BY JEFF EVANS Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
The Cal State Bakersfield women's basketball can't join the Western Athletic Conference soon enough.
The Roadrunners won their fourth straight game Saturday afternoon and made it two wins this season in two games vs. future WAC rivals with a 67-65 win over Utah Valley in the Icardo Center.
CSUB has five more games against future WAC opponents as it gears up for this July 1 when the program joins that conference.
The Roadrunners (6-15) led most of their game Saturday, then had to rally from behind late in the second half to extend its longest winning streak since the 2010-11 season. The streak comes on the heels of an eight-game losing streak.
Tyonna Outland's layup with 4:31 left put the Roadrunners ahead for good, 64-62.
Utah Valley (7-12) had a chance to tie in the final seconds when it got possession with 7.6 seconds left. But an off-balance, 18-foot jumper by Sammie Jensen bounced off the back of the rim as the horn sounded.
CSUB's other win over its future WAC opponent was 85-62 against Texas-Pan American on Jan. 8.
"We feel good about that," said CSUB coach Greg McCall. "It shows we match up against our WAC opponents."
Utah Valley had its chances. The Wolverines missed two front end of 1-and-1s with about five minutes to play. Utah Valley also missed a layup with about 2:30 left and trailing by two, and the Wolverines had two turnovers in the final 1:16.
Outland had a game-high 20 points and a team-high 11 rebounds. Ciarra Ford added 15 points and Janae Coffee scored 10 with nine rebounds for CSUB.
Utah Valley had 19 points and 13 rebounds by Jensen and 18 points by Kaycee Mansfield.
Utah Valley did a great job defensively on CSUB senior guard Amber Williams, who had two straight games of at least 30 points. Williams had only six Saturday and was 0-for-6 on 3-point attempts as the Wolverines prevented very many open looks.
Utah Valley went to a zone for much of the second half and double-teamed Coffee inside. Coffee had only two second-half points.
"When they double- or triple-team her, that's what we want," McCall said. "That means one of two of her teammates are open. We've been emphasizing to her to not force things."
The Roadrunners scored nine straight points after Utah Valley took 2-0 lead and led by as many as 15 in the first half. Utah Valley pulled within 41-32 at halftime, then chipped away at the lead in the second half before going up 62-58 on Jensen's 3-pointer with 6:26 left.
But CSUB scored the next eight points and did just enough down the stretch to hold on.
CSUB plays at Chicago State, another future WAC opponent, on Thursday.