Women’s basketball plays first game of the season

2015 redesigned Pioneer logo.

Tam Duong Jr.

2015 redesigned Pioneer logo.

Marissa Marshall,

In a game where they were projected to get blown out, the California State East Bay women’s basketball team put up a great fight against the Division I, UC Santa Barbara team in an exhibition game on Saturday.

Through the first half, Santa Barbara Gauchos dominated the Pioneers as they went on a 22-0 run beginning at the end of the first quarter and led by as much as 21 points in the second quarter.

The Gauchos Division I experience showed throughout the game, but one Pioneer held fast.

Sophomore forward Morgan Greene had a very efficient for game as led the Pioneers with 25 points and 14 rebounds. She shot 57 percent from the field, going 11 for 19 in 35 minutes.

Greene will be a key force for the Pioneers this year. Last year, she was one of most most dominant players, on not only her team, but in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) and was named one of the best rebounders in the conference in her first season.

She averaged 10.1 rebounds per game in the first half of the season last year and it jumped to 11.5 rebounds per game in the second half of the season, which is also when the Pioneers had a 12-1 record throughout that time.

The sophomore posted a double-double in 16 games last season and was the third leading scorer on the Pioneers, helping her earn All-CCAA second team honors.

With All-CCAA and player of the year guard Shomari Harris gone from the team, as well as All-CCAA center Remy Puou, Greene will be a prominent factor in helping lead the Pioneers to success.

In the second half of the game versus Santa Barbara, East Bay played much better, improving their field goal percentage from 27.27 percent to 42.42 percent, their three-point percentage from 10 percent to 44.44 percent and their free-throw percentage from 50 percent to 75 percent.

Despite the score and trailing by as much as 28 points in the fourth quarter, the Pioneers played hard and showed their ability to compete in the second half with their shooting improvements.

East Bay has a great amount of transfers this years from Division I schools such as senior forward Chloe Vellum from UC Irvine and junior guard Kayla Blair from Pepperdine.

It will take a bit of time to establish a rhythm, as with every team, but the Pioneers look to be a very notable contender again this year and will endeavor to win the CCAA championship for the third year in a row and make a push in the NCAA tournament.