UCR’s women’s basketball team had their third Big West Conference game against California State University Bakersfield (CSUB) on Friday, Jan. 22 after various scheduling conflicts due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Despite their constantly changing schedule, UCR’s women’s basketball team came into the series with the momentum generated from their win against the University of Southern California on Jan. 17.
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UCR came in strong defensively into the first quarter. Head Coach Nicole Powell implemented a one-on-one defense that kept CSUB away from the paint. The first quarter of the game went almost completely uninterrupted, with no pause in the game until the last minute of the quarter.

The Roadrunners were quick on the attack, opening up the scoreboard with the first 2 points. The Highlanders responded with 2 points of their own. Both teams traded shots, and each tied with 4 points five minutes into the game. UCR tried to create a lead for themselves, but the CSUB Roadrunners stayed on the Highlanders’ heels. With just over two minutes left in the first quarter, both teams tied again 11-11. The Highlanders scored 4 points, which put them up 15-11 before the game received its first interruption with 1:30 left on the scoreboard. CSUB was the first to score after the timeout, but UCR quickly shut them down. A foul in favor of the Highlanders put them up 17-13. Senior guard Keilanei Cooper closed out the quarter with a 3-pointer, putting UCR up 20-13.

Coming into the second quarter, the Roadrunners did their best to bridge the gap, going on a 5-0 run in the first two minutes. UCR scored 2 points before CSUB’s junior forward Miracle Saxon scored a 3-pointer, leaving the scoreboard 22-21. The Highlanders responded by scoring 2 points, which granted them a foul that awarded them two free-throws. A quick steal from the Highlanders allowed them to score another 2 points before a timeout was called, completing their 6-0 run and putting UCR up 28-21. There were five minutes left in the game. After the timeout, the Roadrunners went on a 7-0 run, which tied the game at 28 a piece with just under three minutes left in the half. Both teams traded points in the final minutes of the second quarter before ending the first half 31-30 with UCR ahead.

Coming into the second half, both teams played a fast-paced game with little interruptions. Both teams traded shots continuously, staying on each other’s heels for most of the third quarter. The Roadrunners scored the first 2 points of the half, but UCR’s aggression led them to steal the ball and respond with 2 points, putting them up 33-32. A foul in the Highlanders’ favor gave them an extra point. The Roadrunners stayed close, tying the game 34-34 with over seven minutes left in the third quarter. UCR returned to the free-throw line after being awarded two free throws that paired with a fast-break quickly after, putting them up 39-34 with six minutes left. CSUB added 2 points to their score before UCR went on a 7-0 run, which put them up 46-38. The Roadrunners went on a 5-0 run of their own, prompting UCR to call a timeout with one minute still left in the timer. A revision during the time out led the referee’s to subtract a point from UCR. Both teams went scoreless in the last minute of the 3rd quarter, heading into the final 10 minutes of the game 45-43 with the Highlanders still in the lead.

Despite the close grip both teams seemed to have on each other, the Highlanders fell into a rhythm in the last quarter of the game. This newfound aggression led to settling into a lead that helped them win the game. They opened up the quarter with 2 points before the Roadrunners were given a free throw, leaving UCR ahead 47-44 in the first minute of the quarter. UCR found the back of the net from deep, scoring two consecutive 3-pointers before CSUB could score again. UCR gained another 4 points, putting them up 57-46 with four minutes left in the game. The Roadrunners scored a 3-pointer of their own, but the Highlanders responded with a 3-pointer of their own. A foul in favor of CSUB gave them an extra point, leaving the scoreboard 60-52. Sophomore guard Jada Holland helped UCR reach a 10-point lead in the final two minutes of the game. Both teams traded points: UCR gained 2 points, and CSUB gained 4 points, closing out the game 64-54.

This win is the first conference victory for UCR’s women’s basketball team. They went up against Bakersfield again the following day.

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