CSUN Heads to Pacific Northwest for Contests at Oregon, Portland

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Matadors Travel to Meet Ducks, Pilots 

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. --- The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (5-5) hits the road for its final two non-conference road games of the 2011-12 season. The Matadors will face the Oregon Ducks of the Pac 12 Conference on Dec. 19, and then face the Portland Pilots of the West Coast Conference on Dec. 21. Both games start at 7 p.m. and a live, internet-only radio broadcast will be available on GoMatadors.com. There will also be live stats available for both contests.

The Matadors split their two contests last week, defeating San Jose State before dropping a close decision to Fresno State. In the game over the Spartans, CSUN posted its largest margin of victory in over 11 years as three different players scored 14 points and freshman Camille Mahlknecht had a game-high 13 rebounds. 

In the loss to Fresno State, Northridge held a halftime lead only to watch the Bulldogs open the second half on what would stand as the decisive run. Three Matadors scored 12 points in the game. 

Despite the loss, CSUN is off to its best start through 10 contests since the 2004-05 season. The Matadors rank near the top of several important statistics among its Big West opponents and a few players are making noise for their statistics on a national level. 

Next week, the Matadors return from the Christmas Holiday to open the Big West Conference portion of their schedule with a pair of home games at The Matadome. On Dec. 29, the team hosts UC Irvine at 4 p.m. as part of a doubleheader with the CSUN men's team, which also faces UCI and starts at approximately 7 p.m. Two days later, the Matadors send off 2011 with a 4 p.m. matinee against UC Riverside.  

CSUN's Dr. J

Senior Jasmine Erving enters the trip to Oregon averaging 15.0 points and 9.6 rebounds per game, figures that rank third and second, respectively, among all Big West Conference players. The Santa Ana, Calif., now has 60 double-digit scoring performances and 20 double-figure rebounding games for her career. She picked up her fifth double-double of the season and 18th of her career after finishing with 27 points and 10 rebounds in the Matadors' loss at Pepperdine. She also leads all league players in blocks per game (1.5) and her five double-doubles rank tied for eighth among all players in Division I. During the Thanksgiving Holiday, she earned her third career Big West Player of the Week award by posting a pair of double-doubles as CSUN won its Thanksgiving tournament. Against Colgate, Erving led Northridge with 18 points and 11 rebounds and then had 10 points and 13 rebounds in the championship game against West Virginia. 

A Guay with Words 

Freshman Ashlee Guay has been a menace for opponents in her first season with the Matadors. The San Diego, Calif., native is averaging 9.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 3.8 steals for the year and ranks 12th among all players in the NCAA Division I with her league-leading steals per game average. In other statistics, Guay ranks second in the league with 44 assists on the season and also leads the team with an average of 34.9 minutes per game. In the CSUN Thanksgiving tournament, she pulled down a season-high nine rebounds against Colgate and dished out a team-high six assists against West Virginia. On the offensive side, Guay posted a season-high eight assists at Oregon State and in the season-opening victory over San Francisco, she scored a team-high 17 points and had eight rebounds and five steals. 

Mahl-Knechting the Dots

Freshman Camille Mahlknecht pulled down a season-high 13 rebounds in the Matadors' win over San Jose State and added 12 points against Fresno State. For the season, the Agoura, Calif., native is averaging 6.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. She leads the team with a .481 field goal percentage (26-of-54) and has 14 blocks on the year, a 1.4 per game average that ranks second in the Big West Conference. Offensively, Mahlknecht has two double-figure scoring performances on the season, including a season-high 14 points and seven field goals at Oregon State. 

Roses are Blue, Violets are Matador Red

Junior Violet Alama gave the Matadors a spark off the bench in their two games last week, reaching double-figures in both contests. She finished with 14 points and eight rebounds against San Jose State and then added 12 points and three assists against Fresno State. She recorded her sixth career double-double in the Matadors' victory at San Francisco, finishing with 15 points and 10 rebounds in the victory. Then in CSUN's win at LMU, she added 14 points, including two 3-pointers, and eight rebounds. Through 10 games, Alama is averaging 8.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. 

Petersen Provides Productive Performances

Sophomore Kaitlyn Petersen scored 14 points and had four 3-pointers in the Matadors' win over San Jose State. She was named to the all-tournament team at CSUN's Thanksgiving tournament after turning in  two impressive performances. Against Colgate, she had 13 points and three assists in 19 minutes of action. The next day, Petersen scored CSUN's first 13 points en route to a season-high 17 as Northridge knocked off West Virginia for the tournament title. Against the Mountaineers, she was a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line and now ranks third in the conference with a season percentage of .816 (31-for-38). For the year, Petersen is averaging 9.6 points, third on the team, to go along with 2.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per contest.

