Matadors Face Pivotal Road Tests at Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara

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NORTHRIDGE, Calif. --- 

CSUN Hit the Road to Face Mustangs, Gauchos 

The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (13-12, 7-6 Big West) begins a three-game road trip this week with games at Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara. On Thursday, Feb. 21, the Matadors face the Mustangs in a 7 p.m. clash at Mott Gym in San Luis Obispo, Calif. Two days later, CSUN meets the Gauchos in a 2 p.m. contest at The Thunderdome. Both games will feature free live audio, video and live stats available at Fans are also encouraged to check with the CSUN Athletic Department's official Twitter handle (@GoMatadors) for in-game updates for both contests.

Last week, the Matadors earned a dramatic split in games against Pacific and UC Davis. After falling to the Tigers, the Matadors rallied from an eight-point deficit in the final five minutes to stun the Aggies at the buzzer. With 4.3 seconds left on the clock, sophomore guard Ashlee Guay raced the length of the floor and made the game-winning basket as time expired.

This week offers the Matadors a pair of opportunities to climb the standings in the final sprint for seeding in the Big West Tournament.

At 14-9 overall and 8-4 in the Big West Conference, Cal Poly enters Thursday's contest having won four of its past five games. Junior center Molly Schlemer is averaging 11.9 points and 6.3 rebounds per game while sophomore guard Ariana Elegado has connected on 51 3-pointers this season. The Matadors scored an 80-70 double-overtime victory at The Matadome in their earlier match-up this year, but Northridge has not won at Cal Poly since 2005.

UC Santa Barbara, who hosts Hawai'i on Feb. 21, enters the week at 11-13 overall but 7-5 in the Big West Conference. Senior forward Sweets Underwood is averaging a team-high 11.9 points and 9.0 rebounds for the season. In league play, Melissa Zornig and Nicole Nesbit are both averaging over 10 points per game. UCSB posted a 56-37 victory over CSUN at the Matadome earlier this season. The Matadors have only defeated the Gauchos once since 1984 and that came at The Thunderdome, where UCSB is just 3-7 this season. 

Violets are Matador Red -- Big West Player of the Week

Senior Violet Alama earned her first career Big West Player of the Week honors after averaging a double-double as the Matadors split games against Pacific and UC Davis. In the loss to the Tigers, Alama posted a season-high 15 points and 13 rebounds to finish with her first double-double of the season. Two days later, she recorded 13 points and eight rebounds as the Matadors rallied past the Aggies. Alama has ramped up her rebounding over the last two weeks, reaching double-figures in three of the four contests. She now has 664 rebounds in her career, which stands fifth in school history. She had 12 boards in the win at UCI, added 10 at LBSU and posted 10 more in the Matadors' loss to Hawai'i. Alama is now averaging 6.4 rebounds per game, the 11th-best average in the conference. Against Big West opponents, Alama is averaging 6.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. She scored 11 points in the Matadors' loss to Penn State in the CSUN Thanksgiving Classic. She also has 228 career free throws, the seventh-most in school history. In 114 career games, Alama has averaged 7.1 points and 5.8 rebounds per contest.

A Guay with Words 

Sophomore Ashlee Guay continues to lead CSUN in scoring through 25 games after scoring a team-high 15 points, including a lay-up a the buzzer, in the Matadors' win over UC Davis. She is now averaging 13.4 points per game and ranks fourth in the conference. This season, she has scored 20 points or more six times and has led the Matadors in scoring 11 times. She poured in 24 points in the loss at Long Beach State. Two days earlier in a win at UCI, Guay dished out 10 assists, the second time in her career she has reached double-figures in the category. For the year, Guay has 102 assists, 87 rebounds and 79 steals. In Big West Play, Guay is averaging 13.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists. She finished with 22 points in the Matadors' loss to Hawai'i and posted 18 points in the Matadors' win over Cal Poly. She drained a career-high 10 field goals and a season-high four 3-pointers in the first game against the Anteaters. Guay scored a game-high 18 points in the Matadors' road win at Cal State Fullerton and poured in a career-high 28 points in the Matadors' historic victory at UCLA. Guay earned all-tournament honors at CSUN's Thanksgiving Classic after averaging 15 points, nine assists and five rebounds in the two games. She dished out a career-high 12 assists, matching the school record, in the Matadors' loss to Penn State and is now averaging 4.1 assists per game.

