Roaring back from a disastrous start, the Cal State Bakersfield women’s basketball team couldn’t close the deal in their first game in a new league.
A potential tying 3-point attempt by Lexus Green in the closing seconds didn’t fall, and Long Beach State closed things out at the free throw line, spoiling the Roadrunners’ Big West debut in a 61-57 final Friday.
In a game of near misses, CSUB put itself in position to steal one early in the fourth quarter, opening with an 11-4 run that was capped by an Andie Easley 3-pointer, putting the ‘Runners ahead for the first time since the second quarter, 54-53 with 6:37 to play.
The Roadrunners hit only one field goal the rest of the way, but still had a chance to tie it up in the final seconds. Drawing up the last shot for Green, McCall liked the look, but felt the execution of the play put her in an inopportune spot to finish.
“It was executed pretty well except the last part, we went too deep,” McCall said of the play. “I wanted Lex to kind of be kind of higher up at the top of the key so when she did fade, she’ll fade more towards the wing than she’ll be fading towards the corner. It’s just one of those things that fell short.”
It initially seemed unlikely that the Roadrunners would even be in such a position, as the rust from a long layoff was very apparent in the opening moments of the first quarter.
Playing their first game in three weeks after a string of cancelations, they turned the ball over five times before scoring their first point, allowing the Beach to jump out to a 10-0 lead.
With only a few practices to get into game shape, players admitted the first few minutes of their return proved challenging.
“Sitting out for two weeks then coming back, it’s tough,’ said forward Miracle Saxon. “Sitting out ... it was like ‘Oh, I want to be on the court, I want to do this but I have to sit in my room and look at the walls.’ It’s just something you’ve got to fight through.”
A major reason the Roadrunners were able to fight back was the play of Jayden Eggleston, who recorded 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting. Eggleston scored eight points in the first quarter and helped CSUB answer Long Beach’s 10-0 run with a 10-0 run of their own.
Saxon added 12 points and nine rebounds. McCall felt much of his player’s rust was displayed from the 3-point line, where they hit just 5-of-22 attempts, with several attempts missing short.
The ’Runners have a quick turnaround, as Long Beach State will return for another game at the Icardo Center at 4 p.m. today. Believing preliminary jitters have been shaken off, players are expecting a different outcome in the rematch.
“Sitting out for 14 days isn’t ideal, especially when you’re starting conference,” Eggleston said. “I think (the layoff) did take a little toll, but we knocked it all off now, so I think we’re ready to go.”