Eager to move past last season’s loss in the Western Athletic Conference championship game, Cal State Bakersfield women’s basketball starts the 2018-19 season at home against Wright State on Tuesday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

“We were so close last year, so close,” CSUB head coach Greg McCall. “... We’re looking forward to coming back this season.”

The Roadrunners (18-14 in 2017-18) will likely be led by seniors Alexxus Gilbert, JJ Johnson and Malayasia McHenry. Johnson and Gilbert were the second and third leading scorers for CSUB last season. Gilbert led the team in assists and Johnson led the team in steals. McHenry played her best during the WAC Tournament last year.

Also key will be sophomore center Vanessa Austin and junior Dalis Jones.

Johnson and Jones provide the pressure in CSUB’s defense. Austin, whose role increased throughout her freshman year, will be expected to lead the Roadrunners’ offensive presence inside, McCall said.

CSUB had just one warm-up contest before it will face Wright State. The Roadrunners played a closed scrimmage against Long Beach State on Oct. 28.

“Hopefully with the scrimmage we had, most of the jitters and a lot of the mental errors will be gone,” McCall said.

The Roadrunners turned the ball over too much trying to feed the ball into the post and move quickly in transition," McCall said.

Wright State was a Women’s National Invitation Tournament team last season, going 23-11 overall. The Raiders lost leading scorer Chelsea Welch to graduation. She averaged 20.6 points per game last season.

“They run a lot of dribble-drive offense ... 3(-pointer) or in the key,” McCall said. “... We got to do a good job of being disciplined on our man-to-man concepts and being able to play good one-on-one defense.”

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

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