CSUB women vs Chicago State

Jazmyne Bartee grabs a rebound from two Chicago State Cougars. The senior is one of the Roadrunners top rebounders and defenders.

Rod Thornburg / For The Californian

The Cal State Bakersfield women’s basketball team played its one and only exhibition game Tuesday night, meaning the beginning of the season is the next yearly milestone to come.

The Roadrunners open the year at Texas-El Paso on Nov. 11 before its first home game of the year against Fresno Pacific on Nov. 14.

Here are three key players, games and numbers for the year:

KEY PLAYERS

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Aja Williams

Aja Williams

CSUB Athletics

Aja Williams, senior forward

Williams was CSUB’s No. 2 scorer last season and is one of the team’s top returning 3-point threats. She’s worked on improving her midrange game and will be needed again to grab her fair share of rebounds.

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Jazmyne Bartee

Jazmyne Bartee

CSUB Athletics

Jazmyne Bartee, redshirt senior center

As well as being the team’s Energizer Bunny, Bartee is its anchor down low. She shot 59.1 percent last year and led the conference in blocks per game. Bartee will likely be the team’s leading rebounder again this season.

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Alexxus Gilbert

Alexxus Gilbert

Alexxus Gilbert, junior guard

Gilbert will be tasked with controlling the pace of the game and CSUB’s new offense from the point guard position. There will be bumps early in the season and it’ll be up to Gilbert on the court to be patient enough to let the pick plays work.

KEY GAMES

At Stanford, Nov. 19

Stanford is the only team on the Roadrunners’ schedule in the preseason Top 25. The Cardinal comes in at No. 10. and will be a tough early-season challenge.

Vs. Utah Valley, Jan. 6

It’s the start of Western Athletic Conference play for CSUB and a flashback to last season’s disappointing upset loss in the first round of the WAC Tournament. Redemption is the theme of the year.

Vs. New Mexico State, Feb. 8

New Mexico State is the only team the WAC coaches ranked above CSUB. The Aggies were picked by both the media and coaches to win the conference. The two teams will play in New Mexico earlier in the year and could meet again in the WAC Tournament title game.

KEY NUMBERS

7.7

The Roadrunners made 7.7 3-pointers per game last year, which was good for No. 1 in the conference and 37th in the country.

72.6

CSUB’s centers and forwards have an average height of 72.6 inches — more than 6 feet. Transfer Nandi Jorden and freshman Vanessa Austin lead the way at 6-foot-5 and 6-foot-3, respectively. Head coach Greg McCall thinks his team will be able to utilize their newfound height.

5.4

Led by Bartee, CSUB blocked a conference-high 5.4 shots per game in 2016-17. The Roadrunners ranked 24th in the nation in that category.

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2017-030817-Girls-3-fa

CSUB's Aja Williams pulls down a rebound during last year's WAC tournament. Williams was the team's top 3-point shooter last year and second-leading scorer.

Felix Adamo/ The Californian

Jon Mettus can be reached at 661-395-7389. Follow him on Twitter at @jmettus

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