Saturday, Nov 03 2012 11:09 PM

CSUB women's basketball preview: Williams, 'Runners return healthier

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Amber Williams is entering her final season as a CSUB Roadrunner.

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  2. 2 of 3

    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Amber Williams, the star of the CSUB women's basketball team the past three years, will be starting her final season for the Roadrunners.

    click to expand click to collapse
  3. 3 of 3

    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Amber Williams is entering her final season as a CSUB Roadrunner.

    click to expand click to collapse
BY JEFF EVANS Californian staff writer

Amber Williams can be excused if it feels like a new basketball experience at Cal State Bakersfield this season.

A senior guard from Fontana who has started since her freshman season, Williams has moved back to her more comfortable shooting guard position and the depth on this season's team will hopefully relieve some pressure.

Related Info

CSUB career scoring leaders

Katie McElree, 1,796 (2002-06)

Kelley Tarver, 1,481 (2005-10)

Heather Garay, 1,440 (2001-03)

Diane Dittburner, 1,177 (2001-03)

Amber Williams, 1,136 (2009-)

All times Pacific Standard; all home games at 7 p.m. and at Icardo Center, unless noted

Monday — Fresno Pacific (exhibition); Friday — Arizona, 8:30 p.m.; Nov. 12 — at Northern Arizona, 5:35 p.m.; Nov. 16 — Sacramento State; Nov. 18 — UC Riverside, 4 p.m.; Nov. 24 — Stephen F. Austin at Cal Poly, 2 p.m.; Nov. 25 — at Cal Poly, 2 p.m.; Nov. 29 — at Oregon State, noon.

Dec. 7 — Cal-Berkeley; Dec. 9 — at UC Irvine, 1 p.m.; Dec. 13 — at Air Force, 6 p.m.; Dec. 16 — at Colorado State, 1 p.m.; Dec. 19 — Santa Clara; Dec. 21 — vs. Duke at USC, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 22 — vs. UC Davis at USC, 2:30 p.m.; Dec. 28 — UC Irvine; Dec. 31 — at Pacific, noon.

Jan. 3 — Fresno State; Jan. 5 — at Nevada, 4 p.m.; Jan. 8 — Texas-Pan American; Jan. 15 — at Houston Baptist, 5 p.m.; Jan. 19 — Utah Valley, 2 p.m.; Jan. 24 — at Chicago State, 5 p.m.; Jan. 30 — Cal St. Northridge.
Feb. 6 — at Texas-Pan American, 5 p.m.; Feb. 11 — at New Orleans, noon; Feb. 16 — Chicago State; Feb. 23 — at New Mexico State, 3 p.m.; Feb. 27 —
at Utah Valley, 6:05 p.m.

March 2 — New Orleans, noon.

Lauren Carter
Yr/pos: Senior forward
Ht: 6-1
Hometown: Moorpark
Major: Physical education and kinesiology
Notes: Averaged 12.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game last season after playing sparingly first two seasons at CSUB. Team MVP at Moorpark High as senior when she was named to Ventura County Star all-county first team.

Ciarra Ford
Yr/Pos: Senior guard
Ht: 5-8
Hometown: Long Beach
Major: Criminal justice
Notes: Led CSUB with 100 assists last season and averaged 9.2 points and 4.0 rebounds. Played as freshman at Cypress JC and as sophomore at Mount San Antonio College. All-league first-team pick at Long Beach-Wilson High her senior year.

Brooklynn Hinkens
Yr/Pos: Sophomore guard
Ht: 5-5
Hometown: Lake Tapps, Wash.
Major: Business
Notes: Averaged 6.7 points per game last season with season-high 16 points against Cal Poly. Averaged 13.6 points per game as senior at Auburn-Riverside High (Wash.). Her team was undefeated Washington state 4-A champion her junior year.

Cebrina Johnson
Yr/Pos: Sophomore guard
Ht: 5-9
Hometown: Corona
Major: Psychology
Notes: Played in 31 games (eight starts) at CSUB last season, when she averaged 4.6 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. Added 49 assists and 48 steals. Was Corona-Santiago High defensive team MVP her senior year.

Marilyn Naderhoff
Yr/Pos: Sophomore guard
Ht: 5-8
Hometown: Santee
Major: Biology
Notes: Limited to 13 games because of knee injury last season. Her best game was 12 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and four steals vs. Southern Oregon. Averaged 4.9 points and 2.7 assists per game. Was an all-league pick all four years at Santee-West Hills High.

Tyonna Outland
Yr/Pos: Sophomore guard
Ht: 5-9
Hometown: Compton
Major: Criminal justice
Notes: Took medical redshirt after serious knee injury ended her season after seven games. Averaged 14.6 points and 5.9 rebounds before the injury. Averaged 11.1 points and 2.2 rebounds in 34 games her freshman year with career-best 29 points vs. UC Santa Barbara.

Dajy Vines
Yr/Pos: Sophomore guard
Ht: 5-9
Hometown: Oxnard
Major: Communications
Notes: Earned redshirt year last season after knee surgery ended her year after five games. Had 16 points vs. UC Irvine last Nov. 16. Averaged nine points and 3.8 rebounds in the five games. Was all-league as a junior at Santa Clara High.

Amber Williams
Yr/Pos: Senior guard
Ht: 5-7
Hometown: Fontana
Major: English
Notes: Enters season ranked No. 5 on CSUB’s all-time scoring list. Is first player with 1,000 career points in CSUB’s Div. I era. Career highs: 32 points, 11 field goals, eight 3s, eight assists, five steals and nine rebounds. Averaged 14.9 points as sophomore and 12.5 last season.

