Matadors Face Pilots in CSUN Basketball Doubleheader
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. ---
The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team opens its 2012-13 season with a home game against the University of Portland Pilots on Friday, Nov. 9 at 5 p.m. in The Matadome. The game between the Matadors and Pilots is the first of the season for both teams and the contest will be followed by the CSUN men's basketball team taking on Pepperdine. Separate tickets are needed for both contests.
Northridge enters the season with eight returning letterwinners and four starters from a team that finished 17-14 and participated in the Women's National Invitational Tournament (WNIT). CSUN finished 11-5 in the Big West Conference, good for second place in the league and Matador head coach Jason Flowers was named the league's coach of the year.
Among the returning players, sophomores Janae Sharpe and Ashlee Guay form a potent backcourt for the Matadors. Sharpe was the Big West Conference Freshman of the Year last season after averaging over 11 points per game. Guay set a school record for steals in a single season by leading the league with 91 thefts.
In the frontcourt, CSUN has three seniors looking to end their career with strong seasons: Violet Alama, Jianni Jackson and Felicia Walker. Alama was named the Big West Conference Co-Sixth Woman of the Year last season after averaging over seven points and five rebounds last season.
Joining the Matadors are four freshmen who bring extensive travel, high school and international experience: Breeyon Alexander, Bernadette Fong, Jasmine Johnson and Marta Masoni. Following the game with the Pilots, CSUN splits its action next weekend with a home game against Eastern Washington (11/15) and a road contest at Arizona (11/17).
Sophomore Janae Sharpe returns to the Matadors after earning Big West Conference Freshman of the Year and All-Big West Second Team honors last season. She scored a season-high 19 points four times and was the Big West Conference's top scoring rookie. For the season, Sharpe averaged 11.4 points per game, the second-best figure on the team and ninth among all Big West players. She also averaged 4.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.9 steals (third in the league) per game. She tied a season high for the third time when she scored 19 points, including 17 in the second half, in the home win over Pacific. Sharpe tied a season high with 19 points in the Matadors' double-overtime loss to UC Santa Barbara. Sharpe had a strong start to her Big West career, earning the league's Player of the Week after helping lead the Matadors to a pair of wins during the opening weekend of conference 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.
A Guay with Words
Sophomore Ashlee Guay earned All-Big West Honorable Mention and All-Big West Freshman Team honors after a stellar rookie season. She set a school record with her conference-high 91 steals last season and had two games with seven steals, two with six and six more with at least four. She ranked 24th among all Division I players with her steals average of 2.94 per game. The San Diego, Calif., native also averaged 8.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and a league-leading 4.2 assists (129 in 31 starts). She 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 tied for the national mark this season for most 3-point makes without a miss. Guay also dished out a season-high nine assists in the Matadors' victory at UC Irvine.
Violets are Matador Red
Senior Violet Alama brought a strong presence off the bench for the Matadors all season, earning Co-Sixth Woman of the Year honors. For the season, Alama averaged 7.2 points and 5.9 rebounds, the ninth-best average in the Big West. In the regular season finale against Cal State Fullerton, Alama produced six points, seven rebounds and four assists in 27 minutes. In the Matadors' home win over UC Davis, she had nine points, seven rebounds, four steals and two assists. 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. 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, two 3-pointers, and eight rebounds.
Mahl-Knechting the Dots
Sophomore Camille Mahlknecht was a key player for CSUN on the interior for the Matadors in her first season with the team. The Agoura, Calif., native averaged 5.1 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. She had 45 blocks on the year, a 1.5 per game average that finished second in the Big West Conference. The 45 rejections ranked fourth in school history for a single season. Offensively, Mahlknecht had five double-figure scoring performances on the season, including a season-high 14 points and seven field goals at Oregon State. She finished with 11 points and four rebounds in 21 minutes at UC Irvine. She added 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.
Junior Haley White continued to show her versatility by often guarding four positions on the court last season. She finished with a season-high 12 points, seven rebounds and six field goals in the Matadors' comeback victory at Pacific and had 11 points and three steals in the WNIT game against San Diego. She averaged 3.3 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists on the season.
I'm Sorry Ms. Jackson
Senior Jianni Jackson had several strong games for the Matadors in her first season with the club. She had nine points and five boards in the home win against Cal State Fullerton and finished with 12 points, four rebounds and tied a season high with three steals in the Matadors' game at Cal Poly. She tied a season high with four field goals, including a season-high two 3-pointers, against the Mustangs. Jackson scored a season-high 14 points and had seven rebounds in the Matadors' win at Pacific. For the season, she is averaging 3.1 points and 2.1 rebounds per game.
Georgia on My Mind
Sophomore Randi Friess earned a spot in the rotation based largely on her hustle and fearlessness in crashing the boards. Originally from Savannah, Ga., Friess tied a season high with nine rebounds in the Matadors' home victory over Pacific. She also had a season-high eight points in the Matadors' win at UC Riverside and then knocked down a season-high two 3-pointers in CSUN's win at UC Irvine. For the season, Friess averaged 2.6 points and 3.1 rebounds, including a season-high nine boards against CSU Bakersfield. One statistic that speaks to Friess' hustle is that 16 of her 22 steals came against Big West opponents.
The Matadors welcome four newcomers to the roster for the 2012-13 season: Breeyon Alexander, Bernadette Fong, Jasmine Johnson and Marta Masoni. Of the group, Alexander, Johnson and Masoni are all capable of playing on the perimeter, while Fong is a 6-2 post player. Alexander has top speed and length and projects as a shooting guard/small forward. Johnson is a rugged, energetic player who coaches expect to rebound at a high volume. Masoni brings extensive international experience and can score at a high rate. Fong is a bruising post player capable of stepping out and facing up from 16 feet.
Conference and National Notes
The Matadors found themselves with some pretty impressive stats in 2011-12. Defensively, the Matadors were second in the conference in field goal percentage defense (.372), fourth in scoring defense (63.2 ppg) and second in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.306). Northridge led the league and ranked 48th in the nation with an average of 4.6 blocks per game and had 317 steals, an average of 10.2 per game that ranked 62nd in the nation. On offense, CSUN ranked second in the Big West and 96th in the nation with a team free throw percentage of .713 (459-644). Individually, freshman Ashlee Guay led the league with a school-record 91 steals and ranked 24th among all Division I players with an average of 2.94 per game. Guay also ranked 87th in the nation with her league-leading assist average of 4.2 per game.
Follow Your Matadors Online
All home games this season will include live stats coverage, a free audio broadcast and free live video through Big West TV. For road contests related links to the game, including for any live stats, audio and video, will be posted before the contest on the schedule page of GoMatadors.com. Fans are also encouraged to check the Cal State Northridge Athletics Department's official Twitter feed (@GoMatadors) for updates of games in progress and news and notes throughout the week.