March 5, 2012

Northridge Meets Long Beach State in Big West Tournament Quarterfinal

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No. 2 Matadors host No. 7 49ers for Place in Anaheim

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. --- The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (17-12) hosts Long Beach State in a Big West Tournament Quarterfinal Tuesday, Mar. 6 at 7 p.m. in The Matadome. Links for live stats, live audio and video will be available at GoMatadors.com. Fans are also encouraged to check the Northridge Athletic Department's official Twitter account (@GoMatadors) for in-game updates. 

Last week, Northridge defeated Cal State Fullerton 60-51 to earn second place in the final regular season Big West Conference standings. Janae Sharpe scored a game-high 19 points in the contest, including 15 in the first half, and added five rebounds. Making her 98th career start and setting a new program Division-I record, Jasmine Erving finished with 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds against the Titans. 

CSUN was well represented on the 2011-12 All-Big West Team. Sharpe was named the Freshman of the Year and earned Second Team honors, Erving received All-Big West First Team accolades and Violet Alama and Ashlee Guay were All-Big West Honorable Mention. Guay and Sharpe were named to the All-Freshman Team and Alama received Co-Sixth Woman of the Year honors. 

Now with the regular season put to bed, the madness of March invades the Big West Tournament. CSUN and LBSU will square off Tuesday for a chance to advance to the Honda Center in Anaheim. The semifinals and finals of tournament (Mar. 9-10) are at the Honda Center in Anaheim. 

Standing in the Matadors way is the Long Beach State 49ers, a team that defeated Northridge in The Matadome in double-overtime earlier this season. LBSU finished the Big West campaign with a 7-9 record and is 12-17 overall. 

CSUN's Dr. J -- All Big West First Team 

Senior Jasmine Erving enters Tuesday's game having had quite a season for the Matadors. Coming into the Big West Tournament, Erving is averaging 15.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. Both averages rank third among all Big West players and she is third in the league with an average of 1.3 blocks per game. Erving scored 12 points and had a game-high nine rebounds in the Matadors' home win over Cal State Fullerton. She earned Big West Player of the Week honors on Feb. 6 after posting two solid performances in both of CSUN's road wins. At UC Riverside, she scored 22 points, all in the second half, and added 11 rebounds as CSUN erased a 14-point deficit in toppling the Highlanders. Two days later, Erving scored a career-high 36 points on a school-record 16 field goals to go along with nine rebounds at UC Irvine. Her 12 double-doubles on the year give her 25 for her Matador career and she has scored in double-figures in 75 games. Finally, Erving cracked the 1,500 career point plateau and set the school record for career blocks during the season.

Mighty Sharpe -- Big West Freshman of the Year & All-Big West Second Team

Freshman Janae Sharpe scored a season-high 19 points for the fourth time this season in helping lead the Matadors to a home win over Cal State Fullerton. For the season, Sharpe is averaging 11.4 points per game, the second-best figure on the team and ninth among all Big West players. She is also averaging 4.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.0 steals (third in the league) per game and has scored in double-figures 17 times this season. She tied a season high for the third time when she scored 19 points, including 17 in the second half, in the home win over Pacific. Sharpe tied a season high with 19 points in the Matadors' double-overtime loss to UC Santa Barbara. Sharpe had a strong start to her Big West career, earning the league's Player of the Week after helping lead the Matadors to a pair of wins during the opening weekend of conference play. Against UC Irvine, she scored a season-high 19 points and had a season-high seven steals. Two days later, Sharpe added 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists as the Matadors defeated UC Riverside. 

A Guay with Words --- All-Big West Honorable Mention & All-Freshman Team

Freshman Ashlee Guay has set a new school record with her conference-high 89 steals this season, surpassing the previous mark of 84 set during the school's Division-II era. After finishing with four steals at Cal Poly, Guay has now had two games with seven steals, two with six and six more with at least four. She now ranks 18th among all Division I players with her steals average of 3.1 per game. The San Diego, Calif., native is also averaging 8.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and a league-leading 4.1 assists (120 in 29 starts) for the year. She tied a school Division I record when she hit seven 3-pointers in the Matadors' win over Cal Poly. Against the Mustangs, Guay hit all seven of her attempts from downtown and finished with a season-high 23 points. In fact, Guay is tied for the national mark this season for most 3-point makes without a miss. Guay also dished out a season-high nine assists in the Matadors' victory at UC Irvine. 

Violets are Matador Red - All-Big West Honorable Mention & Co-Sixth Woman of the Year

Junior Violet Alama continues to bring a strong presence off the bench for the Matadors. In the regular season finale against Cal State Fullerton, Alama produced six points, seven rebounds and four assists in 27 minutes. In the Matadors' home win over UC Davis, she had nine points, seven rebounds, four steals and two assists. Through 29 games, Alama is averaging 7.1 points and 6.0 rebounds, tied for the eighth-best average in the Big West. At UC Davis, Alama posted a season-high 19 points and 10 rebounds for her second double-double of the season. She also had a career-high five steals against the Aggies in 30 minutes. In the Matadors' win at Long Beach State, Alama posted a game-high 11 rebounds to go with six points in 20 minutes. She had nine points and a game-high 11 rebounds as the Matadors defeated UC Riverside. At Portland, she finished with 11 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals in 19 minutes. She recorded her sixth career double-double in the Matadors' victory at San Francisco, finishing with 15 points and 10 rebounds in the victory. Then in CSUN's win at LMU, she added 14 points, including two 3-pointers, and eight rebounds.