Janae Coffee
Yr/Pos: Sophomore center
Ht: 6-4
Hometown: Fresno
Major: Psychology
Notes: Led Clovis West High to three Central Section titles. Averaged double-double as junior and senor to earn all-state honors both years. Played 11 games as freshman at Long Beach State, where she averaged 7 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. Sat out last year as transfer.

Tyler Collins
Yr/Pos: Freshman forward
Ht: 6-1
Hometown: Birmingham, Ala.
Major: Criminal justice
Notes: Born in Bakersfield but attended Ramsay High in Birmingham, Ala. Missed senior season and last year at CSUB because of knee injuries. Helped Ramsay to No. 11 ranking in Alabama her junior year.

Gina Henderson
Yr/Pos: Freshman guard
Ht: 5-9
Hometown: Duarte
Major: Nursing
Notes: Named CIF All-Southern Section as freshman, junior and senior at Monrovia High. Averaged 19.3 points, 4 assists, 3.4 steals and 2.4 rebounds last season and 15.6 points and 7.2 assists as junior.

Alyssa Shannon
Yr/Pos: Freshman guard
Ht: 5-2
Hometown: Bakersfield
Major: Communications
Notes: Co-All-Area Player of the Year at Stockdale High last season when she averaged 16.7 points, 5.9 assists and 5.4 steals per game. Helped Mustangs win three league titles and a Central Section championship.

Erika Williams
Yr/Pos: Freshman guard
Ht: 6-0
Hometown: Fresno
Major: Biology
Notes: Earned multiple academic awards at Pomona-Diamond Bar High. Was first-team All-Southern Section CIF last season and was her league’s MVP as a junior when she averaged 15.2 points and 5.5 rebounds.

Batabe Zempare
Yr/Pos: Freshman forward
Ht: 6-2
Hometown: Accra, Ghana
Major: Biology
Notes: Graduated from Chapparal High in Scottsdale, Ariz., where she was All-City in basketball and track. Averaged 17.8 points and 14.5 rebounds as senior and 14.1 points and 13.6 rebounds as junior.

Shahana Zeigler
Yr/Pos: Freshman guard
Ht: 5-7
Hometown: Long Beach
Major: Criminal justice
Notes: Described as player who elevates game of her teammates. Signed with Hawaii but opted out after coaching change. Led Lynwood High to Southern Section Div. II-AA title last season and was Southern Section Player of the Year in that division.


That's a far cry from last season, when a slew of injuries had the Roadrunners down to seven players for much of the year.

"At first we blamed it on the new blue floor," Williams said of the injuries that struck down five of her teammates. "We had to even get a volleyball player we were so low on players. My knees were really hurting. I was trying to play through everything considering the number of people we had."

CSUB finished 7-22, the fewest wins in a season in the program's history.

The 2012-13 season open Monday when CSUB plays host to Fresno Pacific in an exhibition game at the Icardo Center starting at 7 p.m.

The season opener is Friday, another home game, against Pac-12 member Arizona. That game, part of a doubleheader with the men's team, begins at 8:30 p.m. with the men's game vs. Texas-Arlington at 6 p.m.

Williams played in 27 of CSUB’s 29 games last season and ranked fourth on the team with a 12.5 scoring average.

As she prepares for her final CSUB season, Williams has taken her preparation to a new level, coach Greg McCall said.

“She came back in tremendous shape — the best shape she’s been in the four years she’s been here,” McCall said.

Williams added, “I felt last year was not my best.

My knees bothered me. I couldn’t run as hard as I wanted.

“Over the summer I did a lot of therapy. I worked with trainers back home. I wanted to make sure I was on top of my game my last year. I want to leave a legacy here.”

Williams has already left her imprint on the program.

She’s the first player in the program’s history to score 1,000 points at the Division I level and she holds the school record for a single game with eight 3-pointers against Cal State Northridge when she was a freshman.

She ranks fifth in career points (1,136), third in 3-pointers (149) and ninth in games played (90).
It was McCall, then an assistant coach under then-head coach Tim La Kose, who recruited Williams to CSUB.

McCall said he saw several attributes in Williams’ game he thought would translate well to the Division I level.

“Her knowledge of the game,” McCall said. “She was able to do a lot of things with a basketball that’s hard for girls to duplicate. Ballhandling, shooting, passing, defense — she has it all.
“It’s going to be scary. She’s primed for her best year.”

This season, Williams and the other women’s basketball outside shooters around the country will compete with a 3-point line that is farther from the basket, about a foot beyond the old line to match the men’s distance that took effect last season.

“I love shooting 3s,” she said. “(The new distance) really doesn’t make that much difference to me. I usually am a couple of steps behind the line anyway.

Williams had the option of sitting out this season as a redshirt, which would enable her to play next season when the Roadrunners join the Western Athletic Conference.

Williams admitted she thought about that.

“But I want to play so bad,” she said.

Williams came to CSUB after a stellar career at Etiwanda High, where she helped her team win three straight league titles and was her league’s MVP twice.

She said she chose CSUB over San Jose State, Cal State Dominguez Hills, Pepperdine and Dartmouth.

“When I made my visit, it seemed like it took forever to get here,” she said. “I liked the team and the coaches, and the campus is small and the classes are small. I like that.

“I’ve met a lot of people. When I walk to class I’ll see five people I know.”

Williams was a business major when she enrolled but has switched to English. She is on pace to graduate in the spring.

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