The group of Cal State Bakersfield women’s basketball players on the court walked toward the CSUB bench, holding three fingers in the air.
Seattle’s coaches huddled on the other side of the floor, shouting back and forth and looking around the court.
CSUB guard Aja Williams had just made a deep 3-pointer before time expired in the first quarter, giving the Roadrunners 35 points in the first 10 minutes of the game.
The explosive first period propelled the Roadrunners (10-10, 4-2 Western Athletic) to a 75-68 win over Seattle (10-11, 4-2) on Saturday in the Icardo Center.
CSUB’s 35 first-quarter points were its most in a quarter since women’s college basketball switched to quarters beginning with the 2015-16 season. The first quarter total is more than CSUB scored in two different 40-minute games this year.
The Roadrunners snapped Seattle’s four-game winning streak and moved into a tie with the Redhawks for second place in the conference.
“Oh man,” McCall said before letting out a long sigh. “What a game. What a game. This is huge. Puts us in a great spot.”
McCall told his players in the week of practice leading up the game that the Redhawks defense crashes hard in the paint, meaning kickout shots at the perimeter would be open. It took a few days, McCall said, but the idea finally sunk in.
Though McCall knew the chances would be there, considering CSUB averaged 12.5 points in the first quarter coming into the game, he probably didn’t expect things to go as well as they did.
Freshman center Vanessa Austin got a layup inside, point guard Alexxus Gilbert hit a jumper inside the 3-point lane and the shots kept falling. CSUB made 12 of its first 13 shots in the game, including four made 3-pointers.
The man-to-man defense that Seattle started with turned to zone.
Williams made a corner 3, then a runner in the lane.
“Play the (expletive) zone,” Seattle head coach Suzy Barcomb yelled at her team. “Just get a stop, man,” she said to herself a few possessions later.
CSUB finished the first quarter shooting 14-of-17 from the floor and 5-for-6 from 3. Williams already had 13 points and CSUB was on pace to score 140 in the game.
“It was amazing feeling,” Williams said. “... When a shot went up, we knew it was going in.”
The Roadrunners, though, only made 13 shots the rest of the game and were held to just five points in the second quarter. Its 77.8 shooting percentage from the first 10 minutes dropped to 15.4 percent in the next 10.
The CSUB lead whittled down to five points with a little more than a minute left in the game. The Roadrunners closed out the final minute by hitting eight of its 12 free throw attempts to preserve the win set up by a monster first quarter.
“This was one of the tops,” McCall said in terms of the best starts to a game in his coaching career. “Scoring 35 points in a quarter, the way that we were doing it made them had to change up their whole style of defense.”
Williams finished with a team-high 23 points before fouling out. Roadrunners guard Jazmine Johnson was close to a triple-double with 10 points, eight rebound and eight assists.
After making its first shot 19 seconds in to the game, CSUB never gave up the lead.