NORTHRIDGE, Calif. ---
Matadors Determined to Defend Home Court
The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (10-7, 4-2 Big West) returns home to play just its fourth and fifth home games since December 1 when the Matadors host UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly in a pair of Big West Conference contests. On Thursday, Jan. 24, CSUN will look to defeat the Gauchos on its home floor for the first time since 1984 in a 7 p.m. contest. Two days later, the Matadors will square off with a Cal Poly squad that enters the week having won four straight and is currently atop the league standings. Both contests will feature live audio, video and stats available at GoMatadors.com and fans are encouraged to check with the CSUN athletic department's official Twitter account (@GoMatadors) for in-game updates.
Last week CSUN dropped both ends of a road trip to Northern California, falling to UC Davis and Pacific. Against the Aggies, the Matadors fell behind early and cut the Aggie advantage to seven before faltering down the stretch. Janae Sharpe had 15 points and tied a career-high with 11 free throws. Two days later, Marta Masoni scored 13 points but the Matadors saw a Pacific run late in the first half prove decisive.
This week offers an equally compelling challenge for CSUN, who must now square off against a pair of starkly different teams. UC Santa Barbara leads the conference in scoring defense and holds opponents to 37.8 percent shooting from the field and 29.8 percent from 3-point range. Senior forward Sweets Underwood leads the Gauchos in scoring and rebounding at 10.9 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. Northridge has not defeated UCSB at home since 1984 and just once in its history (1/25/07) since then.
On Saturday, Cal Poly comes into town after having faced Hawai'i in an equally important contest in the Big West standings. The Mustangs are led by sophomore guard Ariana Elegado, who is averaging 12.6 points for the season and 10.8 in Big West play. She is joined by junior center Molly Schlemer, who is averaging 10.6 points for the year and 14.8 in league play. Cal Poly is coming off a 66-47 victory over UC Santa Barbara in both team's only contest last week. Schlemer scored 22 points and had eight rebounds and Kayla Griffin added 21 points and nine boards in the victory at Mott Gym in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
A Guay with Words
Sophomore Ashlee Guay continues to lead CSUN in scoring through 17 games. She led all scorers with 22 points against the 49ers and 24 points against the Anteaters. She drained a career-high 10 field goals and a season-high four 3-pointers against UCI and had three steals in each game. Guay scored a game-high 18 points in the Matadors' road win at Cal State Fullerton and poured in a career-high 28 points in the Matadors' historic victory at UCLA. She is now averaging 13.5 points per game to lead the team and rank fifth in the conference. This season, she has scored 20 points or more four times and has led the Matadors in scoring nine times. 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 66 assists, 54 rebounds and 50 steals. In Big West Play, Guay is averaging 12.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.1 assists.
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 13.4 points per game. She had 13 points at Pacific. Against Long Beach State, Masoni scored 19 points, including a season-high six free throws, and then added 20 points and six 3-pointers in the win over UC Irvine. 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 17 games, Masoni is averaging 13.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists per contest. In Big West Play, Masoni is averaging 12.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists. She leads the Big West Conference in 3-pointers (51) and at 42.5 percent from beyond the arc (51-of-120). 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 enters the weekend averaging 7.1 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. She pulled down a team-high 12 rebounds at Pacific and also finished with five blocks. Against Long Beach State, she posted seven points, nine rebounds and three blocks and 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. 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. She leads the Big West Conference in blocks per game and is fourth in rebounds per game. With 88 blocks in 48 career games, Mahlknecht is eighth in school history. In Big West Play, Mahlknecht is averaging 6.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.1 blocks.
Sophomore Janae Sharpe has made an immediate impact for CSUN since returning from a lower body injury. For the season, she is averaging 8.8 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.9 steals per game. At UC Davis, Sharpe had 15 points and tied a career high with 11 free throws. 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 10.6 points per game in 41 career appearances for the Matadors. In Big West Play, Sharpe is averaging 7.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists.
Georgia on My Mind
Sophomore Randi Friess continues to earn large playing time due to her hustle and defense. Through 17 games, the second-year player from Savannah, Ga., is averaging 4.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.4 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 592 rebounds in her career, which stands sixth in school history. She also has 220 career free throws, the ninth-most in school history. In 106 career games, Alama has averaged 7.1 points and 5.5 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 4.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in nine contests.
Junior Haley White dished out a game-high six assists in the win over UC Irvine. She also 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 78 career games with the Matadors, White has averaged 4.1 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists.
Conference and National Notes
As of Jan. 20, CSUN led the Big West in field goal percentage defense (.338), 3-pointers per game (6.8), 3-point field goal percentage (.348) and turnover margin (+2.5). The Matadors also rank second in the conference in scoring defense (58.2), scoring margin (+3.5), blocks per game (4.8), and steals per game (11.1).
Among 343 teams in Division I as of Jan. 20, CSUN ranks 18th in field goal percentage defense, 34th in 3-point field goal percentage, 39th in 3-pointers per game, 44th in blocks per game, 50th in steals per game, 71st in 3-point field goal defense, 73rd in turnover margin and 95th in scoring defense. Freshman Marta Masoni checks in at 19th in the nation in 3-point percentage and 15th in 3-pointers per game. Camille Mahlknecht ranks 20th in the nation in blocks per game while Ashlee Guay is 41st in steals per game and 116th in field goal percentage.
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.