For the second game in row, Cal State Bakersfield’s women’s basketball team held a lead in the final minutes. But for the second game in a row, CSUB lost.
This time, Missouri-Kansas City (6-13, 2-2 Western Athletic) guard India Johnson made a layup with 1.7 seconds left to down the Roadrunners (8-10, 2-2), 60-58, in the Icardo Center on Thursday.
CSUB had one last chance with the ball on the offensive half of the court, but the inbound pass from Alize’ Lofton to Jazmine Bartee was intercepted.
“Disappointed,” CSUB head coach Greg McCall said. “Very disappointed, very angry because we did not play how we’re supposed to play.”
The Roadrunners’ best surge of the game came midway through the third quarter. CSUB gave up 23 points in the first quarter and spent the rest of the game up to that point trying to claw its way out of the 10-point deficit.
With the Roadrunners down by nine, CSUB’s Malaysia McHenry hit a jumper that started a 21-6 run. Alexxus Gilbert swished a jumper and a 3-pointer. Aja Williams hit a 3, too, and all of sudden CSUB held a six-point lead with four-and-a-half minutes to go.
But the Roadrunners couldn’t close out the game. UMKC surged back for seven straight points. The Kangaroos benefited from a foul by CSUB’s Dalis Jones near midcourt with fewer than 10 seconds left on the UMKC shot clock. The ensuing free throws gave the Kangaroos a two-point lead with 37.7 seconds left in the game.
Bartee managed a layup for CSUB with 22 seconds left to tie the game at 58. Then the Roadrunners allowed UMKC’s Johnson — who drives almost exclusively to the right side — to penetrate the right side of the defense. Johnson got around two CSUB defenders and hit the layup that ultimately was the game winner.
“We allowed the girl to go all the way with her right hand, which that’s the way she loves to go — to her right,” McCall said. “We knew that and we allowed her to go all the way with her right hand and get an easy layup.”
Lofton missed a player open for a shot on the inbound pass that ended the game, McCall said.
CSUB lost despite outscoring the Kangaroos in each of the final three quarters. The Roadrunners were led by point guard Alexxus Gilbert’s 13 points and Bartee’s six rebounds. CSUB shot 45.7 percent from the field but just 56.3 percent on 16 shots from the free throw line.
UMKC’s Samantha Waldron had a game-high 15 points, as did Johnson. The Kangaroos shot 54.5 percent in the fourth quarter and outrebounded CSUB, 31-27, in the game.
“We didn’t do enough and play smart enough at the end to get the stop that we needed,” McCall said.