early with nine quick points giving the Roadrunners a 9-6 lead with four minutes remaining in the first quarter until UTRGV was able to capitalize and make all five of their final shots of the quarter.

Ending the first quarter with a score of 15-14 with UTRGV win the lead.

The defensive battle continued to the second quarter as the Roadrunners were able to hold the Vaqueros to 37 percent shooting from the field.

Gilbert erupted for seven of the team’s 16 total second quarter points, as the Roadrunners controlled the lead for 11 minutes of the first half of play.

UTRGV was able to control the lead with the first half ending with a score of 34-30.

CSUB came out of halftime with even more energy on the defensive side of the court. Creating multiple back-to-back turnovers, igniting the CSUB crowd as they created a 13-point run with help from Vanessa Austin who contributed with nine third quarter points including a couple huge and-one baskets.

CSUB took the lead late in the third quarter until UTRGV was able to bounce back with an 8-1 run of their own ending the third quarter with a very close score of 47-46 the Vaqueros in the lead.

The Vaqueros were able to take that late momentum they created in the third and carry it over into the fourth quarter, going on a 14-point scoring run to push the lead even further.

Johnson played hard in the 4th quarter and created two back-to-back breakaways that lowered the score to 61-54 with three minutes remaining in the game.

UTRGV was able to hold off the potential comeback by the Roadrunners, as the game ended with a score of 69-58.

“This is the toughest part of the job, to come out here and face this part of it,” head coach Greg McCall said about the loss. “It’s the toughest part because you know it’s come to an end, and you never want it to end this way.”

Gilbert, who played all 40 minutes of the game, ended with a solid 12-point performance on 5-19 shooting from the field. And even with her time ending in the CSUB basketball program, Gilbert is ready to pass the torch to her younger teammates.

“I’ve been here all four years and I wouldn’t trade that for anything,” Gilbert said. “To the underclassman I hope they take this as motivation to work hard for next year and I’m just looking forward to a future for myself and my fellow seniors.”

Despite finishing off her career with this semi-final loss, Johnson is looking forward to her future outside of basketball.

“This season was a season to teach the younger players because I know my time would be up soon and I’m happy with that,” Johnson said postgame. “I’m not really sad because basketball is something I do it’s not who I am, so I’m just happy for all the seniors who are graduating and I’m just ready to go into my masters.”

Coach McCall also commented that the team will use this loss as something to build upon for the future.

“These things have left a great foundation to build upon,” said McCall. “We got one more crack at this before we move on to the next conference, but we will come back even stronger and better.”

This is the third time that the Roadrunners have fallen to the Vaqueros in the semi-final round of the WAC Tournament.