Eagles defend the nest against the Coyotes

George Garcia, Staff Reporter

It was the defensive intensity that got the job done for Cal State LA women’s basketball as the team secured its second straight home victory on Thursday. The Golden Eagles defeated the Coyotes of Cal State San Bernardino 73-63, with guard Sydney Bordonaro leading all scorers with 26 points. 

The black and gold overwhelmed and frustrated the Coyotes with stifling defense that led to 26 fast break points. 

Swing player Mackenzie Barnes took over in the middle of the first quarter, setting the tone for the rest of her team; individually going on a 6-0 run. She finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds. 

After the game, Barnes thought “the lack of mental focus and mental mistakes” allowed Cal State San Bernardino to get back in the game. The win will create some momentum heading into Saturday’s game versus Cal Poly Pomona. 

Center Rachel DiRegolo was an enforcer in the paint for Cal State LA as she led the team with four blocks while the rest of her teammates added five. Her rim protection forced Cal State San Bernardino into contested shots, and she limited second chance opportunities by bringing down 11 boards. 

At halftime, the Coyotes’ offense was outmatched by the Golden Eagles’ defense, closing the half shooting only 36 percent from the field. 

The Golden Eagles took advantage of Cal State San Bernardino’s lackluster half and managed to shoot 50 percent while only shooting 2-8 from three, enjoying a comfortable 42-27 lead. 

As the second half got underway, the Golden Eagles came out of the locker room flat, allowing Cal State San Bernardino back into the game. The black and gold went four minutes without scoring and committed four turnovers in the process. 

Meanwhile the Coyotes’ top scorers, Kayla Bibb and Tehya Burroughs, combined for 30 points between them. 

According to head coach Torino Johnson, a “lack of discipline, with players being out of position and not having depth” is what allowed San Bernardino to get back into the game.

Coach Johnson was very pleased with how the team stayed poised down the stretch with two big threes from Bordonaro. The momentum swung back to the Golden Eagles’ side as the team rediscovered its defensive intensity from the first half. 

However, the Coyotes had cut the eagle lead to only two points midway through the fourth quarter. 

Five out of six free-throws were made within the last minute, sealing the win for the Golden Eagles. Bordonaro and guard Nicole Flennaugh both hit crucial free throws in this sequence. 

Coach Johnson stressed the importance of “hitting important free-throws down the stretch” and “limiting the turnovers to close the game.” 

With this win, the lady eagles hope for a long shot playoff push that’s contingent on everything going right for them. However, the win on Thursday night didn’t hurt. 

Cal State LA women’s basketball team will face Cal Poly Pomona this Saturday on senior night. Tip-off will be at 1 p.m.