Mighty Sharpe

Freshman Janae Sharpe had her fifth double-figure scoring game of the season in the Matadors' loss to Santa Clara, finishing with 13 points and her first three career 3-pointers. She added 13 points in the Matadors' win over Colgate at the CSUN Thanksgiving tournament. For the year, Sharpe is averaging 9.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.9 steals per game. She also leads the Matadors with 40 free throw attempts. The Rialto, Calif., native had a big part in the Matadors' two victories on opening weekend. In the season opener at San Francisco, she came off the bench to score 14 points and add four rebounds. Three days later, Sharpe had 11 points, eight assists and five steals as the Matadors won at LMU for the first time since 1990. 

Do or Duarte

Freshman Jessica Duarte brings a potent offensive punch to the Matadors' line-up. Since making her debut against Colgate, Duarte is averaging 7.5 points and has hit seven 3-pointers. She had seven big points, including her first career trey, in the Matadors' victory over West Virginia. More recently, she knocked down two 3-pointers against both Santa Clara and Pepperdine. She has reached a season-high 11 points twice this year, against the Waves and in CSUN's win over San Jose State. 

Turkey Talk

The Matadors won the Woodland Hills Holiday Inn Thanksgiving Basketball Classic 2011 by defeating West Virginia, 48-47, in the championship game. CSUN defeated Colgate, 71-60, on Friday, Nov. 25 to set up a meeting with the Mountaineers, who knocked off No. 25 UCLA. For their efforts, senior Jasmine Erving was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player and Kaitlyn Petersen was also named to the all-tournament team. 

Conference and National Notes

Through the first 10 games of the year, the Matadors find themselves with some pretty impressive stats thus far. CSUN ranks second in the Big West and ranks 68th among all NCAA Division I teams with a rebounding margin of +5.0. The team also leads the Big West and ranks 45th in the nation with a team free throw percentage of .742 (161-217). As a team, CSUN is averaging 44.8 rebounds per game, the best average in the conference. Individually, freshman Ashlee Guay leads the league and ranks 12th among all Division-I players with an average of 3.8 steals per game. Finally, Jasmine Erving ranks second in the conference and ranks 48th in the nation with a rebounding average of 9.6 per game. She also is tied for eighth among all Division-I players with five double-doubles.

Already a Season of Firsts

Northridge has already accomplished several notable feats through the first 10 games of the 2011-12 season. Most recently, CSUN's 30-point victory over San Jose State was the program's largest victory in over 11 years and the Matadors are off to their best start through 10 games (5-5) since the 2004-05 season. Northridge defeated West Virginia in the championship game of the Thanksgiving Basketball Classic, the program's first win ever over a BIG EAST program. With four wins in November, the Matadors won their most games in the season's opening month since the 1998-99 season. The Matadors' win over Colgate in the Thanksgiving Basketball Classic was also the first time CSUN has won its home opener since the 2004-05 season. The Matadors' victory over San Francisco on Nov. 11 was the program's first ever against the Dons and head coach Jason Flowers' first career non-conference win. The win also marked the first time Northridge won a season opener since the 2004-05 season. CSUN's win against LMU was the program's first since 1997 and the first win at LMU since the 1990 season. 

Scheduling Story

The Matadors have a formidable schedule in front of them for the 2011-12 season. Northridge has three teams on its ledger who qualified for the 2011 NCAA Tournament (West Virginia, Fresno State and UC Davis). In addition to those squads, CSUN will face four teams that participated in the 2011 WNIT (UC Riverside, Cal Poly, UC Santa Barbara and Pepperdine) and one team that competed in the WBI Classic (CSU Bakersfield). 

Scouting Oregon

The Ducks of the Pac 12 Conference are the Matadors' first opponent on the roadtrip. Oregon enters the contest with a 7-3 record after having lost by two at Nevada, 76-74, on Dec. 14. Amanda Johnson, a 6-2 senior forward, is the team's leading scorer at 20.1 points and top rebounder at 10.7 boards per game. Jasmin Holliday, another senior, is the team's second-leading scorer at 16.6 points per game. As a team, Oregon averages over 80 points per contest and is shooting 41.9 percent from the field. The Ducks also average around 46 rebounds and 19 turnovers per game. This will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools in women's basketball. Paul Westhead is in his third season as the head coach of the Oregon Ducks. 

Scouting Portland

The Pilots of the West Coast Conference face the Matadors for the first time in over four years on Dec. 21. The Pilots are currently 5-6 on the season and host No. 13 Louisville on Dec. 17 and Boise State on Dec. 19 before facing the Matadors. Natalie Day, a senior, leads the team in scoring (18.4 ppg) and rebounding (7.7 rpg) for the season as of Dec. 16. Rezina Teclemariam is averaging 10.1 points and 4.8 assists on the year as well. Portland has already recorded a victory over UC Irvine and is averaging just under 62 points per game while shooting 38.1 percent from the field. The Pilots captured the last meeting between the two schools and Northridge has never won a game on their campus.