IRVINE, Calif.—A strong first half shooting performance sent CSU Bakersfield past UC Irvine 86-66 in women’s basketball action Saturday afternoon.

The Roadrunners made 9-of-14 field goal attempts in the first quarter to take a 23-9 lead. CSUB continued the hot shooting the second as the ‘Runners connected on 8-of-11 attempts. The Roadrunners would lead by as many as 27 in the first half, taking a 44-23 lead into the break.

The Anteaters came out shooting in the third quarter. UCI made four of its first five three-point field goal attempts. UC Irvine was 7-of-10 from the field at one point, cutting the CSUB lead to 54-41 with 3:43 to play. CSUB was held without a basket for over three minutes before Aja Williams drove the lane for a layup at the 2:29 mark.  The Roadrunners returned to a full-court pressing defense which forced three UCI turnovers and resulted in a 10-4 spurt and a 64-45 ‘Runner lead upon the conclusion of the third quarter.

The Roadrunners started the fourth quarter strong, scoring the first six points.  CSUB extended the advantage to 72-49 midway through the stanza. Despite UCI keeping the ‘Runners off the board for nearly four minutes, the Anteaters could only cut the lead to under 20 at 3:14 on a Brooke Bayman three-point play. CSUB would continue to apply defensive pressure would only allow five UCI fourth quarter field goals as the ‘Runners would race to the 20-point victory.

CSUB would limit UC Irvine to 38.2% shooting (21-of-55) and force 16 turnovers which were turned into 18 points. The ‘Runners made seven steals.

“We did a good job on the defensive end early on,” said CSUB head coach Greg McCall. “When they came out in the second half and made their run we were able settle down and lock in and we were able to get some stops.”

The Roadrunners shot 53.3% from the floor for the game (32-60). The performance was the eighth best by CSUB team in a Division I game. Erika Williams went 7-of-9 from the field, scoring a game high 19 points. Addi Walters made 4-of-5 three-point field goal attempts for 12 points while Aja Williams posted 11. Tylinn Carter scored a season high eight points and grabbed a team high seven rebounds. Alize’ Lofton made her season debut at point guard for CSUB. The Mt. SAC College transfer scored six points and dished out three assists.

“We were a lot more patient on offense and we’re able run things through,” McCall said. “Erika can do a little bit of everything. She knocked down some open shots and was able to drive to the basket. That is what we expect her to do. Alize’ is going to be a hard matchup for opponents going forward. She is a 6-0 point guard who creates some hard matchups.”

The Anteaters were led by Sabrina Engelstad who charted 17 points. Bayman would end the day with 15 while Shereen Sutherland scored 12 points and recorded a game high eight rebounds for UCI (1-10).

The Roadrunners (4-7) travel to Pepperdine (0-9) Monday afternoon. Tip is set for 12 p.m.

~www.GoRunners.com~