February 21, 2011

Final Season Roadtrip Takes Northridge to Bakersfield, UC Santa Barbara

Feb. 21, 2011

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

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Matadors Face Roadrunners, Gauchos in Tough Road Tests

The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (4-22. 4-9) continues its march towards a berth in the Big West Tournament with a pair of road games this week. First, the Matadors will take a break from the league slate to face Cal State Bakersfield on Wednesday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. Then on Feb. 26, CSUN resumes its league schedule with a road game at UC Santa Barbara at 2 p.m.

Northridge enters the week with its tails up, having won three of its past four games. In their only game last week, the Matadors stunned league-leading Cal Poly, 68-65, on Feb. 17. Senior Janet Alvarado scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to post her first career double-double. Amanda Thomson added 14 points and tied a career high with four 3-pointers. Finally, Violet Alama recorded her second-consecutive double-double, finishing with 14 points and 11 rebounds in the win.

At 4-9 in the Big West standings, CSUN is currently tied with Pacific for eighth place. However, the Matadors defeated the Tigers, 74-68 in overtime, on Dec. 31 in Stockton and therefore own the tiebreaker with the Tigers. Further strengthening the Matadors' chances for a spot in the Big West Tournament is that the Matadors' win over Cal Poly stands as a powerful tiebreaker should any two teams split their season series because the best win in the league is the next tiebreaker used to determine seeding.

This week, Northridge faces a pair of tough road tests. Cal State Bakersfield and UC Santa Barbara both bring good records into the game and possess multiple threats on both offense and defense. While the game with the Roadrunners offers little in terms of its impact on the season, it will help prepare the Matadors for a test at UC Santa Barbara, who will also be celebrating their senior class in their home finale.

Alvarado Knows Basketball

Senior Janet Alvarado produced her best game in Matadors uniform in CSUN's win over Cal Poly. She set new season highs with 16 points, 10 rebounds, six field goals and three 3-pointers. The double-double, which came in 35 minutes off the bench, was the first of her career. Alvarado joined the Matadors late after completing her second season as a member of the Cal State Northridge women's volleyball team. She is averaging 3.2 points and 3.5 rebounds for the season.

CSUN's Dr. J

Junior Jasmine Erving added 10 points in the Matadors' win over Cal Poly. She earned Big West Player of the Week on Feb. 14 after posting a career-high 35 points in the Matadors' 71-65 win over Cal State Fullerton. With her 19th point in the game against the Titans, Erving also became just the ninth player in school history to reach 1,000 career points. In all, she finished 15-of-28 from the field (.536) and added eight rebound, two assists, two blocks and a steal in 35 minutes of action against Fullerton. Erving now stands at 1,026 points in her two-plus seasons at Cal State Northridge, an average of 12.5 points per game.

For the season, Erving is averaging a career-high 15.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Those averages ranks fourth and fifth in the conference, respectively. In league games, those averages jump to 18.4 ppg and 7.8 rpg. Only a junior, Erving has already left an indelible mark in the Matadors' record books. She now ranks ninth in career points (1,026), sixth in career field goals (414) and third in career blocked shots (100).

Climbing the Charts with Hawaiian Punch

Senior Analee Viena-Lota continues to leave an imprint in the record books at Cal State Northridge during her final season. She is now averaging a career-high 8.2 points and 5.8 rebounds on the season. In the Matadors' record books, Viena-Lota ranks seventh in career rebounds (537), fifth in career minutes (2,714) and fifth in career starts (81). She added 13 points and tied a career high with three 3-pointers in the Matadors' win against the UC Irvine Anteaters. Viena-Lota posted her eighth career double-double in the Matadors' loss to UC Santa Barbara, finishing with 10 points and 10 rebounds. She had a career-high 16 rebounds, tied for the fourth-most by a Big West individual in the 2010-11 season, against Oregon State.

Roses are Blue, Violets are Matador Red

Sophomore Violet Alama posted her second-straight double-double by finishing with 14 points and 11 rebounds in CSUN's win over Cal Poly. In CSUN's win over Cal State Fullerton, Alama just missed a triple-double by recording 17 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high eight assists. She has led the Matadors in scoring, including a career-high 32 points against Eastern Michigan in her return home to Hawai'i, on six occasions and in rebounding six times. For the season, Alama is averaging 11.1 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. She ranks sixth in the Big West in free throw percentage (.806; 83-of-103) and 14th in rebounding.

Haley's Comet

Freshman Haley White dished out seven assists in the Matadors' win over Cal Poly. She now stands at third in the Big West Conference with 97 assists for the season, an average of 3.7 per game. She had a huge offensive game for CSUN in its win at UC Irvine. Against the Anteaters, White set new season highs for points (17), field goals (6) and 3-pointers (4). White also ranks seventh in the Big West in steals, having recorded 45 thefts for an average of 1.7 per game. She had a season-high 10 assists to just one turnover in the Matadors' overtime win at Pacific. For the season, White is also averaging 4.8 points and 3.3 rebounds.

Seattle's Finest

Sophomore Amanda Thomson tied a career high with four 3-pointers in the Matadors' win over Cal Poly. She finished with 14 points in 19 minutes against the Mustangs. She has not wasted any time since returning the Matadors' rotation in mid-January after missing time due to injury. Against UCSB on Jan. 29, her first game in a month, Thomson scored a team-high 13 points in just 19 minutes off the bench. She is now averaging 6.9 points while shooting 42.4 percent (42-of-99) from the field. In Big West games, Thomson is averaging 8.5 ppg and 2.3 rpg.

Scouting Cal State Bakersfield

In their final non-conference game of the season, the Matadors travel through the Grapevine to face Cal State Bakersfield on Wednesday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. The Roadrunners are 16-11 overall, having defeated Longwood last week, 78-70. Amber Williams is averaging a team-high 14.2 points, while three other players (Britney McGee, Kristine Herman and Tyonna Outland) are also scoring in double-figures. The Roadrunners have won the past two meetings with CSUN, though the last time the Matadors played in Bakersfield, they escaped with a 73-72 win in their only victory in the 2007-08 season.

Scouting UC Santa Barbara

On Feb. 26, Northridge travels up the coast to face UC Santa Barbara in the Gauchos' home finale. UCSB posted a 71-48 victory over Northridge on Jan. 29 to increase their streak to eight-straight games in the series between the two schools. Mekia Valentine is coming off a pair of double-doubles in UCSB's games last week, earning Big West Player of the Week honors. The Gauchos have won four games in a row and now stand at 9-4 in the league, just one game behind Cal Poly for the regular season title. Those two teams will meet on Mar. 6 in San Luis Obispo. Before hosting the Matadors, UCSB will entertain Long Beach State for a game at The Thunderdome on Feb. 24.

Recapping Last Week

The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team picked up a 68-65 win over league-leading Cal Poly in its only game last week. Senior Janet Alvarado turned in a career-high 16 points and 10 rebounds en route to her first career double-double. She shot 6-of-11 from the field, including 3-of-4 from three-point territory, and had two blocks in 35 minutes off the bench to lead the way for Northridge. In all, the Matadors had four players score in double figures, including sophomore Amanda Thomson (14 points, 4-of-5 three-pointers), sophomore Violet Alama (14 points, 6-of-7 free throws) and junior Jasmine Erving (10 points and three rebounds). Alama added 11 rebounds to earn her fourth career double-double. Thomson scored nine of her 14 points in the second half, all on three-pointers. She made back-to-back shots from long distance to tie the score at 63-all with 1:43 left in the game. Alama scored the final five points in the last minute of regulation for the Matadors to complete her double-double and seal the victory.

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