Matadors Post Historic Win over USC

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. ---

The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (3-7) posted a 65-64 victory over USC at The Matadome Tuesday night in a non-conference contest. Hosting the Women of Troy for the first time since 1993, CSUN got a late free throw from Janae Sharpe and then posted a defensive stop to topple the Trojans for the first time in the program's Division I history.

In a game that featured 10 ties and 13 lead changes, Sharpe was fouled with 31 seconds left and hit the front end of the bonus situation to break the tie. After calling a time out, USC's Ariya Cook missed a jumper with three seconds left, but Alexyz Vaioletama grabbed the rebound and tried a reverse lay-up with the clock winding down.

The shot missed, Camille Mahlknecht grabbed the rebound and the Matadors had posted a victory over a Pac-12 Conference opponent for the second-straight season.

Ashlee Guay led the Matadors with 16 points and had six assists and five rebounds in 37  minutes of action. Mahlknecht had a team-high 10 rebounds to go with seven points and five blocked shots. She now needs just four more rejections to set a new school record.

The game was a close contest throughout with neither team holding more than a six-point advantage at any point. CSUN led 35-33 at halftime after leading by six at one point. Bernadette Fong was 5-of-5 from the field and had all 10 of her points in the opening 20 minutes.

In the second half, USC went up by four again on a jumper from Vaioletama with 11:39 remaining. Randi Friess knocked down a key 3-pointer with 9:59 left to give the advantage back to CSUN at 51-49.

Sharpe, who finished with nine points and a season-high eight assists, gave Northridge a six-point lead (60-54) with 4:07 left in the game. USC clawed its way back and Cook knocked down a three-pointer with 32 seconds left to tie the game.

Cinnamon Lister finished with 11 points, four assists and zero turnovers in 35 minutes of action for the Matadors. Behind the efforts of Fong, Friess and Emily Cole, the CSUN bench outscored the USC reserves 20-4 in the game.

The Matadors shot 41.7 percent (25-of-60) from the field and 75 percent (9-of-12) from the free throw line. USC finished at 42.4 percent (25-of-59) from the field and 47.6 percent (10-of-21) from the free throw line.

The win marked CSUN's third against a member of the Pac-12 Conference opponent in its Division I history. After going from 1996 to 2012 without a win against the league, the Matadors have now knocked off UCLA and USC in successive seasons.

In a series that dates back to the 1970-71 season, Northridge had defeated USC previously but was 0-8 in the all-time series at the Division I level against the Women of Troy. The win, CSUN's first at home this season, also helped the Matadors snap a five-game losing streak.

Northridge has time off for finals and returns to the court with a home contest on Thursday, Dec. 19 against Northern Arizona University. Tip off is slated for 7 p.m. from The Matadome.