NORTHRIDGE, Calif. ---
The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (15-14, 11-4 Big West) overcame a 14-point second-half deficit to defeat UC Riverside 77-75 Saturday afternoon at The Matadome. Janae Sharpe scored a team-high 24 points, Ashlee Guay added 20 and the Matadors claimed a share of the Big West Conference regular season title for the first time in program history.
Saturday's victory was anything but certain until the final buzzer sounded on a wet day in the San Fernando Valley. The Highlanders held a sizeable lead for a majority of the contest, using a big first-half run to give them a 38-36 halftime lead.
In the second half, UCR continued to push CSUN to its breaking point. The Highlanders built a 14-point lead with 14 minutes to play and looked good to post the upset.
However, CSUN dug deep and fought back. Trailing 65-57 with 7:32 to play, the Matadors went on a 12-3 run to take a 69-68 lead on a lay-up from Guay. UCR pushed back and took the lead on its next possession, but Guay canned a key 3-pointer with 2:51 to play to give CSUN the lead for good.
Sharpe matched a career high with 10 free throws and added eight rebounds and two assists in 39 minutes of action. Guay knocked down two 3-pointers and had six rebounds and four assists in 38 minutes.
Cinnamon Lister was the third Matador in double-figures, finishing with 14 points. She knocked down three 3-pointers in the game to give her 10 for the weekend.
The Matadors shot 39.3 percent from the field compared to 46.8 percent for UC Riverside. CSUN hit 20-of-24 free throw attempts and saw its bench outscore UCR 18-4.
Brittany Crain led five Highlanders in double-figures with 20 points.
With the win, CSUN has wrapped up the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Big West Tournament.
CSUN closes out its 2014 Big West season with a road game at Long Beach State on Thursday, Mar. 6. Tip off from The Pyramid is slated for 7 p.m.