ANAHEIM, Calif. ---
Ashlee Guay scored a game-high 24 points and and Camille Mahlknecht added 16 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks as the Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (17-14) defeated UC Irvine 78-60 in a Big West Conference Tournament Semifinal at Honda Center Friday afternoon. With the win, CSUN advances to the Big West Tournament Championship at 1 p.m. on Fox Sports West Prime Ticket against either Cal Poly or Hawai'i.
The victory places CSUN in the Big West Tournament Final for the first time in program history. CSUN led nearly wire-to wire in the victory, finally taking down UC Irvine in its third attempt this season.
Trailing 12-10 with 13:31 left in the first half, CSUN outscored the Anteaters 26-16 over the remainder of the half to take a 36-28 lead into halftime. Mahlknecht had 10 points and Guay had nine at the break as CSUN shot 44.1 percent from the field compared to 27.3 percent for UCI.
In the second half, UC Irvine was able to get within seven points (48-41) with 10:53 to play in regulation. From there, the Matadors uncorked a 12-1 run to take a 60-42 lead with 6:31 left in the game. UCI would get no closer than 15 the rest of the way.
Guay, the Big West Player of the Year, was 8-of-13 from the field and 3-of-5 from downtown. She added six assists and a season-high six steals in the victory.
Mahlknech finished 7-of-11 from the field and 10 of her 13 rebounds came on the defensive glass. Her six blocked shots Friday gives her 99 for the season, setting a new program single-season record in the process.
Cinnamon Lister scored 18 points in the win. The junior guard was 6-of-12 from the field and connected on four 3-pointers to give her a conference-high 87 on the season. She added three assists in 34 minutes of action.
As a team, CSUN shot 48.3 percent (29-of-60) from the field and 43.8 percent (7-of-16) from 3-point range. UC Irvine finished at 30.2 percent (19-of-63) from the field and 19 percent (4-of-21) from downtown. The Matadors held a 45-34 advantage in rebounds and outscored the Anteaters 30-26 in the paint.
Camille Buckley led the Anteaters with 16 points and 13 rebounds in defeat. Jennifer Tsurumoto added 17 points for UCI.
Tip off for Saturday's Championship game is at 1 p.m. and will be broadcast live on Fox Sports West Primeticket. CSUN will face the winner of Hawai'i-Cal Poly.