Northridge Opens 2007-08 Season Friday with Exhibition against Cal Poly Pomona


Northridge Opens 2007-08 Season Friday with Exhibition against Cal Poly Pomona
NORTHRIDGE, CALIF. --- The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team opens its 2007-08 schedule with an exhibition contest Friday night at the Matadome against Cal Poly Pomona at 7 p.m. Although the team lost several key contributors from last year's squad that finished third in the Big West Conference, optimism abounds among the team as they work to find the right blend of returning players and newcomers.

Head coach Staci Schulz returns for third year at the helm of the Matador program. Last season under Schulz, the Matadors posted a 13-16 overall record and a 9-5 finish in the Big West Conference. During the offseason, Schulz also added two new assistant coaches to her staff, Abby Vaughan and Cory O'Dell.

One area less affected by the departures is up front, where the Matadors welcome the return of senior Katie Holloway, the two-time defending Big West Sixth Woman of the Year Award winner. In 19 appearances last season, Holloway averaged 8.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. In addition to the Sixth Woman Award, Holloway was named a Big West Honorable Mention for her performance.

Joining Holloway up front will be junior Crystal Hahs, an athletic player who set a new single-game school record when she recorded seven blocks against Pacific on Dec. 30, 2006. Another returning upperclassman is junior Ashley Blake, a combo guard who appeared in 28 games last season, making 10 starts and averaging 4.0 points per game.

The Matadors also return four sophomores who saw limited action last season, yet are poised to assume a great role on the team. Guards Katrina Thompson and Shanice Howard and forwards Morgan Pryor and Tinisha Patrick all will be relied upon by Schulz and her staff throughout the season.

Among the six newcomers to the squad, junior transfers Whitney Ligon and Tonicia Tademy bring invaluable experience from their days competing at Santa Ana Community College and Mt. San Antonio, respectively. Freshmen Lyneeka Boyd, Charise Hall, Analee Viena-Lota and Bianca Davies are all part of a highly touted recruiting class that enters its first season of intercollegiate action.

Cal Poly Pomona enters Friday's contest after finishing 9-17 last season. Senior Vanessa Dominguez averaged a team-high 11.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game last season and senior Ashley Moody was second on the team with an average of 11.2 points and 3.5 rebounds. The team is coached by Scott Davis, who begins his first season at the helm of the Broncos' program.

Following the game against the Broncos, Northridge will host The Master's College in an exhibition contest at the Matadome on Nov. 6 at 6:05 p.m. Following the women's game, the Northridge men's basketball will play an exhibition contest also against The Master's College.

Northridge tips off the regular season on Nov. 9, when it heads to the University of San Diego to square off against the Toreros. Tip off is slated for 7 p.m. The Matadors' home opener will be on Nov. 14 when they host cross-town rival UCLA at 7:00 p.m.