Northridge Hoops Hosts Cal Poly in Big West Action Saturday at The Matadome

Jan. 21, 2010

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

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Matadors Host League-Leading Mustangs Saturday Afternoon

Having picked up a win to keep pace in the quest for the Big West Tournament, the Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (3-12, 1-4) host league-leading Cal Poly Saturday afternoon at The Matadome. Despite boasting one of the league's top players in Kristina Santiago, the Mustangs will face a stern test from a Northridge squad that leads the Big West Conference in field-goal percentage defense since the start of league play.

The Matadors snapped a six-game losing streak with a 66-53 victory over Cal State Fullerton. In the win, CSUN held the Titans to just 16 points and 10.5 percent shooting (4-of-38) in the second half. Jasmine Erving had a game-high 20 points for CSUN and Katrina Thompson recorded her fifth career double-double with a season-high 17 points and 14 rebounds.

For the season, CSUN boasts the top 3-point percentage in the Big West Conference, connecting on 67-of-177 attempts for a rate of .379. Thompson leads the Big West in individual 3-point shooting, having connected on exactly 50 percent of her attempts (17-of-34) for the season. She entered the year with just one career 3-pointer.

Another area that Northridge sits near the top of the league standings is in rebounding, averaging 38.9 boards per game. In fact, CSUN boasts three players (Thompson, Erving and Bridgette Conejo) in the league's top 10 in rebounds per game. The only Big West team averaging more rebounds per game is Cal Poly, which checks in at 39.8 rpg.

Cal Poly enters Saturday's game with an 11-5 overall record and a 4-1 mark in the Big West. They travel to UC Riverside Thursday night on this roadtrip as well. Santiago is averaging 20.2 points for the year, a number that jumps to 24.8 in the five league games. She also leads the Mustangs in rebounding, averaging 7.9 per contest, and in steals, having amassed 40 for the season. Rachel Clancy is also averaging in double-figures, scoring 10.8 ppg and averaging 5.7 rpg.

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 Cal Poly

The league-leading Cal Poly Mustangs pay a visit to The Matadome Saturday, bringing an 11-5 overall record and a 4-1 mark in the Big West Conference. The Mustangs defeated Cal State Fullerton, 76-73 in overtime, and Long Beach State, 86-63, last week. They play at UC Riverside Thursday night.

Cal Poly boasts one of the top individuals in the Big West Conference, Kristina Santiago. Having won the Big West Player of the Week the past two weeks, Santiago enters Saturday's contest averaging a team-high 20.2 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. In the Mustangs' five league games, her production has increased to 24.8 points and 10.8 rebounds.

Rachel Clancy is the other Mustang to score in double-figures, averaging 10.8 points for the season. She is second on the team in rebounds, averaging 5.7 boards per game. Desiray Johnston and Ashlee Stewart average 4.0 and 3.9 assists, respectively.

As a team, Cal Poly shoots 45.4 percent from the field and 33.5 percent from 3-point range. The Mustangs average 38.9 rebounds and 18.1 turnovers per game. They also lead the league in scoring offense, averaging 71.4 points per game.

In a series that has matched Cal Poly and Cal State Northridge 58 times, CSUN owns a 31-27 all-time record in the series. However, Cal Poly has won the last five meetings and eight of the last nine games against Northridge. The Matadors' last victory in the series came on Mar. 1, 2007, a 67-60 victory at The Matadome. CSUN has not won in San Luis Obispo since the 2005 season, an 83-81 double-overtime victory on Feb. 17.

Stay Off the Train Tracks

In her final season with the Matadors, senior Katrina Thompson recorded her fifth career double-double in the Matadors' victory over Cal State Fullerton. She finished with a season-high 17 points and 14 rebounds in the victory, raising her season averages to a career-high 9.9 points and 5.5 rebounds. Thompson has added a lethal 3-point shot this year, leading the Big West with a 50 percent rate (17-of-34). She entered the year having hit only one career 3-pointer. Against Big West foes, Thompson is averaging 12.8 points and 7.6 rebounds.

CSUN's Own Dr. J

Sophomore Jasmine Erving scored a team-high 20 points in the Matadors' victory over Cal State Fullerton, raising her season average to 13.6 ppg, the fifth-highest average in the league. She also is tied for eighth in the Big West with teammate Bridgette Conejo at 5.9 rebounds per game. Erving now ranks ninth in school history with 54 career blocks, and ranks second in the league this year at 1.5 bpg and leads the team with 21 rejections.

Conejo Brings More than Lucky Feet to CSUN

Sophomore Bridgette Conejo scored 12 points for CSUN in the Matadors' victory over Cal State Fullerton, and ranks second on the team at 11.9 ppg. She is also tied with teammate Jasmine Erving at 5.9 rpg for eighth in the Big West Conference. Conejo on five different occasions and tied a school record when she hit seven 3-pointers in the Matadors' contest against Prairie View A&M. Conejo has also led the team in rebounding on four different occasions.

CSUN's Flyin Hawaiian

Freshman Janelle Nomura has come off the bench for CSUN in the past two games, scoring 12 points at UC Riverside and adding four assists vs. Cal State Fullerton. For the year, Nomura averaging 8.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg and 3.3 apg. She ranks in the Big West Top 10 in assists (3.3) and assist-to-turnover ratio (0.7). She also leads the team at the free throw line in attempts (77), free throws made (59) and percentage (.766), which is the eighth-best rate in the league.

Roses are Blue, Violets are Red...

Freshman Violet Alama knocked down a season-high four free throws in the Matadors' victory over Cal State Fullerton and also tied a season high with three blocked shots. For the year, the freshman from Honolulu is averaging 4.8 rpg and ranks fourth on the team with 72 rebounds for the season. She has 29 of those rebounds against league opponents, an average of 5.8 rpg, the ninth-highest average among league players.

Bombs Away (or Not?)

Fifteen games into the season and five into the league schedule shows Cal State Northridge owning the best team 3-point percentage in the league at .379. Katrina Thompson leads the Big West at .500, having hit 17-of-34 attempts. Bridgette Conejo has also hit 17 treys on the year, including tying a school record with seven 3-pointers against Prairie View A&M. Conversely, the Matadors have posted the best 3-point field goal defense in league play, limiting their opponents to just .260 (26-of-106) from beyond the arc.

Matadors vs. Cal Poly

In a series that has matched Cal Poly and Cal State Northridge 58 times, CSUN owns a 31-27 all-time record in the series. However, Cal Poly has won the last five meetings and eight of the last nine games against Northridge. The Matadors' last victory in the series came on Mar. 1, 2007, a 67-60 victory at The Matadome. CSUN has not won in San Luis Obispo since the 2005 season, an 83-81 double-overtime victory on Feb. 17.

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.