BAKERSFIELD, Calif.—A furious late fourth quarter rally fell short for CSU Bakersfield as the Roadrunners dropped a 71-66 decision to UC Riverside Wednesday night.

Trailing by 61-50 with 6:40 to play, the ‘Runners were able to chip away at the Highlanders, cutting the advantage to 65-62 on an Erika Williams’ three pointer at the 3:20 mark. Both teams missed from the field on their ensuing possessions before Simone DeCoud hit a jumper at 2:15. With both teams under the five-foul limit, neither squad would score again until Brittany Sims again made it a three-point game with a layup with 39 seconds to play.

CSUB was forced to foul, sending Rejane Verin to the charity stripe where she sank both attempts to increase the lead to 69-64. The Roadrunners elected to go for the two the next time down as Kate Tokuhara drove the lane. She missed her layup, but Sims grabbed the offensive rebound and was fouled. She made both attempts with 20 seconds to play. The ‘Runners again fouled Verin, but she only connected on 1-of-2. She missed her second attempt, but UCR’s Lauren Holt pulled in the offensive rebound. She was fouled and her free throw with nine seconds to play created the final 71-66 score.

“We never stopped fighting,” said CSUB head coach Greg McCall. “We had several opportunities to win the game, but we turned the ball over seven times in the final part of the game. We have to do a better job of taking care of the ball.

Paced by Erika Williams and Addi Walters, the Roadrunners made four of their first five three-point attempts for a 16-6 first quarter lead. The ‘Runners would lead 21-17 after one, but a 19-5 UC Riverside spurt would end up seeing the Highlanders outscore CSUB 23-8 in the second and lead 40-29 at half.

“The second quarter hurt us,” McCall said. “It was a huge momentum swing for them. We outscored them in three of the four quarters. We have to do a better job of not putting ourselves at a disadvantage and when we do have opportunities to tie the game or take the lead, we have to give ourselves a chance to win and not turn the ball over in crunch time of the game.”

Williams would be the Roadrunner top scorer as she recorded 19 points. Walters scored 14. Sims charted her second double-double in the past three games as she had 10 points and a game high 10 rebounds. Tokuhara scored 10 points and dished out a team high five assists.

UC Riverside (4-3) was led by Verin who posted 20 points and eight rebounds. Holt scored 14 points and added seven rebounds. DeCoud scored 12 points.  

The Roadrunners (3-7) travel to UC Irvine (1-9) Saturday for a 2 p.m. start.