January 13, 2010

Matadors Return To Big West Conference Action at UC Riverside, vs. Cal State Fullerton

Jan. 13, 2010

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

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Matadors Travel to Face Highlanders Before Hosting Titans

The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (2-11, 0-3 BWC) plays a pair of Big West Conference game this weekend, facing UC Riverside Thursday night before hosting Cal State Fullerton Saturday afternoon. Despite a five-game losing streak, confidence remains high for the Matadors, who know a victory will put them squarely back into the race for the Big West Tournament.

CSUN dropped a 91-71 decision to Cal State Bakersfield Monday night, allowing the Roadrunners to open the game on a 19-4 run. Bridgette Conejo led the Matadors with 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field and she also led the team with eight rebounds.

In fact, four Matadors scored in double-figures against CSUB. Katrina Thompson added 12 points and Jasmine Erving and Analee Viena-Lota each scored 10. In the second half, Northridge shot 53.8 percent from the field (14-26) and 80 percent from the free throw line (12-15).

Now Northridge returns to Big West play with Thursday with a game at UC Riverside. The Highlanders have also lost five straight and enter the contest with a 3-11 record and an 0-2 mark in the conference. Alyssa Morris leads the team in scoring (11.7) and rebounding (6.3) and Marissa Rivera and Rhaya Neabors also averaging over 11 points per game.

At 4-0, Cal State Fullerton currently owns the best record in the league and play at Cal Poly on Thursday night before coming to the San Fernando Valley. Megan Richardson leads the Titans in scoring at 15.8 ppg, while Lyndsey Grove checks in at 14.2 ppg and Jasmine Scott averages 11.2 ppg.

Matadors On the Airwaves

All Matador women's basketball games are broadcast on GoMatadors.com and hosted by IBSU.net. Dave Caldwell is in his second season as the play-by-play voice of the Matadors. All Big West Conference games are also streamed live on BigWest.TV for a determined fee.

Scouting UC Riverside

The Highlanders from UC Riverside host Cal State Northridge Thursday night at 7 p.m. in a game that both teams will be looking to pick up their first league win of the season. The game also represents another chance for UCR head coach John Margaritis to earn his 200th career victory.

Like Cal State Northridge, UCR enters the game on a five-game losing streak. Alyssa Morris, Marissa Rivera and Rhaya Neabors all enter the contest averaging over 11 points per game. Morris' 6.3 rebounds and Rivera's .486 field percentage leads the team. Rheya Neabors, Rhaya's twin sister, leads UCR with 63 assists on the year, an average of 4.2 per game.

As a team, the Highlanders are shooting .400 from the field, but only .280 from 3-point range. They average 34.6 rebounds, 14.3 assists, 3.4 blocks and 7.9 steals per game. Conversely, UC RIverside also posts an average of 18.3 turnovers and 18.6 fouls per game.

Having met 44 times on the hardwood, the all-time series between CSUN and UC RIverside is evenly split 22-22 entering Thursday's game. The Highlanders have won the last five meetings in the series and have not to lost to CSUN in the Inland Empire since a 76-70 defeat on Jan. 9, 2006. Northridge is 8-13 all-time in Riverside.

Scouting Cal State Fullerton

At 4-0 in the Big West Conference, the Cal State Fullerton Titans are the early pole sitter in the league standings. They have already defeated UC Davis, Pacific, Long Beach State and UC Riverside. Under first-year head coach Marcia Foster, CSUF was picked to finish seventh in the Big West Preseason Poll.

Megan Richardson leads the team in scoring at 15.8 ppg. She is shooting .361 from the field and .292 from 3-point range. Lyndsey Grove is the team's second-leading scorer, averaging 14.2 ppg and a team-high 4.9 rebounds per game. Jasmine Scott is the third Titan to average in double-figures, posting 11.2 ppg and leads the team with 40 assists.

As a team, CSUF is shooting .382 from the field and .326 from 3-point range. The Titans are averaging 37.1 rebounds, 12.1 assists and 7.9 steals per game. They are also forcing opponents into an average of 19.1 turnovers a game. However, the Titans also average 15.9 turnovers per game and 19 fouls per contest.

