March 1, 2011
On the verge of playing the final two home games of her career, senior forward Analee Viena-Lota sat down with GoMatadors.com to reflect upon her four seasons at Cal State Northridge.
While there certainly have been both good and bad times in her career, Viena-Lota is leaving CSUN with a degree in Recreation and Tourism Management and having left an indelible mark on the Northridge record books. Entering her final two home games, she ranks among the Matadors' career leaders in minutes played, starts and rebounds.
How does it feel to be on the verge of your final two home games?
"It is both exciting and nerve-wracking. To think that it's my last two games, to me, that's crazy. It's hard to believe I've been here for four years. I can still remember when I did a Matador Minute as a freshman like it was yesterday. Time certainly does fly, especially your last year... It seems like it has gone by super-fast."
What have been some of your favorite moments as a member of the Women's Hoops Team?
"For me, being part of the team and listening to music and goofing around in the locker room are some of my favorite memories. All the different road trips were exciting because I got to go and experience parts of the country I never thought I would visit. Mostly, I think my best memories are being around the team and being with my friends all the time."
"On the court, I would say my favorite moment would be when we beat UC Davis in the Big West Tournament my sophomore season. It seemed like people didn't really think we were going to make it and then to do so and beat a good team in the quarterfinals was a shock to a lot of people."
How has your senior season gone thus far?
"It has been different and there have been a lot of things I have had to adjust to, especially having new coach for my last season. I've been playing point guard recently and that's much different than what I was used to because I had never had to play that in college. Ultimately, I like Coach Flowers and the direction he has the program headed, even if I could only be a part of it for one year."
What was the trip back to Hawai'i earlier in the season like for you?
The trip was a lot of fun. I got to show my teammates around and experience the culture. It was also great to get the opportunity to play in front of my family and friends in my hometown. I don't always get to see them, so that was a special memory for me. As far as Hawai'i joining the Big West Conference, I only wish they had joined when I was freshman. Still, the other two Hawaiian girls will get a chance to go back and I think it will give more exposure to our campus and to get more Hawaiian student-athletes opportunities to explore chances to compete throughout the nation.
As one of the top rebounders in school history, what does it take to be a good rebounder?
"Ultimately, it is the desire to go after the ball. You really have to want it and not care what's in the way. Boxing out is a big part of it, something I work on every day in practice. Against Oregon State, when I grabbed 16 rebounds, I went into a mode. I grabbed every ball I could and would not let anything stop me, whether it fell into my lap or I had to run someone over."
What are your thoughts on the week ahead?
"It's a big week for us. We need to get both wins to secure our spot in the big West tournament. It's our last two games in league and we want to end it on a good note and get ready for the tournament."
How has it been playing with this group of seniors?
"Bianca Davies and I have been together for four years and we have developed a strong friendship. With her and all the injuries she has had to overcome just to be at this moment is inspiring. It is certainly great to finish with someone I started with. Anna Simmons has been a great teammate for two years Janet Alvarado, while only on the team for this season, is great to have around and easy to get along with."
Finally, what role has your family played in your career as a student-athlete at Northridge?
"Looking back on these four years has shown me that no matter what the distance between us, I knew they would always support and love me. They are very proud of me and I am proud to have represented them so well over my four years at CSUN. I love them very much and am very excited to get a few more opportunities to play in front of them. My parents and grandparents are coming out Thursday and get to catch our two last home games. "