CSUN Returns Home to Face Long Beach State, UC Irvine



Matadors Host 49ers, Anteaters at The Matadome

The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (8-5, 2-0 Big West) returns to The Matadome for the first time in over a month for its next two Big West Conference games. On Wednesday, Jan. 9, CSUN hosts Long Beach State at 7 p.m. in an early meeting of league unbeatens. Three days later (Jan. 12), the Matadors host UC Irvine at 4 p.m. in a Saturday afternoon contest. Both games will feature live video, live audio and live stats available at GoMatadors.com and all free of charge. Fans are also encouraged to check with the CSUN athletic department's official Twitter account (@GoMatadors) for in-game updates. 

Last week Northridge won its first two Big West Conference contests of the 2013 season, picking up wins at UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton. Against the Highlanders, CSUN led nearly wire-to-wire and Camille Mahlknecht posted her fourth double-double of the season after finishing with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Marta Masoni added 11 points and three 3-pointers as the Matadors won 65-49.

Two days later, CSUN had to overcome a fierce challenge from Cal State Fullerton at Titan Gym. The host Titans jumped out to an early 11-2 advantage, led by four at the half and built it to as many as seven in the second half. However, the Matadors persevered and Ashlee Guay hit a crucial jump shot with less than 90 seconds to play and then blocked the Titan's game-tying 3-point attempt in the waning moments of the contest to preserve the victory.

This week, the Matadors return home to face the 49ers and Anteaters in league contests. The 49ers enter Wednesday's game winners of five straight and led by sophomore Alex Sanchez, who averages 11.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game.  Long Beach State defeated Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara last week.

UC Irvine plays at Hawai'i on Wednesday before venturing to the San Fernando Valley for Saturday's contest. The Anteaters enter the week at 4-10 overall and 0-2 in the Big West Conference after losses to Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara. Camille Buckley leads UCI in both scoring (10.4) and rebounds (7.6) per game while Jennifer Tsurumoto is averaging 10.3 points and 2.8 assists per game. 

A Guay with Words 

Sophomore Ashlee Guay scored a game-high 18 points in the Matadors' road win at Cal State Fullerton and had 11 steals in CSUN's first two conference games. She 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 13.8 points per game to lead the team and rank fifth in the conference. She has reached double figures in 10 of the first 13 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 3.9 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 51 assists, 41 rebounds and 39 steals.

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 seventh in the Big West Conference at 13.0 points per game. In the first two conference games, Masoni had 10 points at UC Riverside and four assists in the win at Cal State Fullerton. Masoni knocked down a season-high six 3-pointers and finished with 18 points in the Matadors' win at UCLA. 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 13 games, Masoni is averaging 13.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists per contest. She leads the Big West Conference in 3-pointers (38) and ranks second in the league at 43.2 percent from beyond the arc (38-of-88). Masoni also ranks 10th in field goal percentage (.395) and third in minutes per game (33.9). 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.

Mahl-Knechting the Dots

Sophomore Camille Mahlknecht has recorded double-doubles in three of the last five Matador games. In the win at UC Riverside, Mahlknecht finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds. 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 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 7.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. She leads the Big West Conference in blocks per game and is fourth in rebounds per game. With 76 blocks in 44 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 scored 10 points in the win at Cal State Fullerton and tied for a team-high 12 points and had four steals at Oklahoma. Sharpe 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 37 career appearances for the Matadors. For the season, she is averaging 9.9 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game.

Georgia on My Mind

Sophomore Randi Friess continues to earn large playing time due to her hustle and defense. Through 13 games, the second-year player from Savannah, Ga., is averaging 5.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.4 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.

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 571 rebounds in her career, which stands eighth in school history. She also has 207 career free throws, the 10th-most in school history. In 102 career games, Alama has averaged 7.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per contest. 

I'm Sorry Ms. Jackson

Senior Jianni Jackson had her best game of the season in the Matadors' loss at Oklahoma. Jackson posted 12 points, a career-high five field goals and a team-high seven rebounds against the Sooners. Against San Jose State, she finished with 11 points and eight rebounds. 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 5.0 points and 3.7 rebounds in nine contests.

Haley's Comet

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 74 career games with the Matadors, White has averaged 4.2 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists.

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 1,8 points, 1.7 rebounds and 0.5 assists per game.

Conference and National Notes

As of Jan. 6, CSUN led the Big West in field goal percentage defense (.338), 3-pointers per game (7.0), 3-point field goal percentage (.354) and turnover margin (+2.5). The Matadors also rank second in the conference in scoring defense (59.2), 3-point field goal percentage defense (.252), scoring margin (+3.9), blocked shots per game (4.5) and defensive rebounds per game (28.3).

Among 343 teams in Division I as of Jan. 6, CSUN ranks 21st in scoring defense, 25th in 3-point field goal percentage, 27th in 3-point field goal defense, 36th in 3-pointers per game, 52nd in blocks per game and 95th in steals per game. Freshman Marta Masoni checks in at 20th in the nation in 3-point percentage (.432) and 21st in 3-pointers per game (2.9). Camille Mahlknecht ranks 23rd in the nation in blocks per game while Ashlee Guay is 49th in Division I in steals 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.