Matadors Open Second Half of League Play at Home against UC Riverside, Long Beach State

Feb. 3, 2010

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

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Northridge faces Highlanders, 49ers in Pivotal Big West Clashes

The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (3-15, 1-7 BWC) opens the second half of its Big West Conference schedule with a pair of home contests, hosting UC Riverside on Thursday and Long Beach State on Saturday. The Matadors remain tied for eighth in the league standings with Pacific, and this week's games present a prime opportunity for the Matadors to create some separation from the Tigers.

Despite having lost nine of their past 10 games, confidence remains high for the Matadors and they have statistics to back them up. CSUN ranks second in the Big West in field goal percentage defense, limiting to opponents to just 39.7 percent shooting from the field. The Matadors also rank second in the league in both 3-point shooting at 35.4 percent and in rebounding offense at 38.7 boards per game.

Individually, several Matadors find themselves ranked among the Top 10 in multiple categories. In her final season at Northridge, Katrina Thompson ranks ninth in rebounding (5.9 rpg), seventh in assists (3.3 apg), second in 3-point shooting (46.2 percent) and sixth in steals (2.0 spg). Bridgette Conejo checks in at 10th in scoring (12.6 ppg), 10th in 3-point shooting (37.7 percent) and 10th in 3-point FGs (1.4 per game). Finally, Jasmine Erving checks in at fifth in scoring (13.0 ppg) and second in blocks (1.4 bpg).

Now CSUN opens a three-game homestand with a pair of Big West Conference games, starting with a visit from UC Riverside on Thursday The Highlanders are 8-13 on the season, having defeated Northridge, 74-61, on Jan. 14. The 49ers and Matadors will meet for the second time in 10 days Saturday, after LBSU posted a 65-49 victory over CSUN at The Walter Pyramid on Jan. 28.

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 Highlander enter Thursday's contest having won five of their past six games and sport an 8-12 overall record and 4-3 mark in the Big West Conference. They sport a 6-4 mark at home, but are just 2-9 on the road.

Rhaya Neabors leads the team in scoring at 12.9 points, while Alyssa Morris checks in at 12.7 points and Marissa Rivera averages 11.3 points. Morris is the team's top rebounder at 6.2 rpg, while Rheya Neabors, Rhaya's twin sister, leads the team in assists with 99 on the year, an average of 4.7 per game.

As a team, UCR shoots 41.9 percent from the field and 30.2 percent from the free throw line. The Highlanders average 35 rebounds and 15 assists per game, but own a 0.8 assist-to-turnover ratio thanks to 374 turnovers on the year. UC Riverside checks in at last in the conference in 3-point defense, allowing opponents to connect at a rate of 36.7 percent.

The Matadors and Highlanders meet for the second time this season, a few weeks after a 74-61 UCR victory on Jan. 14. Rhaya Neabors and Marissa Rivera each had 21 points and the Highlanders forced 21 turnovers. Since that victory, UC Riverside has won four of five, falling only to league-leading UC Davis. UCR now owns a 23-22 advantage in the all-time series, having won the last six meetings in the series.

Scouting Long Beach State

Long Beach State travels up the 405 to face Northridge in The Matadome on Saturday, bringing an 8-12 overall record and 4-3 mark in the Big West Conference. The 49ers are just 1-7 on the road this season, their lone win away from The Walter Pyramid at UC Santa Barbara.

Karina Figueroa leads the 49ers in scoring at 17 points per game, the second-highest average in the league. She also leads the league with 117 assists, an average of 5.9 per game. Lauren Sims averages 12.6 points and has made 47 3-pointers on the year. Ally Wade is the third Long Beach player averaging double-figures, scoring 11.2 ppg.

As a team, LBSU shoots 41.2 percent from the field and 35.6 percent from 3-point range, the second-highest rate in the league. The 49ers average 36.7 rebounds and 13.6 assists per contest, though they turn the ball over at a rate of 17.2 per game.

