Matadors Rally for 56-55 Victory at Cal State Fullerton

FULLERTON, Calif. ---

The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (8-5, 2-0 Big West) defeated Cal State Fullerton 56-55 Saturday afternoon in a Big West Conference contest at Titan Gym. Sophomore Ashlee Guay had a game-high 18 points and five steals as the Matadors held on in a frantic game that featured 11 lead changes.

After cruising to a win at UC Riverside Thursday night, CSUN found itself in a much different contest Saturday. The Titans jumped out to an 11-2 lead behind three 3-pointers just a few minutes into the game.

CSUN battled back and the teams traded baskets for the rest of the half until Cal State Fullerton pulled away for a four-point halftime lead, 32-28. In the second half, the Matadors fell behind 48-41 with just over 11 minutes left in the contest.

From there, Northridge went on a prolonged run that saw them take the lead for good on a 3-pointer by Marta Masoni with 6:18 left in the game. The run wound up being a 11-0 run (52-48) before Fullerton tried to mount a late rally.

Guay made a jumper in the paint with 79 seconds left to pushed the lead back to four. A pair of Titan free throws cut it two and Masoni made 1-of-2 at the line with 16 seconds left. On the final possession, Tailer Butler attempted a tying 3-pointer from the corner that Guay blocked. Butler followed it up for an inconsequential lay-up at the buzzer and CSUN held on for the win.

Guay was 7-of-12 from the field and had two rebounds, two 3-pointers and five steals. Fellow sophomore Janae Sharpe was 4-of-7 from the field and finished with 10 points, three rebounds and two assists.

Sophomore Camille Mahlknecht had seven points and a team-high 11 rebounds in 25 minutes. Freshman Bernadette Fong had a season-high seven points and six rebounds in 13 minutes. Masoni had six points, four rebounds and tied a season high with four assists.

In all, CSUN shot 36.8 percent from the field (21-of-57) compared to 29.2 percent (19-of-65) for Cal State Fullerton. The Matador defense really clamped down in the second half, holding the Titans to just one field goal, Butler's buzz beater, over the final 13:02 of the contest.

The Titans won the rebounding battle, 45-41, and had 17 second-chance points. Chante Miles led Cal State Fullerton with 11 points.

Northridge returns home for its next game, its first home contest since a 77-33 victory over San Francisco on Dec. 5. On Jan. 9, the Matadors will face the Long Beach State 49ers in a Big West Conference game at 7 p.m. in the Matadome.