As some feared, a 19-day layoff going into the postseason proved to not be a recipe for success for the Cal State Bakersfield women's basketball team.
A fast start didn't carry over, as Hawaii outscored CSUB 64-46 over the final three quarters, taking down the Roadrunners 81-67 in the quarterfinals of the Big West Tournament in Las Vegas Wednesday.
After falling behind by 10 in the third quarter, the Roadrunners looked like they may have a closing run in them, as Jayden Eggleston lined up for an open 3-pointer with 7:49 to play that, if good, would have cut the deficit to 58-57.
But after the shot rolled halfway down and out, the Rainbow Wahine completed a six-point swing 11 seconds later on a 3 by Meilani McBee.
McBee's shot kick-started a 13-4 run, capped when Kasey Nuebert and Jadynn Alexander hit triples on consecutive possessions, pushing the lead to 71-58 and essentially putting the game out of reach.
It was the first game the Roadrunners have played since Feb. 19, when, for the second time this season, they were sent into quarantine brought about by COVID-19 protocols. The rust appeared to show through late.
"Us getting shut down twice during the season hurts a lot," coach Greg McCall said after the game. "Especially coming in right before the tournament. I don't want to use that as an excuse, but it is what it is."
The fatigue was particularly evident on the glass, as Hawaii held a 48-32 rebounding edge.
The layoff seemed to do CSUB good early, as it pulled ahead by as many as six in the first quarter. The great start was sparked by Andie Easley, who scored 11 of her team-best 17 points in the first quarter, hitting all three of her 3-point attempts.
Lexus Green (15) and Vanessa Austin (14) also scored in double-figures for the Roadrunners, who finish the year 9-9.
One silver lining in the defeat is that due to an NCAA ruling that will allow all winter athletes to retain a year of eligibility regardless of how many games they played, all CSUB players can return next season.
Easley, a graduate transfer, said after the game she will be back next year with hopes of finding a better postseason result.
"I'm excited to play with these teammates one more time, and play with these coaches," Easley said. "I couldn't ask for a better situation to be in. That is a silver lining that next year every single person will be back and we have a big chip on our shoulder."