Nov. 29, 2008
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
The Cal State Northridge women's basketball renews a rivalry with UCLA Sunday at 2 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion. Despite losing both games in The Great Alaska Shootout, the Matadors played their best game of the season against Jackson State, scoring a season-high 65 points and leading at the half for the first time this season.
Senior Whitney Ligon scored a season-high 17 points against the Lady Tigers to lead four different Northridge players in double-figures. Another senior Ashley Blake also scored a season high against Jackson State, coming off the bench to score 14 points and tie a career high with four 3-pointers. Ligon is now second on the team with an average of 7.8 points per game while Blake is averaging 5.2 points per game.
Junior Kayla Rutherford recorded her second double-figure scoring performance of the season against Jackson State, starting the game and finishing with 11 points. Finally, freshman Neeta Sreekanth had her second-straight 10 point game against Jackson State and hit a season-high six free throws.
Rutherford is averaging 6.8 points per game and lead the team with 11 free throws on the season. Sreekanth saw her season averages jump to 5.5 points per game and 2.5 rebounds per game. Sreekanth also showed a knack for stepping out and hitting deep shots, connecting on two 3-pointers against Alaska-Anchorage on Nov. 25.
Senior Tonicia Tademy continues to play a multi-faceted role for Northridge and head coach Staci Schulz. After pulling down a career-high nine rebounds and dishing out seven assists against Jackson State, Tademy is averaging 5.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists per contest through six games.
Northridge is averaging 55.3 points per game and shooting 35.2 percent from the field. The Matadors are averaging 34.8 rebounds per game and are now shooting 60 percent from the free throw line. CSUN played its best first half of the season against Jackson State, leading at the break, 33-29. Still, they need to show that consistently, as they have been outscored, 204-134, in the first half of its six games.
The UCLA Bruins are Sunday's opponent for Northridge. UCLA is 3-1 on the season after defeating Big West member Cal Poly, 57-48, in San Luis Obispo, Calif., on Nov. 26. Against the Mustangs, Nina Earl led the team with 12 points while four players (Tierra Henderson, Chnyere Ibekwe, Moniquee Alexander and Darxia Morris) all had at least six points in the victory.
Doreena Campbell leads the team averaging 11.3 points per game. She is shooting 33.3 percent from the field and is also pulling down 4.2 rebounds per contest. Ibekwe is the next leading scorer at 9.5 points per game and she is also averaging a team-best 11.5 rebounds per game.
With Ibekwe, the Bruins are out-rebounding their opponents by an average of 47.5-29.0. They have more than double the number of offensive rebounds as their opponents (78-36) and are shooting 39.5 percent from the field. However, their assist-to-turnover ratio currently stands at 47 to 90 or one assist to two turnovers.
Nikki Caldwell is in her first season as the head coach at UCLA, coming to the bench after spending time as an assistant coach at Tennessee. The Bruins are 8-0 all-time against Cal State Northridge, winning the last meeting, 81-69, on Nov. 14, 2007 in Northridge.
Following the game against UCLA, the Matadors get some much needed rest, not returning to the hardwood until a Dec. 7 meeting with San Jose State at The Matadome scheduled for a 7 p.m. tip-off.