CSUN Returns to Action with Road Contest at No. 12 UCLA


NORTHRIDGE, Calif. --- 

Matadors Face Bruins at Pauley Pavilion

The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (5-4) returns from a lengthy break to face No. 12 UCLA Thursday evening in a 6 p.m. contest at Pauley Pavilion. The match-up with the Bruins, CSUN's first since the 2008-09 season, will feature live stats and live audio available at GoMatadors.com. 

Before taking a break from the hardwood due to academic responsibilities, the Matadors split a pair of nonconference contests. Northridge led from wire-to-wire in a 77-33 victory over San Francisco on Dec. 5. The Matadors held the Dons to 19.6 percent shooting (11-of-56) from the field as San Francisco set a new CSUN opponent Division I record for fewest points in a game. 

Offensively, Marta Masoni led four Matadors in double-figures by posting 15 points to go along with six rebounds, three assists and two steals. Camille Mahlknecht nearly recorded a triple-double against USF, producing 14 points, 13 rebounds and a school-record eight blocks. 

CSUN then dropped a 67-52 decision at Fresno State on Dec. 8, the third time this season that the Matadors have squandered a halftime lead. Masoni and Mahlknecht had solid games for Northridge, finishing with 14 points and 12 rebounds respectively. 

This week the Matadors set their sights on the nationally ranked UCLA Bruins, a squad that carries a 7-1 record into Thursday's game. Last week, UCLA won the St. John's Chartwells Holiday Classic by defeating Saint Mary's (76-62) and the host Red Storm (53-52). Senior Markel Walker leads the team in scoring at 15.1 points per game. She is also averaging 8.0 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game. Fellow senior Alyssia Brewer is averaging a double-double at 11.6 points and 10.0 rebounds per game.

Following the match-up with the Bruins, CSUN will leave the state of California for only the second time this season. On Dec. 29, the Matadors will travel to Norman, Okla., to face the nationally ranked Oklahoma Sooners. Tip off in the first ever meeting between the two schools on the hardwood is set for 1 p.m. (CT) on Saturday, Dec. 29.

Meet the Meteoric Marta Masoni 

Freshman Marta Masoni continues to have a strong first season with the Matadors. She leads the Matadors in scoring and ranks fifth in the Big West Conference at 14.3 points per game. Masoni has led CSUN in scoring in the past two games, finishing with 15 vs. San Francisco and 14 at Fresno State. She matched her season high with 22 points in the win at Santa Clara, finishing 8-of-12 from the field and 3-of-4 from 3-point range. She produced a season-high 22 points, including five 3-pointers, in the Matadors' loss to Penn State in the CSUN Thanksgiving Classic. Through nine games, Masoni is averaging 14.3 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists per contest. She leads the Big West Conference in 3-pointers (27) and ranks second in the league at 43.5 percent from beyond the arc (27-of-62). Masoni also ranks eighth in field goal percentage (.409) and second in minutes per game (35.7). She started her career with a bang, finishing with 17 points, including five 3-pointers, as Northridge defeated Portland. Originally from Taranto, Italy, Masoni was a member of the Italian Women's Basketball team that captured the U-18 European Championships in 2010.

A Guay with Words 

Sophomore Ashlee Guay has revved up her scoring prowess in 2012-13, averaging 13.3 points per game to place second on the team and seventh in the conference. She has reached double figures in eight of the first nine games and finished with 11 points, four assists and five steals in the win over San Francisco. Guay earned all-tournament honors at CSUN's Thanksgiving Classic after averaging 15 points, nine assists and five rebounds in the two games. She dished out a career-high 12 assists, matching the school record, in the Matadors' loss to Penn State and is now averaging 4.8 assists per game. She scored a game-high 20 points in the Matadors' season-opening victory over Portland, including a career-high nine field goals. For that performance, Guay was named the Big West Conference Player of the Week. For the year, Guay has 43 assists, 30 rebounds and 26 steals.

Mahl-Knechting the Dots

Sophomore Camille Mahlknecht has recorded double-doubles in the past two Matador games. Against San Francisco, she just missed a triple-double by posting 14 points, 13 rebounds and a school-record eight blocked shots. At Fresno State, she finished with 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Mahlknecht also had a strong performance in the Matadors' Thanksgiving Classic. She had 14 points and five blocks in the win over South Alabama and then tied a career high with 13 rebounds against Penn State. Mahlknecht produced her first career double-double when she finished with a career-high 22 points and 13 rebounds in the win over Eastern Washington. She also had a career-high nine field goals and three blocks in the win over the Eagles. For the season, Mahlknecht is averaging 8.7 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game. She leads the Big West Conference in blocks per game and is third in rebounds per game. With 73 blocks in 40 career games, Mahlknecht is now eighth in school history.

