Last night Cal State Bakersfield came from 13 points behind in the second half to best Cal State Northridge in overtime, 74-73, in a game that was riveting to the final buzzer.
I talked to both coaches afterwards about the performances of their teams.
Interview with Cal State Bakersfield coach Greg McCall:
Sue Favor: How were the Roadrunners able to pull off such a tremendous comeback?
Greg McCall: That was a gutsy effort. Just will, and our girls really wanted to win. Defensive effort, on the help side defense, really helped us out. We made some middle-of-the-game adjustments, and they followed that well. Then (CSUN) made their adjustments on offense, so we had to readjust again. Our girls really did a good job on that.
Sue Favor: What brought you back into the game?
Greg McCall: They really played hard, got a lot of stops. They made some turnovers and we converted them, plus the and-one’s. Our defense lead our offense, and then at the end we got some of the shots we wanted to get, and got the ball in the right people’s hands.
Sue Favor: Tyonna Outland (18.4 ppg) and Melissa Sweat (10.3 ppg) came up big for you tonight, with 22 and 23 points, respectively.
Greg McCall: Those are my big guns. You shut down one, you got to stop the other. Then we’ve got (point guard) Alyssa Shannon, who’s fast. Our post players are really working hard, trying to finish.”
Interview with Cal State Northridge coach Jason Flowers:
Sue Favor: To what do you attribute CSUB’s win tonight?
Jason Flowers: They were tougher than us, mentally and physically. They played harder than us, wanted it more than we did. We’re soft right now.
Sue Favor: How were they able to shrink the lead down and rally back?
Jason Flowers: The reason we built the lead was because we got stops on the defensive end, and then we scored baskets. They made a run, where we didn’t get stops, obviously. Then on the offensive end, instead of staying with what was working, we got into hero ball. And that goes into discipline and toughness, and….it will be addressed.
Sue Favor: What’s the difference between last year’s team and this year’s team?
Jason Flowers: We could guard people last year. This is the best offensive team we’ve had since we’ve been here (Flowers came in the summer of 2010), statistically. And then if you look at talent, the three years previous, we were able to make progress and do things in year two because of our defensive rebounding.
So you look at a game like tonight where a team that’s smaller than us out-rebounds us. This group hasn’t bought into the identity of our program, and it’s my responsibility.
Sue Favor: So last year the theme was finishing, and this year the theme is?
Jason Flowers: Last year we couldn’t put the ball in the basket, and this year we can’t guard. And some of them are the same kids: they can put it in the basket a little bit, but now they don’t want to guard on the defensive end.