NORTHRIDGE, Calif. ---
The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team has been picked by members of the media to win the 2012-13 Big West Conference title, the league office announced Wednesday. Northridge, which executed the best turnaround in the nation in 2011-12, received six first-place votes and had two sophomore guards (Janae Sharpe and Ashlee Guay) named to the Preseason All-Conference Team.
CSUN returns eight letterwinners and four starters from last season's team that finished 17-14 overall and 11-5 in the Big West Conference. This year's squad features three seniors (Violet Alama, Jianni Jackson and Felicia Walker) and four freshmen expected to contribute immediately.
"The poll reflects the change in perception of our program. That is the result of a lot of hard work, dedication and sacrifice by our student-athletes," CSUN head coach Jason Flowers said. "At the same time, games have never been won on paper and at the end of the day we still have to buckle up our chin straps."
Sharpe and Guay were a driving factor in the Matadors' success last year. Sharpe was named the Big West Conference Freshman of the Year after averaging 11.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. She led Northridge with 145 free throw attempts and added 55 steals during the course of the season to earn All-Big West Second Team honors.
Guay had more assists (129) and steals (91) than any other player in the Big West Conference last season. She added 8.6 points per game to earn All-Big West Honorable Mention and All-Freshman Team honors.
In the media poll, Northridge edged Pacifc, 161-159, for the preseason favorite. The Tigers received five first-place votes in the poll and were followed by UC Santa Barbara, which received three first-place votes and 153 points overall.
The Matadors will host The Master's College in an exhibition on Friday, Nov. 2 at 5 p.m. in The Matadome.
The regular season tips off with a CSUN home game against Portland on Nov. 9 at 5 p.m. as part of a basketball doubleheader in which the CSUN men's team will face Pepperdine at 7:30 p.m. Separate tickets are required for each contest.
2012-13 Big West Preseason Media Poll
1. Cal State Northridge (6) 161
2. Pacific (5) 159
3. UC Santa Barbara (3) 153
4. Cal Poly (1) 127
5. Long Beach State (1) 116
6. Hawai'i 81
7. UC Davis 80
8. UC Riverside 74
9. UC Irvine 65
10. Cal State Fullerton 29
2012-13 Big West Preseason All-Conference Team
Janae Sharpe, G, Sophomore, CSUN
Ashlee Guay, G, Sophomore, CSUN
Kayla Griffin, G, Senior, Cal Poly
Kamilah Martin, F, Junior, Hawai'i
Tre'Shonti Nottingham, G, Senior, UC Riverside
Kendall Rodriguez, F, Senior, Pacific