By the time the California Baptist Lancers and UT Arlington Lady Mavs tipped off Thursday evening, there was already a double overtime thriller and a game featuring a 26-4 lead after one quarter on opening night of WAC women’s basketball play.
In Riverside, what fans saw was an entertaining matchup played with all the intensity of a WAC semifinal game.
For nearly 30 minutes the Lancers led UT Arlington and survived every Lady Mavs attempt to retake a lead on Thursday night at the CBU Events Center. When the dust settled it did so with CBU prevailing, 67-61, over UT Arlington and pushing their record in Riverside to 5-2 in the 2022 campaign.
“It’s been a little chaotic at times since losing Trinity,” CBU head coach Jarrod Olson said. But I think we’re beginning to find ourselves and really embracing effort plays. For me, the biggest thing is that we learned some lessons from the non-conference losses and made sure we didn’t make those mistakes again tonight against a really good UT Arlington team. When the year ends I believe this will be one of our better wins.”
The Lady Mavs got off to a nice start and led 8-3 on a pair of 3-pointers from Shyia Smith and De’Sha Benjamin. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Sila Finau and Dorcas Wu tied the game at 13 with 100 seconds left in opening quarter of play. But a Starr Jacobs layup with six seconds left gave UT Arlington a 17-16 lead after 10 minutes.
There were five lead changes in the first 2:55 of second quarter action. A Wu 3-pointer gave CBU a 24-22 lead. Grace Schmidt’s layup just 19 seconds into the quarter started the sequence. Holding a 27-24 lead after a Jireh Washington layup, the Lancers went on an 9-0 run which pushed the lead to 36-24 with just over five minutes to intermission.
Kinsley Barrington’s 3-pointer ended the run and gave the Lancers what at that time was their largest lead of the game. Kayla White scored five straight Lady Mavs points to close the gap to six. But a Barrington layup with 36 seconds left gave the Lancers a 38-30 lead at half.
“Grace has really embraced the challenge of picking up the bulk of the post scoring,” Olson said. “And is becoming more and more confident as the year has moved on. She’s connected really well with assistant Brittany Sepeda, (who handles the posts) and you can see the product of their work.”
With seven minutes left in the third, another 3-pointer from Wu pushed CBU to a 47-35 lead.
— California Baptist Women's Basketball (@CBUwbb) December 30, 2022
However, a 10-0 Lady Mavs run closed the deficit to 47-45 with 2:12 left in the third. Alexsyah Goodeau’s basket culminated that run as she was fouled putting up an offensive rebound. However, Goodeau failed to complete the 3-point play. Wu answered right back with a three that restored a two possession lead at 50-45. CBU led 52-45 after three quarters.
“We had really good composure tonight as opposed to a couple of other occassions in which we let games get away from us,” Wu remarked. “Coming into the game, we had a couple of really high energy practices and that effort found its way to the floor tonight.”
As quickly as the CBU lead worked its way to double digits, it quickly evaporated. Barrington’s layup gave CBU a 56-45 lead with 7:55 left. However, that lead was just 56-51 with 4:56 left. Schmidt had consecutive layups which pushed CBU out to a 60-51 lead. And the Lady Mavs didn’t have another answer in them.
“I looked up to Caitlyn Harper a lot growing up. And seeing the job they did in developing her into the player she is was a big draw in me deciding to come here,” Schmidt said. “Losing Trinity was big. But we’ve all just focused on doing our jobs out there and the results are coming. I’m excited to get my first taste of the GCU/CBU rivalry on Saturday.”
Grace Schmidt: 21 points and 11 rebounds
Dorcas Wu: 18 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks. Knocked down four 3-pointers.
Nae Nae Calhoun: 10 points, 6 steals, 5 rebounds
CBU is at GCU on Saturday afternoon.
Lady Mavs Notables:
Starr Jacobs: 19 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals
Kayla White: 13 points
UTA hosts Tarleton on Saturday afternoon.