Northridge Meets UC Riverside for Valentine's Day Showdown

Feb. 13, 2009

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

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Matadors Look to Crash Highalnders' Valentines Day Festivities

The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (5-17, 2-7 BWC) hopes to spoil the Valentine's Day of the UC Riverside Highlanders Saturday when the two teams meet in a Big West Conference contest. The Highlanders currently stand at 14-9 overall and are second in place in the league with a 9-1 record. In the first meeting between the schools this season, UCR took a 72-62 decision at The Matadome on Jan. 14. In that game, senior Tonicia Tademy set a new career high with 24 points while fellow senior Whitney Ligon added 19 for the Matadors.

Scouting UC Riverside

Currently residing in second place with a 9-1 record in league play, UC Riverside hosts Northridge in a Valentine's Day contest at 5 p.m. The Highlanders defeated Cal State Bakersfield, 79-69, Wednesday night in a non-conference game. Kemie Nkele led UCR with 22 points and 13 rebounds and also had six assists and five blocks against the Runners.

For the season, Nkele leads the team and is second in the league with an average of 17.5 points per game. She is also second in the league in rebounding at 7.9 per game and second in the league with 36 blocked shots. Seyram Gbewonyo is the other UCR player averaging in double-figures at 10.7 points per game.

As a team, UCR is shooting 40.2 percent from the field, a rate that has stayed pretty consistent in Big West play, where it is shooting 40.4 percent. The Highlanders average 34.4 rebounds and 13.6 assists per game compared to 15 turnovers. UCR is on a none-game winning streak and has won 11 of its last 12.

In the team's first meeting of the season, UCR defeated Northridge, 72-62, at The Matadome on Jan. 14. Nkele had 32 points and 12 rebounds in the win. For Northridge, senior Tonicia Tademy led the Matadors with a career-high 24 points. CSUN owns a 22-21 record in the all-time series between the schools, though Riverside has won the past four meetings.

Matadors Among Top Turnarounds in Country

Having already won five games in the 2008-09 season, the Cal State Northridge women's basketball team is now tied for 17th in Division I with a four-game improvement from last year. The Matadors are tied with Bradley, Auburn, Miami (FL), Alabama and Colgate.

Tademy among National and Conference Leaders

Not only did she set a school record with her 144 assists, senior Tonicia Tademy leads the Big West with an average of 6.5 assists-per-game after posting her fourth double-figure assist game of the season with a career-high 12 against UC Santa Barbara. She ranks fifth in the nation at 6.5 apg as of Feb. 8.

Li-Gon Me When you're not strong

Senior Whitney Ligon continues to lead the Matadors in scoring at 11.9 ppg, which ranks ninth in the Big West Conference. In the Matadors' conference wins, she scored a season-high 28 points at Fullerton and had 23 against Long Beach State. Ligon is seventh in school history with 71 career treys and has shot 35.7 percent (15-of-42) from 3-point range in the nine league games. She is also second in free throw shooting on the team at .760 which ranks seventh in the Big West Conference. She is sixth in the conference with an average of 14.1 ppg in CSUN's nine BWC contests.

Dishing it out for T-Time

One season removed from a conference-best 4.7 assists-per-game, senior Tonicia Tademy has improved her distributing skills, averaging 6.5 apg to again lead the league. She now owns the school record for assists in a single season with 144 and her 12 assists against Cal Poly tied for the second-best performance in school history for a single game. Her 1.57 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks 57th in the nation as of Feb. 8 and leads the Big West Conference. She is also averaging a career-high 6.7 points.

Stay off the Train Tracks

Junior Katrina Thompson has now scored in double-figures in six-straight games, including a career-high 18 points in a 68-61 loss to Cal Poly. She also set a new career mark with nine field goals and added six rebounds. and four steals against the Mustangs. This performance came after she picked up her four-straight double-doubles from Jan. 17 to Jan. 28. In CSUN's two league wins, Thompson had 10 points and 15 rebounds at Fullerton and against LBSU, Thompson had a then career-high 15 points and 14 rebounds. She is now averaging career highs in minutes (26.8), points (7.2) and rebounds (6.4) per game. She ranks seventh in the league in rebounding and is third in steals (2.1).

CSUN's Very Own Dr. J

Freshman Jasmine Erving has quickly made an impact in the Big West Conference. She led CSUN with 14 points and nine rebounds at LBSU. She also had her third double-double of the season against Cal Poly, finishing with 10 points and 10 rebounds. In the win at Fullerton, she finished with 24 points and added a team-high 25 points and 11 rebounds for her second career double-double against Long Beach State. She currently is averaging 9.8 points and 5.9 rebounds per game and leads the team with 27 blocks and with a .468 field goal percentage (87-of-186). The rookie now ranks fourth in the Big West in field goal percentage and blocks and ninth in rebounding.

She's Blake!

Senior Ashley Blake has knocked down five 3-pointers in the past two games to give her 79 for her career, the sixth-most in school history. At UC Irvine, Blake knocked down a career-high five treys. She ranks fourth in the conference in 3-pointers at 1.6 per game. She leads also leads the team with 36 treys on the season and is averaging 8.3 points, a new career high, and 2.2 assists and 2.0 rebounds.

Conejo Brings More than Lucky Feet to Matadors

Freshman Bridgette Conejo has played an important role for Northridge in during her rookie season. She has appeared in 21 games, making three starts and averaging 4.5 points. She has become a more offensive threat since the start of league play. Against Big West opponents, she has shot 50 percent from 3-point range and 31.7 percent from the field.

Hawaiian Punch

Sophomore Analee Viena-Lota (Honolulu, HI) will be counted upon to provide the Matadors with energy, rebounding and defense against UC Riverside. In CSUN's last game, she added six points, four rebounds and two blocks off the bench at Long Beach State.

Matadors sign four Recruits to begin play in 2009-10 season

Head Coach Staci Schulz announced on Nov. 26 that the Matadors had signed four high school seniors to National Letters of Intent. Violet Alama (Kalani HS/Honolulu, Hawai'i), Felicia Walker (McClymonds HS/Oakland, Calif.), Amanda Thomson (Auburn Riverside HS/Auburn Riverside, Wash.) and Janelle Nomura (Punahou HS/Honolulu, Hawai'i) will all play their college basketball at Cal State Northridge beginning in the 2009-10 season.

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