Matadors Face Titans to Close First Half of League Slate
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. --- The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (10-9, 5-2) closes out the first half of Big West Conference action with a road test Wednesday, Jan. 25 at Cal State Fullerton. Following the midweek tilt with the Titans, CSUN will return home to The Matadome for a non-conference contest against CSU Bakersfield on Saturday, Jan. 28. Both games will feature live stats, audio and video available at GoMatadors.com.
Last week, CSUN split a pair of dramatic contests against its conference rivals from California's central coast. Against Cal Poly, Violet Alama made a lay-up with 30 seconds remaining to lift the Matadors over the Mustangs. Ashlee Guay tied a school record with seven 3-pointers in the contest and Jasmine Erving had 19 points and 11 rebounds.
Two days later, CSUN suffered a heart-wrenching double--overtime loss to UC Santa Barbara. Jessica Duarte hit a 3-pointer with three seconds remaining to send the teams into the extra frame, but the Matadors could not outlast the Gauchos as they had to play a second extra period. Janae Sharpe tied a season high with 19 points and Erving scored all 13 of hers following halftime as CSUN nearly completed a late-game rally.
This week, the Matadors head to Orange County to face a Cal State Fullerton team looking for its second win of the conference season. The Titans boast the top rebounding offense in the league and also have several 3-point threats. CSU Bakersfield is 4-18 on the season, but enters Saturday's contest with a three-game winning streak over Northridge.
A Guay with Words
Freshman Ashlee Guay tied a school Division I record when she hit seven 3-pointers in the Matadors' win over Cal Poly. Against the Mustangs, Guay hit all seven of her attempts from downtown and finished with a season-high 23 points. In fact, Guay owns the national mark this season for most 3-point makes without a miss. The San Diego, Calif., native is averaging 9.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 3.5 steals for the year. Guay leads the league with 72 assists and 67 steals on the season and also ranks second in the Big West with an average of 34.2 minutes per game. After finishing with five steals against UCSB, Guay has now had two games with seven steals, one with six and five more with at least four. She now ranks eighth among all Division I players with her steals per game average and is six steals shy of setting a new school Division I record.
CSUN's Dr. J
Senior Jasmine Erving averaged 16 points in the Matadors' two games last week, including a 19-point, 11-rebound performance against Cal Poly. The Santa Ana, Calif., native enters Saturday's game averaging 13.9 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, figures that rank fourth and second, respectively, among all Big West Conference players. The double-double was her eighth of the season and 21st of her career. The eight season double-doubles rank tied for 25th among all NCAA Division I players. At UC Davis, she finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds and added 14 points and 10 rebounds in the Matadors' win at Long Beach State. She also leads all league players in blocks per game (1.6) and has a total of 31 on the season, including a career-high five rejections against Cal Poly. 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.
Freshman Janae Sharpe tied a career high with 19 points in the Matadors' double-overtime loss to UC Santa Barbara. She hit 11-of-14 free throws against the Gauchos, which also set a new season high. Sharpe had a strong start to her Big West career, averaging 12.2 points and earning the league's Player of the Week after helping lead the Matadors to a pair of wins during the opening weekend of Big West play. Against UC Irvine, she scored a season-high 19 points and had a season-high seven steals. Two days later, Sharpe added 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists as the Matadors defeated UC Riverside. For the season, Sharpe is averaging 11.1 points per game, the second-best figure on the team and 11th among all Big West players. She is also averaging 4.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.1 steals (fourth in the league) per game and has scored in double-figures in 10 of the Matadors' 19 games.
Roses are Blue, Violets are Matador Red
Junior Violet Alama continues to bring a strong presence off the bench for the Matadors. At UC Davis, Alama posted a season-high 19 points and 10 rebounds for her second double-double of the season. She also had a career-high five steals against the Aggies in 30 minutes. In the Matadors' win at Long Beach State, Alama posted a game-high 11 rebounds to go with six points in 20 minutes. She had nine points and a game-high 11 rebounds as the Matadors defeated UC Riverside. At Portland, she finished with 11 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals in 19 minutes. Through 19 games, Alama is averaging 8.5 points and 6.6 rebounds, the 9th-best average in the Big West. 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.