Mahl-Knechting the Dots

Sophomore Camille Mahlknecht had 10 rebounds in the Matadors' dramatic victory over UC Davis. She grabbed  a career-high 16 rebounds to go with eight points in the loss at Long Beach State. Two days earlier, she came off the bench to block six shots in the win at UC Irvine. She enters the weekend averaging 6.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. Her 60 blocks this year rank third in school history for a single season and with 105 blocks in 56 career games, Mahlknecht is fourth in school history. In Big West Play, Mahlknecht is averaging 5.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.3 blocks. She pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds to go with four blocked shots and nine points in the Matadors' victory against Cal Poly. She pulled down a team-high 12 rebounds at Pacific and also finished with five blocks. Against UC Riverside, Mahlknecht finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Against San Francisco, she just missed a triple-double by posting 14 points, 13 rebounds and a school-record eight blocked shots. She had 14 points and five blocks in the win over South Alabama and grabbed 13 rebounds against Penn State. Mahlknecht produced her first career double-double when she finished with a career-high 22 points and 13 rebounds in the win over Eastern Washington. She also had a career-high nine field goals and three blocks in the win over the Eagles. She leads the Big West Conference in blocks per game and is fifth in rebounds per game.

Mighty Sharpe

Sophomore Janae Sharpe scored 14 points and grabbed a season-high eight rebounds in the Matadors' home loss to Pacific. She finished with a season-high 18 points, eight field goals and seven assists in the Matadors' loss at CSU Bakersfield. For the season, she is averaging 8.8 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.8 steals per game. She posted 12 points and hit an important 3-pointer in the second overtime in CSUN's win against Cal Poly. At UC Davis, Sharpe had 15 points and tied a career high with 11 free throws. She scored 10 points in the win at Cal State Fullerton and tied for a team-high 12 points and had four steals at Oklahoma. She finished with 16 points in the loss to the Spartans, adding five field goals, five free throws and three rebounds. Against San Francisco, Sharpe finished with 11 points, five assists and three rebounds in 18 minutes of action. At Fresno State, she produced 11 points, six rebounds and four assists. The 2011-12 Big West Freshman of the Year, Sharpe has averaged 10.4 points per game in 49 career appearances for the Matadors. In Big West play, Sharpe is averaging 7.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists.

Haley's Comet

Junior Haley White scored a career-high 21 points and eight field goals in the Matadors' double-overtime victory over Cal Poly. She also finished with six rebounds, five assists, three steals and tied a career best with four free throws vs. the Mustangs. White dished out a game-high six assists in the home win over UC Irvine. She also hit two key 3-pointers in the Matadors' win at UCLA and finished with eight points against the Bruins. She had a strong start to her third season with the Matadors. In the win over Portland, White came off the bench to finish with eight points, 10 assists, seven rebounds and three steals. The 10 dimes matched White's career high and the seven rebounds were two shy of her career best. In 86 career games with the Matadors, White has averaged 4.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists.

Georgia on My Mind

Sophomore Randi Friess continues to earn large playing time due to her hustle and defense. Through 24 games, the second-year player from Savannah, Ga., is averaging 4.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.4 steals per contest. In CSUN's win at UCLA, she pulled down a team-high nine rebounds to go with six points, three assists and two steals. She produced her first two career double-digit scoring performances earlier in the season. She poured in a career-high 12 points in the Matadors' loss at Arizona and then scored 10 points, including a career-high three 3-pointers, in the Matadors' loss to Penn State. Friess produced a career-high four field goals against Arizona and tied a career high with nine rebounds in the Matadors' win over Eastern Washington.

I'm Sorry Ms. Jackson

Senior Jianni Jackson had her best game of the season in the Matadors' loss at Oklahoma. Jackson posted 12 points, a career-high five field goals and a team-high seven rebounds against the Sooners. Against San Jose State, she finished with 11 points and eight rebounds. In fact, the eight boards set a new career best for Jackson in her time at Northridge. In the win over Santa Clara, she tied a career high with two 3-pointers and is now averaging 3.9 points and 2.9 rebounds for the season.

Marta Masoni 

Freshman Marta Masoni has left the Matadors for personal reasons and is not expected to return, CSUN head coach Jason Flowers announced.  In 23 starts for the Matadors, Masoni averaged 12.4 points. She connected on a league-high 65 3-pointers, the second-most in school history for a single season. In all, Masoni averaged 12.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists per contest. In Big West Play, Masoni averaged 11.5 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists.

Conference and National Notes

As of Feb. 18, CSUN leads the Big West in field goal percentage defense (.359), steals per game (11.6), blocks per game (4.3) and rebounding offense (42.2). The Matadors also rank second in the conference in scoring defense (59.8), turnover margin (+2.3) and offensive rebounds (15.6).

Among 343 teams in Division I as of Feb. 18, CSUN ranks 24th in steals per game, 48th in field goal percentage defense, 61st in blocks per game, 69th in 3-pointers per game and 77th in turnover margin. Camille Mahlknecht ranks 22nd in the nation in blocks per game while Ashlee Guay is 17th in steals per game and 106th in assists per game.

Matadors Sign Four to NLIs

Cal State Northridge head coach Jason Flowers has announced the signing of four student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to begin play with the Matadors starting in the 2013-14 season. Amber Blockmon, Emily Cole, Katelin King and Samantha Young bring prolific prep careers and outstanding character to the Matadors.

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