In a series that dates back to 1975, Cal State Fullerton owns a 26-8 all-time record against Cal State Northridge. Last year was the Matadors' most successful year against the Titans as they swept the season series. The win in Fullerton, an 87-82 decision on Jan. 21, was Northridge's first at Titan Gym since 2004 (80-74 2OT, Dec. 28). In the Matadome, Northridge owns a 4-13 record against CSUF, having won two of the past four meetings.

Stay Off the Train Tracks

In her final season with the Matadors, senior Katrina Thompson continues to be the heart and soul of the Matadors in 2009-10, averaging a career-high 9.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.2 steals. Over her past five games, Thompson is averaging 12.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.0 steals. Thompson has also discovered a lethal 3-point shot, connecting on 13-of-27 attempts (.481) from behind the arc, good for the best percentage in the Big West.

CSUN's Very Own Dr. J

Sophomore Jasmine Erving finished with 10 points against Cal State Bakersfield, setting her scoring average at 13.1 points through 12 games. She is shooting a team-best.434 from the field (66-1of-152) and also leads the team with 17 blocked shots, giving her 50 for her career, the ninth-most in Big West history. Erving is second on the team with 66 rebounds, averaging 5.5 per game, and leads the team with 22 offensive boards.

CSUN's Flyin Hawaiian

Freshman Janelle Nomura had six assists, eight points and four rebounds for Northridge against CSUB, settling her season averages at 8.8 ppg, 3.3 apg and 3.7 rpg. Despite her 5-4 frame, she continues to lead CSUN at the free throw line, having connected on 53-of-70 attempts for a .757 percentage. From the field, Nomura is shooting .394 (28-71) and she has hit 6-of-19 3-point attempts (.316).

Conejo Brings More than Lucky Feet to CSUN

Sophomore Bridgette Conejo had a team-high 19 points and eight rebounds against Cal State Bakersfield, lifting her season averages to 12.3 ppg and a team-high 5.7 rpg. Her 7-of-11 shooting performance against the Roadrunners raised her field goal percentage to .424 (50-of-118) and she is also shooting .357 from 3-point range (15-of-42). Conejo is also averaging 1.4 apg, 0.9 bpg and 1.6 spg in her second season with the Matadors.

Seattle's Finest

Freshman Amanda Thomson knocked down a career-high three 3-pointers against Cal State Bakersfield to give her 10 treys and a .385 percentage on the season. She is now averaging 5.2 points having started nine of the team's 13 games. She is also averaging 1.8 rpg and 22.4 mpg in her rookie campaign. She had a season-high 12 points in the Matadors' loss to Pacific on Jan. 2.

Matadors vs. UC Riverside

Having met 44 times on the hardwood, the all-time series between CSUN and UC RIverside is evenly split 22-22 entering Thursday's game. The Highlanders have won the last five meetings in the series and have not to lost to CSUN in the Inland Empire since a 76-70 defeat on Jan. 9, 2006. Northridge is 8-13 all-time in Riverside.

Matadors vs. Cal State Fullerton

In a series that dates back to 1975, Cal State Fullerton owns a 26-8 all-time record against Cal State Northridge. Last year was the Matadors' most successful year against the Titans as they swept the season series. The win in Fullerton, an 87-82 decision on Jan. 21, was Northridge's first at Titan Gym since 2004 (80-74 2OT, Dec. 28). In the Matadome, Northridge owns a 4-13 record against CSUF, having won two of the past four meetings.

First Things First

The Matadors' 62-61 victory at San Jose State was CSUN's first non-conference road win in November in their last 19 opportunities. In fact, the last November victory for the Matadors also came at the expense of the Spartans, a 66-63 decision on Nov. 17, 2005. CSUN is just 4-28 in November games since the start of the 2005-06 season.

Sayonara School Records

Just eight games into the season, the Matadors have already seen several noteworthy individual performances that have made a mark in the school's record book. Janelle Nomura recorded the third-most free throw completions and attempts when she finished 14-of-17 from the charity stripe against New Mexico State.

Two days later, Bridgette Conejo tied a school record with seven 3-pointer against Prairie View A&M. The sophomore 7-of-10 from the field, tying the previous mark which had been set on three previous occasions. The seven 3-pointers helped Conejo set a new career high with 26 points.