Northridge Hosts League Leading UC Santa Barbara Wednesday at The Matadome

Jan. 26, 2009

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

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The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (5-14, 2-4 BWC) welcomes league-leading UC Santa Barbara to The Matadome Wednesday night for a 7 p.m. contest. The Matadors will look to improve upon their 4-3 record at home by snapping the Gauchos' nine-game winning streak.

In splitting a pair of league games on the road last week, Northridge now ranks in a tie for seventh in the nation in best turnarounds from the 2007-08 season. Their four-game improvement thus far has CSUN tied with Austin Peay, Eastern Washington, Alabama, South Carolina-Upstate and Sam Houston State.

Since the start of league play, junior Katrina Thompson has quickly emerged as one of the Big West's premier post players. Thompson has now recorded her first three career double-doubles in the past three CSUN games and is averaging both 13.3 points and rebounds over those three games.

For the season, Thompson is averaging 6.3 points and 6.4 rebounds, both of which represent career highs, and has improved those numbers to 9.5 points and 9.2 rebounds in Northridge's six league games.

At the point guard position, senior Tonicia Tademy continues to provide the Matadors with outstanding play. She is averaging a conference-best 6.1 assists per game, ranking ninth in Division I, and has 116 assists for the season, which is tied for the fifth-most in school history for a single season.

Tademy has also improved her shooting, firing over 100 points better from the field this season when compared to last year (.347 to .244). She is also averaging 7.1 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.

Another pair of senior guards, Ashley Blake and Whitney Ligon, provide the Matadors with outside firepower. Blake leads the team with 31 3-pointers after hitting 5-of-7 from long distance at UC Irvine to set a new career high. She currently ranks sixth in school history with 74 career treys and is averaging a career-high 8.3 points per game. Blake also ranks 10th in the Big West Conference with a 31.6 percent rate from 3-point range.

Ligon leads the Matadors in scoring at 12.3 points-per-game and has knocked down 24 3-pointers for the season. In CSUN's six league games, Ligon is averaging a conference-best 16.7 ppg and is shooting 44.8 percent from 3-point range.

Up front, freshman Jasmine Erving has also established herself as one of the conference's best pivot players. The rookie is averaging 9.8 points and 5.6 rebounds for the season, numbers that bulge to 12.3 points and 6.5 rebounds in the six league contests. Erving ranks second in the Big West in blocks per game at 1.5 and fourth in the league in field goal percentage at .474.

League leading UC Santa Barbara pays a visit to The Matadome Wednesday night for a 7 p.m. contest. The Gauchos are currently riding at nine-game winning streak, having won all seven of their league contests. They defeated UC Davis, 64-51, and Pacific, 76-54, in action last week and their last loss came on Dec. 21, 2008 at Kentucky (69-58).

Lauren Pedersen leads the team in scoring at 12.1 points-per-game and is also the team's top distributor with 67 assists on the season. Senior Jenna Green is averaging 9.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. In league action, Sha'Rae Gibbens is posting 10.1 ppg.

On defense, the Gauchos bring the No. 1 field goal percentage defense into Wednesday's contest, limiting opponents to just a 34.1 percent clip from the field. In their seven Big West games, that number has dropped to just 29.9 percent. However, UCSB has committed 108 more turnovers than assists for the season.

Lindsay Gottleib is in her first season as the head coach of UC Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara owns a 30-11 record in the all-time series between the schools, having won the past three meetings.

Following the UC Santa Barbara game, Northridge welcomes Cal Poly into The Matadome for a Big West game Saturday. Tip-off between the Mustangs and Matadors is slated for 4 p.m.