March 3, 2009

Matadors' Playoff Hopes Come Down to Final Games against UC Davis, Pacific

March 3, 2009

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

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It All Comes down to This Week for Northridge

Two games left on the docket leave CSUN (3-11) two opportunities to pass UC Irvine (3-12) and Long Beach State (4-10) for a berth in the Big West Tournament, which starts on Mar. 11. The Matadors, who are 5-6 at home this season, host UC Davis (3/4; 7 p.m.) and Pacific (3/7; 4 p.m.) for their final two regular season contests of the season.

Simply put, Northridge must finish with more wins than UC Irvine or in the event of a tie with Long Beach State, the outcome would not be determined until all the week's games are concluded. Long Beach hosts Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara while the Anteaters face Cal State Fullerton. The Matadors won their last home game, 78-67, against Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 24.

Northridge is 5-6 at The Matadome this season and must now defend home court in order to punch its ticket into postseason. Head coach Staci Schulz and staff are determined to get the Matadors to Anaheim and the team's three graduating seniors want to play in that event one final time. All that stands in the way are the Aggies and Tigers.

Upcoming promotions

On Mar. 7, the Matadors will try to set a new attendance record in the "Pack the House Challenge" and will honor its three graduating seniors: Ashley Blake, Whitney Ligon and Tonicia Tademy. The three will be honored in a post-game ceremony for their service to the university.

Matadors Among Top Turnarounds in Country

Having now won six games in the 2008-09 season, the Cal State Northridge women's basketball team is now tied for 29th in Division I for best turnarounds. The Matadors are tied with 14 other schools for the distinction. Central Connecticut St. has increased its wins from 4 last year to 17 this year to lead the nation.

Tademy Among National and Conference Leaders

Senior Tonicia Tademy has had quite a successful season, setting a school record with her 182 assists. Her average of 6.7 assists per game and 1.58 assist-to-turnover ratio both lead the Big West Conference and rank fifth and 53rd in the nation, respectively. She is also averaging a career-high 6.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per game this season. She has reached double-figures in assists five times this season and recorded her first two career double-doubles this season: 11 points, 11 assists vs. Columbia (12/28/08) and 10 rebounds, 10 assists vs. Fullerton (2/21/08).

Li-Gon Me When You're Not Strong

Senior Whitney Ligon continues to lead the Matadors in scoring at 11.0 ppg. Ligon has hit 30 3-pointers this season, giving her 75 since arriving at Northridge before last season. She is also one of the team's top free throw shooter, hitting 83-of-110 attempts on the season (.755).

Stay off the train tracks

Junior Katrina Thompson has made quite an argument to league coaches for consideration on the All-Big West Team. She is averaging a career-high 7.3 points and 6.3 rebounds, numbers that improve to 9.6 points and 7.5 rebounds in Big West Conference play. She had her first four career double-doubles over a four-game stretch in league play and also has a team-high 52 steals.

CSUN's Very Own Dr. J

Freshman Jasmine Erving has already established herself as one of the conference's top post players, averaging 9.5 points and 6.0 rebounds, figures that jump to 10.4 and 6.7 in league play. She is shooting a team-high .446 from the field and also leads the team with 32 blocked shots.

Blake's Bombs Boast Big Bangs

With only a handful of games left in her career, senior Ashley Blake continues to be the Matadors' most consistent long-range threat. She leads the team with a career-high 46 3-pointers, tied for the sixth-most in school history. She is also shooting 77.4 percent from the free throw line to average a career-high 8.3 points. Blake ranks sixth in school history with 89 career 3-pointers.

Matadors Sign four Recruits to begin play in 2009-10 Season

Head Coach Staci Schulz has announced 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.

Scouting UC Davis

UC Davis makes its second trip to The Matadome as a member of the Big West Conference Wednesday for a 7 p.m. game. The Aggies won the first meeting between the squads earlier this season, defeating Northridge, 86-66. Ashley Blake led four Matadors in double-figures with 19 points.

At 10-17 and 6-9 in the conference, UC Davis stands in fifth place with the Matadors the final opponent on the schedule. Paige Mintun leads the team in scoring (12.8), rebounds (6.2), assists (2.5) and free throw percentage (.802). She had 25 points and 10 rebounds against CSUN earlier this season.

As a team, UCD is shooting 41.7 percent from the field for the season, a figure that ranks second in the conference. However, the Aggies average only 31.9 rebounds per game, the league's lowest figure. They are 5-9 on the road this season, including a 3-4 mark in league play. Sandy Simpson is in his 11th season as the head coach at UC Davis.

Scouting Pacific

The Pacific Tigers visit The Matadome Saturday for senior day, playing the Matadors in a 4 p.m. contest. Pacific escaped with a 63-58 victory in the team's earlier meeting this season. Tonicia Tademy had a team-high 17 points, six assists and seven steals in the defeat.

Having clinched a fourth-place finish in the Big West Conference, Pacific stands at 14-13 overall and 8-7 in conference. The Tigers lost 58-39 to UC Davis on Feb. 28 in their last game. Amber Simmons leads the team at 16.6 points and also pulls down 6.7 rebounds. Janae Young is averaging 11.6 points and 7.8 rebounds.

As a team, the Tigers are shooting 38.4 percent from and 29.2 percent from 3-point range on the season. In conference play, those figures dip to 37.1 and 26.3 percent. Pacific averages a league-best 40.6 rebounds per game. The Tigers are 2-9 away from Stockton on the season.

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