Matadors Host Mustangs, Gauchos to Open Big West Play

Matadors Host Mustangs, Gauchos to Open Big West Play
This Week's Matador Women's Basketball Release

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. --- A new year brings the Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (0-10) to the Big West Conference portion of its 2007-08 schedule, starting with a pair of home games against Cal Poly on Thursday at 7 p.m. and UC Santa Barbara on Saturday at 4 p.m. Senior Katie Holloway and junior Whitney Ligon continue to lead the Matadors in the search for their first win of the season.

In action last week, Northridge fell to Fresno St., 69-58, despite 19 points from Ligon. Over her past eight games, Ligon has reached double figures in all, averaging 14.4 ppg in the span. Against the Bulldogs, Ligon set new season highs in field goals (7), 3-pointers (5) and minutes played (36). She is currently shooting 41.7 percent from the field, the second best on the team, and has hit 36.4 percent of her 3-point attempts.

Holloway added 11 rebounds and eight points against Fresno St., raising her rebounds-per-game average to a team-high 7.4, the third best in the Big West Conference. Holloway is also the Matadors' second-highest scorer, averaging 10.0 ppg. She leads the team with a 43.8 field-goal percentage (35-of-80) and is second on the team with 12 blocks.

Freshman Analee Viena-Lota has been a welcome addition to the Matadors' offense over the past two games, averaging 13.5 points on 71.4 percent shooting from the field (15-of-21). In those contests, the rookie has scored 21 and 12 points, respectively, against Bakersfield and Fresno St., while also averaging six rebounds.

Teaming with Holloway in the middle is junior Crystal Hahs, who leads the league with 22 blocks on the season. She has posted a season high of five against Bakersfield and swatted another three against the Bulldogs. She is also the team's third-leading rebounder, averaging 5.0 per contest.

In the Northridge backcourt, junior Tonicia Tademy leads the team with 34 assists and is second on the team with 51 rebounds. Sophomore Shanice Howard returned to the Matadors' line-up against Fresno St., and responded by tying a season high with five assists.

Cal Poly (3-9) enters Thursday's contest on a six-game losing streak, having dropped a 83-58 decision at Pittsburgh on Dec. 18. Megan Harrison leads the Mustangs in scoring and rebounding, averaging 14.8 ppg and 6.5 rpg. Lisa McBride is the team second-leading scorer at 12.1 ppg,

The Mustangs are averaging 65.7 points per game whiule surrendering 74.5. From the field, they are shooting 36 pct. (279-775) and allowing opponents to connect on 45.6 pct. of their attempts (314-688). In the all-time series between the two schools, the Matadors own a 31-22 record, having won the last match-up, 67-60, on Mar. 1 in Northridge.

The Gauchos enter the week with a 5-6 record that includes a victory over Mississippi, 74-66, on Dec. 29 in Missoula, Mont. UCSB will play at Long Beach State on Thursday at 7 p.m. before heading to its match-up in The Matadome.

Senior Chisa Ononiwu leads the team in scoring, averaging 10.5 ppg. Fellow senior Jessica Wilson is second on the team with a scoring average of 10.4 ppg. UCSB is without senior Jenna Green, who is taking a medical redshirt the year.

The Gauchos are shooting 40.2 percent from the field while their opponents are hitting on 43.7 percent of their attempts. As a team, UCSB averages 66.3 points per game while surrendering 70.1 to their opponents. Last season, the Matadors snapped a 17-game losing streak to the Gauchos, defeating UCSB, 66-64, on Jan. 25. UCSB leads the all-time series 28-11.

Following the games against Cal Poly and UCSB, the Matadors venture back out on the road for their first league games away from The Matadome, playing at UC Davis on Jan. 10 (7 p.m.) and Pacific on Jan. 12 (7 p.m.).