Sophomore Haley White had her most productive game of the season in the Matadors' win at Pacific. She finished with a season-high 12 points, six field goals and seven rebounds in 31 minutes. White also added a career-high three blocked shots against the Tigers. For the season, White is averaging 3.6 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. In Big West play, her averages jump to 6.7 points and 3.3 rebounds per game.
Mahl-Knechting the Dots
Freshman Camille Mahlknecht scored 11 points and collected five rebounds with two blocked shots off the bench for CSUN in the win at Long Beach State. Mahlknecht had a season-high five blocked shots in the Matadors' victory over UC Irvine. She also brought 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 4.6 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. She now has 23 blocks on the year, a 1.4 per game average that ranks tied for first in the Big West Conference. Offensively, Mahlknecht has three double-figure scoring performances on the season, including a season-high 14 points and seven field goals at Oregon State.
I'm Sorry Ms. Jackson
Junior Jianni Jackson had easily her best game in a Northridge uniform in the Matadors' comeback win over Pacific. In 19 minutes off the bench, Jackson finished with a career-high 14 points, four field goals, five free throws and seven rebounds as CSUN erased a 13-point halftime deficit. For the season, Jackson is averaging 2.5 points and 2.0 rebounds.
Do or Duarte
Freshman Jessica Duarte scored a season-high 19 points and grabbed a season-high eight rebounds in the Matadors' victory over UC Riverside on Dec. 31. The rookie scored from all parts of the floor and also connected on a season-high seven free throws in the contest. Since making her debut against Colgate, Duarte is averaging 7.0 points and has hit 14 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 also reached 11 points twice this year, against the Waves and in CSUN's win over San Jose State.
Conference and National Notes
Through 19 games this season, the Matadors find themselves with some pretty impressive stats. Defensively, the Matadors are second in the conference in field goal percentage defense (.372, 432-1,160) and in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.287, 95-331). Northridge also ranks second in the league and 42nd in the nation with an average of 11.1 steals per game. Finally, the Matadors lead the conference and rank 61st in the nation with an average of 4.6 blocks per game. On offense, CSUN ranks fourth in the Big West and 58th in the nation with a team free throw percentage of .722 (312-432). Individually, freshman Ashlee Guay leads the league and ranks eighth among all Division I players with an average of 3.5 steals per game. With eight double-doubles, Jasmine Erving is tied for 25th in the nation among all Division I players. She has 23 double-doubles in her career.
Already a Season of Firsts
Northridge has already accomplished several notable feats through 19 games of the 2011-12 season. The Matadors' 5-2 start to Big West play is the program's best start in its Big West history and the best start to league play overall since the 1998-99 season. The Matadors' home victories over UC Irvine and UC Riverside and the road win at Long Beach State were their first since the 2006-07 season. CSUN's 30-point victory over San Jose State was the program's largest victory in over 11 years. 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.
Scouting Cal State Fullerton
Cal State Fullerton enters Wednesday's contest at 8-10 overall and 1-5 in the Big West Conference. The Titans are led by senior Megan Richardson, who is second in the Big West Conference in scoring at 16.7 points per game. She is shooting 41.9 percent from the field and has hit 30 3-pointers on the season. Mya Olivier is second on the team in scoring at 8.7 ppg and leads the team with an average of 8.2 rebounds per game. Lauren Chow leads the team in assists with 69 on the year and also has hit 29 3-pointers. As a team, Cal State Fullerton leads the conference in rebounding offense, averaging 42.2 boards per contest. The Titans also average 63.4 points, 12.6 assists and 18.9 turnovers per game. CSUN has won five of the last six in the series between the two schools, though the two squads split their meetings last season.
Scouting CSU Bakersfield
CSU Bakersfield comes to The Matadome for a non-conference contest on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 4 p.m. The Roadrunners are 4-18 on the season and the game with CSUN represents their first contest in 10 days. Kristine Herman leads the team in scoring, averaging an even 15.0 points per game on 40 percent shooting from the field. She also averages 5.0 rebounds per contest and leads CSU Bakersfield with 34 steals. Amber Williams is the team's second-leading scorer at 13.0 ppg and Lauren Carter is third on the team with a scoring average of 12.9 ppg. CSU Bakersfield averages over 24 3-point attempts per game and shoots 33.9 percent from downtown as a team. In the Division I history between the two teams, CSUN has never defeated CSUB at The Matadome. Northridge's only win in the current series came in Bakersfield during the 2007-08 season.