Mahl-Knechting the Dots

Freshman Camille Mahlknecht had five points, nine rebounds and three blocks in the home win over Cal State Fullerton. She added five points, seven rebounds, three assists and two blocks in the home win over UCD. For the season, the Agoura, Calif., native is averaging 5.2 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. She now has 42 blocks on the year, a 1.4 per game average that leads the Big West Conference. The 42 rejections rank fourth in school history for a single season and she needs two more to claim third for herself. Offensively, Mahlknecht has five double-figure scoring performances on the season, including a season-high 14 points and seven field goals at Oregon State. She finished with 11 points and four rebounds in 21 minutes at UC Irvine. She added 11 points and collected five rebounds with two blocked shots off the bench for CSUN in the win at Long Beach State. Mahlknecht had a season-high five blocked shots in the Matadors' victory over UC Irvine. She also brought down a season-high 13 rebounds in the Matadors' win over San Jose State and added 12 points against Fresno State. 

I'm Sorry Ms. Jackson

Junior Jianni Jackson has responded positively to a starting role for the Matadors in their past two games. She had nine points and five boards in the home win against Cal State Fullerton and finished with 12 points, four rebounds and tied a season high with three steals in the Matadors' game at Cal Poly. She tied a season high with four field goals, including a season-high two 3-pointers, against the Mustangs. Jackson scored a season-high 14 points and had seven rebounds in the Matadors' win at Pacific. For the season, she is averaging 2.9 points and 2.0 rebounds per game. 

Georgia On My Mind

Freshman Randi Friess has earned a spot in the rotation based largely on her hustle and fearlessness in crashing the boards. Originally from Savannah, Ga., Friess tied a season high with nine rebounds in the Matadors' home victory over Pacific. She also had a season-high eight points in the Matadors' win at UC Riverside and then knocked down a season-high two 3-pointers in CSUN's win at UC Irvine. For the season, Friess is averaging 2.8 points and 3.3 rebounds, including a season-high nine boards against CSU Bakersfield. One statistic that speaks to Friess' hustle is that 16 of her 20 steals have come against Big West opponents.  

Conference and National Notes

Through 29 games this season, the Matadors find themselves with some pretty impressive stats. Defensively, the Matadors are second in the conference in field goal percentage defense (.372), fourth in scoring defense (63.5 ppg) and third in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.305). Northridge leads the league and ranks 58th in the nation with an average of 4.4 blocks per game and has a league-leading 299 steals. On offense, CSUN ranks second in the Big West and 104th in the nation with a team free throw percentage of .709 (438-618). Individually, freshman Ashlee Guay leads the league with a school-record 89 steals and ranks 21st among all Division I players with an average of 3.1 per game. Guay also ranks 88th in the nation with her league-leading assist average of 4.1 per game. With 12 double-doubles, Jasmine Erving is tied for 39th in the nation among all Division I players. Erving also checks in at 97th in the nation in field goal percentage (.454), 132nd in points per game (15.3), 113th in rebounds per game (8.2) and 136th in blocks per game (1.4). 

Already a Season of Firsts

The Matadors have won 17 times in the 2011-12 season, matching the program's total win count for the previous four seasons combined. The Matadors also recorded double-figure conference wins for the first time since 2004-05 and just the fourth time in the school's Division I history. Northridge's home win over UC Davis was CSUN's first since 2007. The home win over Pacific marked the first time CSUN has swept the Tigers in the regular season series since the 2004-05 season. The Matadors picked up their first conference series sweep over UC Riverside ever and also won for the first time at the Highlanders in over six years. The Matadors' home victories over UC Irvine and UC Riverside and the road win at Long Beach State were their first since the 2006-07 season. CSUN's 30-point victory over San Jose State was the program's largest victory in over 11 years. Northridge defeated West Virginia in the championship game of the Thanksgiving Basketball Classic, the program's first win ever over a BIG EAST program. With four wins in November, the Matadors won their most games in the season's opening month since the 1998-99 season. The Matadors' win over Colgate in the Thanksgiving Basketball Classic was also the first time CSUN has won its home opener since the 2004-05 season. The Matadors' victory over San Francisco on Nov. 11 was the program's first ever against the Dons and head coach Jason Flowers' first career non-conference win. The win also marked the first time Northridge won a season opener since the 2004-05 season. CSUN's win against LMU was the program's first since 1997 and the first win at LMU since 1990. 

Scouting Long Beach State

Long Beach State enters Tuesday's quarterfinal as the No. 7 seed after finishing with a 7-9 record in the Big West Conference. The 49ers are 12-17 overall and are 2-14 on the road for the year. However, one of those two road wins came in double overtime at Cal State Northridge, 75-72, on Feb. 11, 2012 at The Matadome. Tipesa Moorer, a 5-10 senior forward, leads the 49ers in scoring at 13.3 points per game and is second on the team in rebounding at 4.7 rebounds per game. She is shooting 42.9 percent from the field, 26 percent from 3-point range and 69 percent from the free throw line. Alex Sanchez, a 5-10 freshman guard, is averaging 9.1 ppg and a team-high 4.8 rpg in 29 starts this season. She is second on the squad with 89 assists, four fewer than teammate Hallie Meneses. As a team, LBSU is shooting 37.8 percent from the field, 27.7 percent from 3-point range and 66 percent from the free throw line. The 49ers average 36.3 rebounds, 12.9 assists and 21 turnovers per contest. 

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