NORTHRIDGE, Calif. ---
If you really take a deep look at the ingredients of the witches' potion in the beginning of Macbeth, it is no wonder the Scottish King was doomed to fail. Eye of Newt? Adder's Fork? Scale of Dragon? Good luck finding those items at even the earthiest and organic of supermarkets.
American diets most certainly would insist on the addition of sugar and salt and lots of it. One ingredient that may help sweeten the concoction would be cinnamon, an enhancer of everything from coffee to breakfast cereals.
For the Cal State Northridge women's basketball team, the addition of cinnamon, in the form of junior guard Cinnamon Lister, has proven to be a key ingredient for the team in 2013-14.
After transferring from Boise State and sitting out the 2012-13 season due to NCAA rules, Lister has been happy to get back on the court and that shows both in her leadership and in the statistics.
"It is great to be back on the court. I felt somewhat on the outside last year because I couldn't travel, but now I am fully able to contribute," Lister said. "Sitting on the bench, I was able to watch and learn from people's successes and mistakes. I learned about the tempo of the game and what good and smart possessions look like."
While she was away from the court, she developed a strong bond with CSUN head coach Jason Flowers.
"We were very excited when we were able to add Cinnamon to our roster because of the type of player she is, but she has exceeded all expectations because of the type of young woman she is," Flowers said.
"She is one of the most driven players I've ever coached and her character makes her a natural leader. She used her red-shirt year to develop in several areas and it has shown this year. Even though she wasn't eligible to play in a single game last year, I never had to coach her effort all year," Flowers added. "She is a special young who, with her teammates, is determined to make this a special program."
Joining fellow junior Ashlee Guay, Lister is one of the team's two captains. She holds the leadership position in high esteem on a squad that sometimes needs a vocal leader from amongst its ranks.
"My role is to lead by example, to let my actions help direct the team towards it goals. I need to be a more vocal leader on the court when things are going wrong," Lister admitted.
This year, Lister has been a lethal scoring threat for the Matadors. She has scored in double figures 13 times and led the team in scoring on nine occasions. Lister has poured in over 20 points in six different contests, including a career-high 26 points and six 3-pointers in a game at Oregon.
Lister also scored 20+ in contests against Washington State, Clemson and BYU among others. In just 18 games this year, she has already surpassed her two-year total from her time at Boise State.
She has been especially prolific behind the 3-point arc. For the year, Lister has made 43 3-pointers and has already entered the school's top 10 for a single season. She ranks among the league leaders in 3-pointers per game checks in among the top 70 in Division I, as of Jan. 20, at that per-game clip.
"I work harder now than I did before, surrounding myself and getting basketball input from my mentors," Lister said. "I worked on my shot and my teammates do a good job of finding me and getting me good looks. When I miss, I just move on and get ready for the next one. That's what has helped me become better and more confident shooter."
There is another layer to the depth of CSUN's brand of Cinnamon: she has an identical sister who is a starting point guard at Vanderbilt. Jasmine Lister is a three-time All-SEC selection averaging over 16 points per game. She recently led the Commodores to an upset of in-state rival Tennessee.
"We are in constant contact throughout the day, she is my best friend," Cinnamon said. "She's having a great senior season. She has worked hard for it. She always talked to me when I felt down during my redshirt year. She was always there to pick me up and most importantly, she knew how to."
With Cinnamon back in California, that has allowed her parents more of an opportunity to see her in action. It allows her to see someone in the lobby after games, whether wins or losses. Not that Lister wants to see many more of the latter.
"There is still a lot in store and every night is a new night," Lister concluded. "We just have to work hard and come together by following coach's game plan and sticking to it. Then we'll be successful.
The addition of Cinnamon to the Matadors has certainly brought plenty of benefits. Perhaps a dash of the ingredient would've helped MacBeth. It may have helped him haunt the hardwood, not the endless theatres where the Bard's plays are performed.