Getting deeper into the schedule is never easy, but it certainly feels like Bakersfield's college sports teams are taking it especially hard right now.
The four basketball teams from Bakersfield College and Cal State Bakersfield have just three wins among them in 12 games. Both CSUB squads are dealing with severe and unpredictable injuries to key contributors.
And while CSUB wrestling was never expected to run away with its first dual meet of the year, a battle against a formidable Michigan squad, and did perform admirably in several bouts, it still lost in a shutout.
One consolation was the strong performance of the Roadrunner swimmers and divers on the road at Cal Poly, as they look to build momentum ahead of postseason play in February.
Read on for more details on all those results.
Men's basketball: BC couldn't find the sort of second-half surge that lifted it to several non-conference victories, and dropped a 76-63 road tilt with Citrus on Jan. 4, even as Rahmel Davis put in an excellent showing with a 22-point, 11-rebound double-double on 9-of-13 shooting. The Renegades came out with much better balance Saturday, as four scorers reached double digits led by a resurgent Eloy Medina with 18 points, and they cruised to a 73-66 win over Canyons to even their conference record at 1-1 and improve to 9-7 overall entering Wednesday.
Women's basketball: Despite taking Citrus down to the wire in their league opener on Jan. 4, the Renegades dropped their first two Western State Conference games. Laura Arciga's layup with 10 seconds remaining forced the Owls into overtime, but BC went on a three-and-a-half-minute scoring drought and fell 60-57. Saturday's home matchup against Canyons wasn't nearly as close, as the Renegades never recovered from the Cougars' 25-8 first-half stretch and got blown out 68-37. That was despite an impressive 13 points and eight rebounds from Tori Robertson, a volleyball player by trade. The adverse results dropped BC to 6-11 overall ahead of Wednesday's road date with West L.A.
Miscellaneous and looking ahead: Men's soccer striker Angel Sandoval signed with Division II Fort Hays State. … BC is hosting its media day for spring sports Friday.
Cal State Bakersfield
Men's basketball: By any standard, this was a challenging week for the Roadrunners. Sure, they got their first Big West Conference win of the year last Thursday, 61-51 over Cal Poly behind strong showings from Antavion Collum and Marvin McGhee, but in the process lost leading scorer Kaleb Higgins to what coach Rod Barnes later said was a torn MCL. With CSUB already missing two players at the point guard position, Higgins' absence threatened to disrupt its offensive and defensive structure. (Not to mention that senior forward Travis Henson continued to miss time with knee soreness.) Even though they got 17 more points from Collum Saturday, the depleted Roadrunners fell 67-48 at UC Davis, dropping to 5-10 ahead of Wednesday night's matchup with UC Santa Barbara.
Swimming and diving: Both squads defeated Cal Poly on the road to improve to 3-2 on the year. Reigning Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Swimmer of the Week Vili Sivec won the 200 fly, 100 free and 500 free to lead the men's team. Mikayla Popham emerged victorious in three freestyle events for the women while also participating in the winning 400 free relay. The men's team is off until the MPSF Championships in a month, while the women have a standalone dual with Fresno State Friday at home.
Women's basketball: With guard Shaunae Brown already out, sophomore forward Hennie van Schaik played in last Thursday's game at Cal Poly before a worsening knee injury forced her to miss Saturday's home matchup with UC Davis. In part due to these absences, CSUB has averaged just 43 points per game during a three-game conference losing streak and fallen to 4-8 overall prior to Wednesday. The Roadrunners tied the Mustangs at 32 early in the fourth quarter but went scoreless for four minutes as Cal Poly scored 12 straight, ultimately resulting in a 50-37 CSUB loss. Against UC Davis, CSUB held a narrow halftime lead and got a career performance from forward Kayla Morris (22 points, 10 rebounds, five blocks), only to get outscored 37-15 after the break and lose 60-43.
Wrestling: Dual-meet season is underway, and the Roadrunners opened it with basically the biggest challenge possible, hosting a top-5 Michigan team in the Icardo Center and losing 36-0. Mateo Morales came closest to a win at 197 against Brendin Yatooma but dropped a 6-3 decision. CSUB will travel to Colorado for road duals at Northern Colorado Friday and Air Force Sunday.
Miscellaneous and looking ahead: Garden City (Kan.) Community College guard DaJion Humphrey tweeted that he has received an offer from CSUB men's basketball. … The indoor track season begins Friday in Flagstaff, Ariz.