The 49ers took a 65-49 victory over Cal State Northridge on Jan. 28, jumping out to a 43-16 halftime advantage in the contest. Ally Wade scored a game-high 21 points and Karina Figueroa added 10 points, four rebounds, seven assists and three steals for LBSU in the game. Long Beach is now 30-11 in the all-time series between the two schools, though CSUN won the last game at The Matadome, 88-84 in overtime.

Bombs Away

The Matadors enter the week ranked third in the league and 54th in the nation in 3-point percentage at 35.4 percent. Katrina Thompson checks in at second in the Big West at 46.2 percent, having hit 18-of-39 attempts. That mark ranks among the top percentages in school history for a single year and has vaulted Thompson into the career percentage ranks in school history. Bridgette Conejo has been especially lethal from downtown since the start of conference play. After tying a school record with seven treys against Prairie View A&M, Conejo is 6-of-10 from downtown in the Matadors' last two games and leads the team with 23 3-pointers on the season.

Stay Off the Train Tracks

In her final season with the Matadors, senior Katrina Thompson is now averaging a career-high 9.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists after finishing with seven points, seven rebounds and five assists at UC Santa Barbara. She recorded her fifth career double-double in the Matadors' victory over Cal State Fullerton, finishing with a season-high 17 points and 14 rebounds.

Thompson has added a lethal 3-point shot this year, ranking second the Big West at 46.2 percent (18-of-39). She entered the year having hit only one career 3-pointer. Against Big West foes, Thompson is averaging 10.6 points and 7.8 rebounds. Among Big West players, she ranks ninth in rebounding and sixth in steals at 2.0.

CSUN's Own Dr. J

Sophomore Jasmine Erving continues to lead the Matadors in scoring, averaging 13.4 ppg, the fifth-highest average in the league. She also stands at 13th in the Big West at 5.4 rebounds per game. With 24 blocks on the season, Erving ranks second in the conference and 102nd in the nation at 1.4 bpg and eighth in school history with 57 career rejections.

Conejo Brings More than Lucky Feet to CSUN

Sophomore Bridgette Conejo led Northridge with 17 points at UC Santa Barbara, increasing her scoring average to 12.6 points, the 10th-highest figure in the Big West Conference. She also ranks 11th in the league in rebounding at 5.6 per game and leads the team with 23 3-pointers on the season. Her 37.7 3-point percentage ranks 10th in the Big West and she leads the team at 32.2 minutes per game.

CSUN's Flyin Hawaiian

Freshman Janelle Nomura has shown a knack for getting to the free throw line this season, leading the Matadors in attempts (82), completions (64) and percentage (.780). That percentage ranks eighth in the league and she also ranks ninth in assists at 3.3 per game. For the year, she is averaging 8.1 points and 3.6 rebounds.

Roses are Blue, Violets are Red...

Freshman Violet Alama continues to be an effective rebounder and shot blocker in her first season with the Matadors. For the year, she is averaging 4.9 rebounds for the year and has 88 boards, the fourth-most on the team. In conference play, her average 5.6 per contest, the 10th-highest figure among league players. She also has 21 blocked shots on the season, an average of 1.4 per game, the fourth-highest average in the league.

Matadors vs. UC Riverside

The Matadors and Highlanders meet for the second time this season, a few weeks after a 74-61 UCR victory on Jan. 14. Rhaya Neabors and Marissa Rivera each had 21 points and the Highlanders forced 21 turnovers. Since that victory, UC Riverside has won four of five, falling only to league-leading UC Davis. UCR now owns a 23-22 advantage in the all-time series, having won the last six meetings in the series.

Matadors vs. Long Beach State

The 49ers took a 65-49 victory over Cal State Northridge on Jan. 28, jumping out to a 43-16 halftime advantage in the contest. Ally Wade scored a game-high 21 points and Karina Figueroa added 10 points, four rebounds, seven assists and three steals for LBSU in the game. Long Beach is now 30-11 in the all-time series between the two schools, though CSUN won the last game at The Matadome, 88-84 in overtime.