When Utah Valley defeated Texas-Rio Grande Valley Saturday, it seemed a certainty the Cal State Bakersfield women's basketball team would be heading to Orem for an unbeaten WAC showdown with the Wolverines Thursday.
One of the worst teams in the country had other ideas.
Tyeshia Bowers scored nine of her 24 points in the fourth quarter and hit two free throws with 0.4 seconds to play, as a Chicago State team that entered the day 0-18 pulled off a stunning 60-58 upset of the Roadrunners at the Icardo Center.
The Cougars entered the day ranked 349th out of 352 teams in RPI. All 18 of their losses came by double figures and only three of them were by less than 20.
Despite an uneven first half, in which CSUB fell behind by seven before rallying for force a halftime tie, it seemed the Roadrunners, who came in 3-0 in the WAC and 9-0 at home, were set to hand them another double-digit loss. Thanks to a 12-point quarter by Jayden Eggleston, CSUB led by as many as nine in the third quarter.
But the fourth period was a full-blown disaster offensively. The Roadrunners committed turnovers on their first four possessions. They gave the ball away eight times in the quarter and hit just two of 14 shot attempts.
After Ashely Austin missed a potential game-winner with 1.6 seconds to play, Bowers got to the rim with ease on a backdoor cut, caught the inbounds pass and was fouled on a layup attempt. Her free throws gave Chicago State its first win since Feb. 23 of last year.
“They played with a lot of energy and we didn’t," CSUB coach Greg McCall said. "They played with a lot of passion and poise and we didn’t. We took them for granted but they came out ready to go, focused, and we weren’t.”
Even with the humbling loss, McCall says expectations for his team won't change. And with the matchup against Utah Valley, which is 5-0 in WAC play, next on the schedule, he believes his team is well-equipped for a needed recovery.
“Anger, sadness, disappointment. All the things that you could say on the negative side is what’s going on in that locker room right now," McCall said. "But the great thing about it is the fact that I believe in my group, that we can bounce back. We have to bounce back from this.
“We know that we were the team to beat, we still are the team to beat.”