Mighty Sharpe

Sophomore Janae Sharpe has made an immediate impact for CSUN since returning from a lower body injury. She made her season debut for the Matadors in their games at Santa Clara and San Jose State. She finished with 16 points in the loss to the Spartans, adding five field goals, five free throws and three rebounds. Against San Francisco, Sharpe finished with 11 points, five assists and three rebounds in 18 minutes of action. At Fresno State, she produced 11 points, six rebounds and four assists. The 2011-12 Big West Freshman of the Year, Sharpe has averaged over 11 points per game in 33 career appearances for the Matadors.

Georgia on My Mind

Sophomore Randi Friess continues to earn large playing time due to her hustle and defense. Through nine games, the second-year player from Savannah, Ga., is averaging 6.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.6 steals per contest. She produced her first two career double-digit scoring performances earlier in the season. She poured in a career-high 12 points in the Matadors' loss at Arizona and then scored 10 points, including a career-high three 3-pointers, in the Matadors' loss to Penn State. Friess produced a career-high four field goals against Arizona and tied a career high with nine rebounds in the Matadors' win over Eastern Washington. She ranks tied for 13th in the conference in rebounds per game.

Violets are Matador Red

Senior Violet Alama scored a season-high 11 points in the Matadors' loss to Penn State in the CSUN Thanksgiving Classic. The day before, she pulled down a season-high nine rebounds in the Matadors' win over South Alabama. Alama opened the season with eight points and eight rebounds in the Matadors' season-opening victory over Portland. She now has 552 rebounds in her career, which stands at eighth in school history. She also has 203 career free throws, the 10th-most in school history. In 96 career games, Alama has averaged 7.3 points and 5.6 rebounds per contest.

Haley's Comet

Junior Haley White had a strong start to her third season with the Matadors. In the win over Portland, White came off the bench to finish with eight points, 10 assists, seven rebounds and three steals in 28 minutes of action. The 10 dimes matched White's career high and the seven rebounds were two shy of her career best. In 70 career games with the Matadors, White has averaged 4.1 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists.

I'm Sorry Ms. Jackson

Senior Jianni Jackson had her best game of the season in the Matadors' loss to San Jose State. She finished with 11 points and eight rebounds in the contest, both of which established new season highs. In fact, the eight boards set a new career best for Jackson in her time at Northridge. In the win over Santa Clara, she tied a career high with two 3-pointers and is now averaging 4.0 points and 3.1 rebounds through seven contests.

Hurricane Breezy

Freshman Breeyon Alexander has brought energy and intensity off the bench for the Matadors thus far in the 2012-13 season. Alexander, who goes by the nickname "Breezy," had eight points, including two 3-pointers, in the Matadors' win over Eastern Washington. She grabbed a season-high five rebounds in the Matadors' victory over South Alabama and is averaging 2.3 points, 1.7 rebounds and 0.7 assists per game.

Conference and National Notes

As of Dec. 17, CSUN led the Big West in field goal percentage defense (.325), 3-point field goal percentage (.367), 3-pointers per game (7.7), assists per game (16.0) and blocked shots per game (5.7). The Matadors also rank second in the conference in scoring defense (57.1), scoring margin (5.7), 3-point field goal percentage defense (.236) and rebounding offense (42.2). 

Among 343 teams in Division I as of Dec. 16, CSUN ranks 18th in 3-pointers per game, 19th in field goal percentage defense, 24th in both 3-point field goal percentage defense and blocks per game, 27th in 3-point field goal percentage and 30th in assists per game.

Individually, Northridge has two of the league's top scorers on a per-game average (Marta Masoni, Ashlee Guay) and two players among the league's top 15 rebounders (Camille Mahlknecht, Randi Friess). Masoni leads the Big West in 3-pointers per game (3.0) and is second in 3-point field percentage (.435), figures that stand nationally at 17th and 28th respectively. With 28 blocks in nine games, Mahlknecht ranks 10th in Division I and leads the Big West at 3.1 blocks per game.

Matadors Sign Four to NLIs

Cal State Northridge head coach Jason Flowers has announced the signing of four student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to begin play with the Matadors starting in the 2013-14 season. Amber Blockmon, Emily Cole, Katelin King and Samantha Young bring prolific prep careers and outstanding character to the Matadors. 

"We are excited to welcome these four outstanding young women into the Northridge family," Flowers said. "All four are exceptional student-athletes who will represent the University and its community with hard work and discipline on the court and in the classroom."

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 matches in progress and news and notes throughout the week.