By Nathaniel Lastrapes |Staff Writer|
The Coyotes defeated the CSU Monterey Bay Otters 75-53 in an blowout Thursday night at Coussoulis Arena extending their winning streak to three games, their second longest of the season, and improving their overall record to 10-3.
The Coyotes jumped to a quick start as they took the lead early from the tip-off, and never looked back, dominating the Otters for the entire game.
CSUSB Junior Briana Harden lead the Coyotes in scoring with 18 points and also added seven rebounds in the win on Thursday night.
“We passed the ball really well, we ran our sets, we did exactly what we do at practice,” said Harden, “we’re really, really small, but that’s what makes us so powerful.”
The Coyotes lead the Otters 38-29 at half-time, but even with the lead there were some adjustments to be made.
The Coyotes struggled keeping the Otters off of the offensive glass, giving up 14 offensive rebounds in the first half.
Head Coach Renee Jimenez said during half-time, “they’ve gotten 20 more shots than us, so we need to do a better job keeping them off the boards in the second half.”
The Otters came out rejuvenated in the second half, but the Coyotes returned from half-time focused on limiting offensive rebounds and second chance points.
Although the Otters dominated the boards 44-37, the Coyotes did a better job limiting the Otters offensive rebounds to only five in the second half.
The defensive adjustment that the Coyotes made helped them put the game out of reach as they extended the lead to 26 points with 7:31 left remaining in the game.
In a post-game interview, a pleased coach Jimenez said, “I thought we performed really well. It’s always tough to come in and play somebody that has a losing record, to have good energy, and play hard. I thought we adjusted well in the second half, in terms of their rebounding, so I’m happy with the win.”
Coach Jimenez credited the team’s focus during this current winning streak and said, “I think we’re just more focused. We took some teams for granted early on. Every game is a big game.”
The Coyotes shot an impressive 51% from the field, but their defense was the key to the victory, as they held the Otters to a lousy 30% from the field.
“We just have to continue to play defense,” coach Jimenez added, “Our defense is always going to be our staple, and it will continue to be a way to keep us in games, so people have got to be ready to make shots.”
The Coyotes are currently in fifth place in the conference, with fourth place in reach, trailing UC San Diego by just one game.
If the Coyotes win their next game against Cal State East Bay and then defeat UC San Diego in the following game, they will be tied for fourth place in the conference, with third place in their sights.