NORTHRIDGE, Calif. ---
Matadors Travel to Meet Sooners in First Meeting on Hardwood
The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (6-4) close out the 2012 calendar year with a road test at No. 17 Oklahoma on Saturday, Dec. 29 at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla. Nine days after securing the program's first win ever over a ranked opponent in its Division-I history, the Matadors will look for their second-straight against the Sooners. The game will air live on Fox Sports West Primeticket with Bob Carpenter and Dan Hughes handling the action. Fans are also encouraged to tune in to the internet-only broadcast hosted on GoMatadors.com and to check Twitter (@GoMatadors) for in-game updates.
In their last game, the Matadors recorded a historic 77-72 victory over then-No. 12 UCLA at Pauley Pavilion. In a contest that featured 17 lead changes and 12 ties, Northridge pulled away in the second half behalf as sophomore Ashlee Guay scored a career-high 28 points and Marta Masoni canned a season-high six 3-pointers. Randi Friess had a team-high nine rebounds and CSUN finished with 32 points in the paint in the contest.
This week the challenge continues for the Matadors as they hit the road to face the No. 17 Sooners. Oklahoma enters the week with a 9-2 overall record after defeating UC Riverside 70-46 in Norman on Dec. 20. Aaryn Ellenberg led Oklahoma with 27 points, including six 3-pointers, while Joanna McFarland had a game-high 12 rebounds against the Highlanders. Ellenberg is averaging 17.3 points per game while Nicole Griffin is averaging 11.9 ppg.
Northridge and Oklahoma have never met on the hardwood in women's basketball. In its Division I history, CSUN is 0-6 all-time against the Big 12 Conference. That includes losses to Texas A&M, Colorado and Nebraska, all of whom have since left the league. The Matadors do have a victory over one of the conference's newest members, West Virginia, in November of 2011. Of course, that victory came when the Mountaineers were a member of the BIG EAST Conference.
When the Matadors return to California they open their 2013 Big West schedule with a pair of road contests. On Jan. 3, CSUN takes on UC Riverside at 7 p.m., followed two days later by a 3 p.m. contest on Jan. 5 at Cal State Fullerton.
Meet the Meteoric Marta Masoni
Freshman Marta Masoni continues to have a strong first season with the Matadors. She ranks second on the Matadors in scoring and sixth in the Big West Conference at 14.7 points per game. Masoni knocked down a season-high six 3-pointers and finished with 18 points in the Matadors' win at UCLA. She has led CSUN in scoring in two of its last three 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 10 games, Masoni is averaging 14.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.9 assists per contest. She leads the Big West Conference in 3-pointers (33) and ranks second in the league at 44.6 percent from beyond the arc (33-of-74). Masoni also ranks eighth in field goal percentage (.411) 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 poured in a career-high 28 points in the Matadors' historic victory at UCLA. She was 9-of-14 from the field and 10-of-12 from the free throw line, matching career highs in both field goals and free throws. She is now averaging 14.8 points per game to lead the team and rank fifth in the conference. She has reached double figures in nine of the first 10 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 45 assists, 33 rebounds and 28 steals and leads the conference in steals per game while ranking second in assists per game.
Mahl-Knechting the Dots
Sophomore Camille Mahlknecht has recorded double-doubles in two of the last three 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 8.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game. She leads the Big West Conference in blocks per game and is fourth in rebounds per game. With 74 blocks in 41 career games, Mahlknecht is now eighth in school history.
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 34 career appearances for the Matadors. For the season, she is averaging 9.6 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game.
Georgia on My Mind
Sophomore Randi Friess continues to earn large playing time due to her hustle and defense. Through 10 games, the second-year player from Savannah, Ga., is averaging 6.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.6 steals per contest. In CSUN's win at UCLA, she pulled down a team-high nine rebounds to go with six points, three assists and two steals. 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 11th 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 555 rebounds in her career, which stands eighth in school history. She also has 203 career free throws, the 10th-most in school history. In 99 career games, Alama has averaged 7.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per contest.
Junior Haley White hit two key 3-pointers in the Matadors' win at UCLA and finished with eight points against the Bruins. She 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. The 10 dimes matched White's career high and the seven rebounds were two shy of her career best. In 71 career games with the Matadors, White has averaged 4.2 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 4.2 points and 3.1 rebounds in nine contests.
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. 24, CSUN led the Big West in field goal percentage defense (.332), 3-point field goal percentage (.376), 3-pointers per game (7.9) and blocked shots per game (5.2). The Matadors also rank second in the conference in scoring defense (58.6), scoring margin (5.6), 3-point field goal percentage defense (.238) and assists per game (15.7).
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 (Ashlee Guay, Marta Masoni) and two players among the league's top 15 rebounders (Camille Mahlknecht, Randi Friess). Masoni leads the Big West in 3-pointers per game (3.3) and is second in 3-point field percentage (.446), figures that stand nationally at 17th and 28th respectively. With 29 blocks in nine games, Mahlknecht ranks 10th in Division I and leads the Big West at 2.9 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.
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.