Oct. 11, 2010
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team officially opened its 2010-11 season with the first round of team practices Monday afternoon at The Matadome. Led by new head coach Jason Flowers and his staff, the Matadors enter the season with a renewed sense of optimism.
"It's an exciting time for Northridge basketball as we put everything together and get into the full swing of things," Flowers said. "This is the start of a journey and I expect us to be entertaining on offense and to really get after at it on defense."
The Matadors don't open the season until a Nov. 17 home game against Pepperdine, but Flowers is already excited about the chemistry the team is developing. He's been more than happy with the work of his new group of assistants: Bryan Camacho, Lindsey Foster and Christine Collins-Kiernan.
"The staff has come together better than I envisioned because we all have different strengths and play off each other so well," Flowers said.
In addition to the Waves, November will be a busy time for Northridge. From Nov. 19-21, CSUN plays in the Jack in the Box Rainbow Wahine Classic on the campus of the University of Hawai'i. At the event, the Matadors will face the host Rainbow Wahine, Oregon State and Eastern Michigan.
After returning from the islands, the Matadors will then host the Woodland Hills Holiday Inn Thanksgiving Basketball Classic 2010 at The Matadome on Nov. 26 and 27. Northridge will host Tennessee-Chattanooga, Wyoming and Wichita State for a pair of contests each day. The Matadors and Shockers will meet after the Lady Mocs and Cowgirls start the festivities at 5 p.m.
"When we go to Hawai'i we are playing some tough teams, so it won't be all rest and relaxation," Flowers added. "Our tournament is a great opportunity for families and the community to come and celebrate the holidays with some good basketball."
Other games of note on the schedule in addition to the rigors of Big West play is a Dec. 8 home meeting with Washington, a Jan. 19 game at home against San Diego that is part of a doubleheader with the CSUN men's basketball program and a Feb. 12 meeting with Cal State Fullerton that will be part of the WBCA's Pink Zone initiative.
In all, CSUN returns four starters and nine letterwinners from a year ago. Jasmine Erving, a 6-3 junior, earned All-Big West Second Team honors after averaging 13.6 points and 5.5 rebounds in 2009-10. Another junior, Bridgette Conejo, averaged an even 10.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and connected on 32 3-pointers a season ago. Finally, the team's lone four-year senior, Analee Viena-Lota, enters her final season after she averaged a career-high 7.9 points and 5.4 rebounds in her junior season.
"I think fans will appreciate the effort we give and I know we'll be a fun team to watch," Flowers said.