Nov. 12, 2009
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
Northridge Begins New Season with Contests against Aggies, Panthers
The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team embarks upon its 2009-10 season this week, hosting a pair of non-conference games in The Matadome. First up is a meeting with New Mexico State out of the WAC on Friday, followed by a game against Prairie View A&M on Sunday afternoon. The pair of home contests represent the first time since the 2006-07 season that Northridge will open the regular season at home.
Already, the Matadors own a pair of exhibition victories in the new season. In the wins over Cal Lutheran and Westmont College, the Matadors displayed some balanced scoring from a variety of positions on the floor. At forward, sophomore Jasmine Erving averaged 18.5 points and four rebounds and at guard, Bridgette Conejo posted averages of 12 points, six rebounds and eight assists.
Also performing well in the early contests was senior Katrina Thompson, who averaged six points, seven rebounds and five assists and freshman Violet Alama pulled down an average of 11 rebounds in the two games, including a team-high 16 boards against Cal Lutheran.
Other Matadors Head Coach Staci Schulz is looking for an impact from are junior Analee Viena-Lota, Bianca Davies and Anna Simmons, sophomore Neeta SreeKanth and freshmen Janelle Nomura, Amanda Thomson and Felicia Walker. All have already shown glimpses of their capabilities, whether in the exhibition games or based upon their play from previous seasons.
The two home games are a great way for CSUN to get off on the right foot in 2009-10. Last year, the Matadors were 6-7 at The Matadome and with a total of 15 regular season games, defending home court is a must in order for the Matadors to achieve their goals in 2009-10.
Stay off the Train Tracks
Senior Katrina Thompson begins her final season at Northridge primed to showcase her rebounding, defensive and post skills to the Matadors' opponents. In her junior season, Thompson posted a career-high 7.2 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, finishing eighth in the league in rebounding average. She also recorded 61 steals, an average of 1.97 per game, which ranked fourth in the conference. Thompson also recorded the first four double-doubles of her career in her junior campaign, recording the feat in four-straight games against league opponents. Finally, she tied a career high with 18 points in the Matadors' Big West Tournament victory over UC Davis.
CSUN's Very Own Dr. J
Sophomore Jasmine Erving earned a spot on the All-Big West Freshman Team after averaging 8.9 points and 5.6 rebounds per game in her rookie season with the Matadors. She also led CSUN with 33 blocked shots and was second on the team with 162 total rebounds. A year older, Erving will be counted upon to provide scoring in the paint for Northridge after she averaged 18.5 ppg in the Matadors' two exhibition contests.
Junior Analee Viena-Lota looks to be more of a scoring threat for the Matadors in her third season after averaging 6.5 points and 4.2 rebounds in her sophomore season. Viena-Lota came through big in the Big West Tournament, tying a career high with 21 points in the Matadors' victory over UC Davis. In the win over the Aggies, she also knocked down a career-high eight free throws.
Conejo Brings More than Lucky Feet to CSUN
Sophomore Bridgette Conejo has already turned some heads with her play in her second season with CSUN. In the Matadors' exhibition victory over Westmont College, Conejo just missed a triple-double, finishing with nine points, nine rebounds and 10 assists. In her freshman year, she averaged 4.2 points and 3.2 rebounds per game, numbers she expects to raise substantially in 2009-10.
Its a Brand New Davies
Junior Bianca Davies burst out of the gate quickly in the 2009-10 season, scoring a team-high 18 points in the Matadors' exhibition victory over Cal Lutheran. Davies was 7-of-9 from the field and also hit a pair of 3-pointers in the win. After averaging just 2.2 points and 1.2 rebounds in 2008-09, Davies expects to see more time on the perimeter and worked tirelessly over the summer to improve her jump shot and driving abilities.
Roses are Red, Violets are Blue...
Freshman Violet Alama led the Matadors in rebounding during the two exhibition games. Alama grabbed a total of 22 rebounds in the two contests, including a game-high 16 boards against Cal Lutheran. She also registered three blocks against CLU and will be counted upon early and often for CSUN.