January 18, 2014

CSUN Snaps Skid vs. UCSB with Commanding Victory

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. ---

Bernadette Fong scored a career-high 16 points and seven field goals to help lift the Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (7-11, 3-1 Big West) to a 64-46 victory over UC Santa Barbara Saturday afternoon at The Thunderdome. Janae Sharpe scored a team-high 18 and Camille Mahlknecht added 13 points and eight rebounds as the Matadors defeated the Gauchos for just the second time since 1984.

CSUN entered Saturday's contest having lost 14 straight to UCSB with its last victory coming in 2007. Leading by as much as 24 points midway through the second half, the Matadors earned their most lopsided victory in the all-time series Saturday. The win also helped CSUN pull off a weekend sweep of its coastal rivals (Cal Poly, UC Santa Barbara) for the first time in its Big West history.

After the teams exchanged baskets early, UCSB held a 15-13 advantage about nine minutes into the game. The Matadors responded with a 22-7 run to take a 35-22 advantage into the locker room. Sharpe had 14 points at the break for CSUN.

In the second half, Northridge built its lead up to 24 with 12:40 to play on a jumper from Sharpe. UC Santa Barbara would get no closer than 16 the rest of the way.

Fong was a force inside all day. She was 7-of-11 from the field and had six rebounds in a career-high 19 minutes off the bench. Teaming with Mahlknecht, Fong helped push CSUN to a 34-10 advantage in points in the paint.

Sharpe was an equally effective 7-of-10 from the field and had four assists to just one turnover in 36 minutes. She and Mahlknecht each had a team-high eight rebounds and Mahknecht added three blocks in 32 minutes of play.

Ashlee Guay finished with seven points and six assists. She now has 326 assists for her career, the third-most in school history. Cinnamon Lister also had seven points and added two steals and two assists.

As a team, CSUN shot a season-high 44.8 percent (26-of-58) from the field. Conversely, the Matadors held UCSB to 15-of-55 (27.3 percent) from the field, the lowest mark by a Matador opponent this season.

The Matadors controlled the rebounds 45-31 and had 14 second-chance points off 12 offensive rebounds. Nicole Nesbit led the Gauchos with 13 points.

The Matadors return to action next week with a pair of Big West contests at The Matadome. On Thursday, Jan. 23, CSUN squares off with UC Irvine at 7 p.m. Two days later, the Matadors meet Long Beach State at 4 p.m.

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