20181018-bc-march

CSUB women's basketball's Jasmin Dixon shoots over Nia Johnson during the annual Blue-Gold Scrimmage at the Icardo Center on Thursday, Oct. 18.

For the next month, the Icardo Center will serve solely as an occasional practice venue for the Cal State Bakersfield women’s basketball team.

The Roadrunners (4-2) were home for a blowout win Monday night, but won’t host another game until UC Riverside comes to town on Dec. 31 to end non-conference play. In between, CSUB will play six games in Orange County, Nebraska, Texas and Oregon.

The road slate starts with a multi-day trip to Orange County to take on UC Irvine on Thursday and Fullerton on Saturday.

“Excited just to get battle tested earlier because when we go to the WAC (Western Athletic Conference) Tournament, we’re not gonna be on our home turf,” CSUB senior JJ Johnson said. “This road trip will prepare us.”

The first test of the consecutive road games seems to be the one CSUB’s players and coaches are looking forward to the most. UC Irvine is 5-0 with a win over UNLV.

UC Irvine beat CSUB in the Icardo Center, 72-59, last year. In the words of Roadrunners head coach Greg McCall, “they really busted us up last year.”

“They were pretty darn good last year and they’re even better this year,” McCall said. “It’s gonna be a good game. I’m looking forward to that challenge. I really am.”

The next week, CSUB will head to Omaha for a Dec. 9 game at Nebraska-Omaha. McCall is not keen on experiencing significantly colder weather.

He is looking forward to eating at a fish shack recommended by CSUB vice president for student affairs Thomas Wallace, who used to work at Omaha.

“The cold weather, definitely not looking forward to that,” McCall said. “They have a nice facility, nice arena. Looking forward to getting inside that nice warm, cozy gym. Thank God for indoor sports.”

The Roadrunners will spend several days in Texas playing Southern Methodist and North Texas in Dallas and Denton on Dec. 19 and Dec. 21, respectively. SMU beat CSUB, 41-29, last season.

CSUB forward Malayasia McHenry noted that the road games will hopefully be a revenge and redemption tour.

And extended trips like that which require flights forces the teammates to spend more time together than even when they’re all on campus.

“When we’re at home we all go to our separate apartment, dorms so we see each other but not that much,” Johnson said. “But being on the road, you’re stuck with them twenty four-seven so you get to know everybody on a personal note.”

The final game of the slate is at Oregon State on Dec. 21.

The most difficult part about being on the road for so many consecutive games, Johnson said, is staying focused. She will be careful to keep up her workout routines and eating habits.

McCall and McHenry both prefer to be at home, but Johnson has a possibly different affinity for playing on other teams’ courts.

“I don’t know about everybody else, but I like playing away,” Johnson said. “I like going to other schools. I just like the crowd environment of the other team going against us. I just live for that moment.”

CSUB baseball signs six for 2019

Along with Kobe Silva and Austin Puskaric from Frontier, the Roadrunners inked four other players to start off its 2019 class.

Jaykob Acosta and Cade Van Allen are both California natives. Acosta is a two-way player out of Exeter Union High School. Van Allen is a 6-foot-8 pitcher from Atascadero. And Jashia Morrissey, a shortstop, attends Junipero Serra High School in the Los Angeles area.

Cole Demosthenes, a signee from Reno, will join CSUB coming off Tommy John Surgery. Demosthenes is another two-way player who could pitch and play corner outfield for the Roadrunners.

Jon Mettus can be reached at 661-395-7389. Follow him on Twitter: @jmettus.

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