LAS VEGAS—Utah Valley, the sixth seed, upset the third seeded CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners 59-53 in the first round of the WAC Women's Basketball Tournament Wednesday night.
The teams combined miss their first eight shots. A rugged first quarter saw the teams play to a 12-12 after 10 minutes. The Wolverines, the sixth seed, connected on six of their first 11 field goal attempts in the second quarter to take a 28-23 lead. CSUB rallied quickly at the end of the half as Kate Tokuhara sank a long three-pointer to bring the ‘Runners to within two.
The Roadrunners, the third seed, forced a UVU turnover, leading to the final possession of the quarter. CSUB worked the ball around to Aja Williams who hit a jumper in the lane to tie the game at 28 as the halftime buzzer sounded. Sam Lubcke (13) and Mariah Seals (11) combined for 24 of the first half Utah Valley points.
With the score tied at 30 early in the third, CSUB mounted an 11-4 charge that gave the ‘Runners a 41-34 lead at the 3:13 mark. Utah Valley would only score two more points in the final three minutes of the third quarter as CSUB led by five.
The Roadrunners led 49-46 with two to play when Taylor Gordon made a pair of free throws. Kate Tokuhara hit a three with time running down on the shot clock. Up by 52-48, Tokuhara stepped on the out of bounds line. The Wolverines called timeout and responded with a Taylor Gordon jumper with 47 seconds remaining. The Roadrunners called a timeout of their own with 39 seconds to go. CSUB worked the shot clock down to 20.7 seconds remaining when Aja Williams was called for an offensive foul.
UVU called timeout to advance the ball to half court. Gordon drove the lane and was fouled by Brittany Sims. Gordon made both attempts to tie the game at 52. CSUB called their final timeout to advance the ball to half court. Utah Valley, which had three fouls to give, committed the first with 5.6 seconds to go. UVU fouled again at 4.9 seconds and fouled one more time at 3.6 seconds. An Erika Williams mid-range jumper was short, sending the game to overtime.
Both teams failed to score on their two possessions of overtime. CSUB missed again on their third attempt, leading to a Jordan Holland put back of a Lubcke miss. The Roadrunners failed on possession number four. UVU capitalized, going up three when Holland made 1-of-2 free throws after being fouled by Erika Williams. A Tokuhara could not make a three-point attempt, but the ‘Runners forced a UVU turnover to get the ball back. CSUB went 0-7 after Aja Williams missed a three. Erika Williams grabbed the offensive rebound. Erika Williams was short on the eighth field goal attempt. Utah Valley got the rebound. Mariah Seals connected on a pair for a 57-52 lead.
Aja Williams was fouled with 30 seconds on the clock, going 1-of-2 from the line. UVU nabbed the rebound when Williams missed the second attempt. The Wolverines called timeout to advance the ball to the frontcourt. Seals was fouled again and missed both attempts. CSUB called timeout to advance the ball. The Roadrunners turned the ball over and were forced to foul. Gordon made both for the final 59-53 score.
Erika Williams became the 10th CSU Bakersfield (15-14) women’s basketball player to score 1,000 career points during the game with 21. She has 1,004 career points. Seals ended the night with 22 while Lubcke had 19 and 10 rebounds. Gordon finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds as the Roadrunners lost in the first round of the WAC Tournament for the first time since joining the league in 2013-14.
UVU (9-21) game will face Seattle U, the second seed on Friday at 2:30 p.m. The Redhawks (14-16) defeated Chicago State 78-61 earlier on Friday.
CSU Bakersfield will have the opportunity to play in the Women's Basketball Invitational. The WBI field will be announced late on Monday, Mar. 13. First round WBI games will begin Wednesday and Thursday, March 15 and 16, while the second round games will be played Saturday, March 18 and Sunday, March 19.
The tournament semifinals will be held either Wednesday or Thursday March 22 or 23 with the 2017 WBI Championship game played either Saturday Mar. 25 or Sunday Mar. 26. All WBI contests are played at campus sites.