By Hayden Carter
In its season opener, the California State University, Bakersfield women’s basketball team defeated the United States Air Force Academy 96-56 on Friday, Nov. 14 at the Icardo Center.
After being picked as the preseason favorites to win the Western Athletic Conference women’s basketball championship, the ‘Runners (1-0, 0-0 WAC) cruised passed the Falcons (0-1, 0-0 Mountain West Conference) in front of a crowd of more than 500 people.
“The girls played hard,” said head coach Greg McCall. “They did a lot of great things out there today. We shot the ball well and we executed pretty well on offense. I’m very proud to get this first win.”
Red-shirt senior guard Tyonna Outland scored a game-high 28 points and also recorded six assists and four steals.
“I think it was a great start,” said Outland. “We saw things we have to fix in practice, but, overall, I think our chemistry is there and people know their roles. So, I think we’re in a good place.”
Senior guard Brooklynn Hinkens scored a career-high 21 points, shooting 5-8 from the 3-point line and 7-10 overall.
“Coach McCall and I have talked a lot about what my role on this team is and [my role] is to shoot,” said Hinkens. “So, when I’m out there and I’m open, I’m going to shoot.”
The ‘Runners took a 15 point lead into halftime and never looked back once the second half started. The CSUB bench scored a combined 34 points, with junior forward Batabe Zempare and redshirt-sophomore forward Erika Williams both scoring 10 points each.
“[Our bench] is definitely a lot deeper,” said McCall. “Our bench did a really good job. I’m really confident in our bench just as much as I am with our starters. If we switched roles and our starters were coming off the bench, I think we’d get the same results.”
CSUB also distributed the ball well throughout the game, with junior guard Alyssa Shannon tallying a game-high eight assists.
After beating an Air Force team that went 1-28 last year, the ‘Runners will now travel to Arizona next week to face the University of Arizona and Arizona State.
“It’s going to be a challenge,” said McCall. “We’re looking forward to going out there and playing against two PAC-12 opponents.”
The ‘Runners will then return home to face Fresno Pacific on Nov. 26 at 7 p.m. and Fresno State on Nov. 30 at 12 p.m. at the Icardo Center.