Cougars must keep up defense on the road

The Cougar women’s basketball team will hit the road to face an impressive Cal State Bakersfield team in its first year of Division I competition.

UH (1-0) has faced CSB only once before, ending in a 78-66 victory for the Cougars last season.

The young Roadrunner (1-0) team is entering their eighth year as a varsity program.

Last season the Roadrunners won first place in the California Collegiate Athletic Association for the third time in their seven years of competition in that division.

CSB won its season opener against the University of San Diego on Friday 76-66. That win marked the team’s 16th victory in a row dating back to last season.

The key to a victory against the Roadrunners will have to be transition defense, just as it was the key against Texas Southern on Friday. That game ended in a 76-58 victory for the Cougars’ season opener.

In the Roadrunners’ home opener, guard play accounted for 62 of CSB’s 76 points in their victory.

The Cougars will look to their seniors to once again lead the team and get them on the board early.

Senior guards Tye Jackson and Twiggy McIntyre will have to match up and play shut-down defense like they did against TSU , notching five steals a piece.

To achieve a win tonight, the Cougars will have to cause a lot of turnovers to limit the amount of chances the Roadrunners will get to score.

The Cougars’ backcourt two, Jackson and McIntyre, will have plenty on their hands facing a talented core of CSB guards.

The Roadrunners’ biggest threat this season is junior guard Christine Kepenekian, who has emerged as their leading scorer thus far this season.

Kepenekian recorded a career-high 24 points in the Roadrunners’ season-opening victory. Roadrunner junior guard Krista Arase was also a big part of CSB’s second-half surge in that win. Arase notched 19 of her 22 points in the second half to seal the Roadrunners’ first Division I victory.

The Cougars should also look out for another junior Roadrunner, guard Kelley Tarver. Tarver developed a hot streak and played her best game in the final two minutes of the Roadrunners’ last game when she scored seven of her total 16 points.

UH will also have to be prepared for the depth of this CSB squad as the Roadrunners’ leading scorers come off the bench tonight.

Depth has been one of the main problems plaguing the Cougars ever since last season.

Tonight’s game will be an early test to see if those holes caused by injuries last year have been filled for this season’s campaign.

Interim head coach Danny Hughes is confident that, for the first time in his three years at UH, his squad is healthy and depth should be able to pick up some valuable minutes.

Tonight’s game in Bakersfield starts a two-game road trip through California for the Cougars, who will play Cal Poly on Thursday night.

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