Just by watching pregame warm-ups, it was obvious the Cal State Bakersfield women's basketball team would be facing a distinct size disadvantage against visiting Cal on Friday night.
The two teams' height disparity became even more apparent once the game began, as the much-taller Bears quickly raced to a double-digit lead and never looked back in beating the Roadrunners 84-46 at the Icardo Center.
Cal, ranked No. 11 in the latest AP and USA Today/ESPN Top 25 polls, out-scored CSUB 50-16 in the paint and out-rebounded the 'Runners 48-23.
"Cal is good," CSUB coach Greg McCall said. "They're a really good team. They're going to be really tough and we should expect to see them deep into post-season play if they continue to play the way they play."
Tyonna Outland was one of the few bright spots for CSUB, slashing her way into the lane for several driving layups and finishing with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor.
Her solid performance wasn't enough though to keep CSUB (1-7) from setting a new all-time low in points scored for a game.
"We were getting off the shots we wanted to take," McCall said. "They just weren't falling."
Gennifer Brandon and Brittany Boyd had 19 points each to pace Cal (7-1), which was coming off its first loss of the season, a 77-63 setback on the road against No. 4 Duke.
Friday night's game marked the first time a nationally ranked team traveled to Bakersfield to play in the Icardo Center since CSUB became a NCAA Division I school.
The match-up against one of the nation’s elite teams didn’t begin well for the ’Runners.
CSUB missed its first eight field goal attempts, while Cal was 6-of-7 from the field to start the game.
The early shooting imbalance, along with six Roadrunners turnovers during the first four minutes helped the Bears pull out to a quick 13-1 advantage.
“It set the tone for them,” McCall said of Cal’s quick start. “Obviously we really wanted to knock down some shots. We started off really slow. We were cold.”
Cal continued to grow its lead throughout the first half and was in front 50-23 at halftime. The Bears did most of their first-half damage inside, out-scoring CSUB 32-6 in the paint during the first 20 minutes.
“Their height did bother us,” McCall said. “We knew that coming in that was going to be something that we really had to deal with. We tried to do our best on that part.”
Boyd, who was just 1-of-9 from 3-point range through Cal’s first six games, made all three of her attempts from behind the arc against CSUB. The athletic guard was 7-of-11 from the field overall.
Brandon, a 6-foot-2 forward, was just as hot, making 7-of-10 field goal attempts. A lot of her points came on put-backs after offensive rebounds.
CSUB’s normally potent long-range offensive attack struggled to get going against the Bears’ pressure, man-to-man defense.
The ’Runners shot just 26-percent (17-of-53) from the field including 6-of-26 from 3-point range.
Cal made 50.8-percent of its shots from the floor.
Despite the setback, McCall was proud of how hard his team fought against an elite foe.
“That was one of the things that I was really impressed with,” he said. “They really tried to battle.”