Courtney Townsend had 24 points and 13 rebounds and Emily Latu added 20 points and 12 rebounds as College of San Mateo rolled past visiting Merritt College, 79-54, in the opening game of the annual Tom Martinez Women’s Basketball Invitational at CSM on Monday night.

The pre-scheduled match-ups in the state-wide gatherin needed an early opener since Merritt has a Bay Valley Conference game on Saturday, the tourney’s final day. Host San Mateo will, therefore, be idle that day while the other six tourney competitors complete three days of weekend competition.

Thursday Match-ups: San Mateo (6-7) caps Thursday’s “official” initial day schedule at 7 p.m. against Santa Monica (3-5). The 1 p.m. opener features state No. 14 ranked College of the Sequoias (9-6) against Gavilan (3-6). No. 13 Butte (11-4) plays Reedley (5-7) at 3 p.m. and Merritt (1-9) faces Shasta (8-4) at 5 p.m.

Merritt Game Recap: San Mateo rattled of the first 13 points in Monday’s game and was never threatened in racking up a 25-point victory. The Bulldogs had a 2-0 lead before the first tip as Townsend sank a pair of technical free throws for a lineup violation by the Thunderbirds. Townsend and Coral Yu maneuvered for early lay-ups to lead the initial charge. It took nearly five minutes for Merritt to score its first basket. The Bulldogs led, 40-23, at halftime, and 66-40 after three quarters.

Yu totaled 13 points and had six assists. Townsend also had six assists plus four steals. Ava Agustin led San Mateo with eight assists and five steals. Latu had seven assists.

Townsend leads CSM with a 14.8 scoring average and 8.7 rebound mark. Latu is close behind with respective 12.0 and 8.5 marks.

Remaining CSM/Tom Martinez Invitational schedule:  
Friday, Dec. 20: Gavilan vs. Butte, 1 p.m.; Merritt vs Santa Monica, 3 p.m.; Shasta vs. Sequoias, 5 p.m.; Reedley vs. San Mateo, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 21: 11 a.m., Gavilan vs. Santa Monica; 1 p.m., Butte vs. Sequoias; 3 p.m., Reedley vs. Shasta.