CSUN Faces UC Irvine, Long Beach State in Big West Conference Action

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. ---

Matadors Host Anteaters, 49ers in The Matadome

The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (7-11, 3-1 Big West) hopes to keep the momentum rolling as it hosts UC Irvine and Long Beach State in a pair of Big West Conference contests at The Matadome this week. The Matadors and Anteaters meet on Thursday, Jan. 23 in a 7 p.m. contest. Two days later, CSUN meets the 49ers in a 4 p.m. Saturday matinée. Both games will feature live stats, live audio and be available for free on BigWest TV. Ryan Stanbury and Rheina Ale will be on the call for both the radio and Big West TV broadcasts with links available at GoMatadors.com. Fans are also encouraged to check with CSUN Athletics' official Twitter account (@GoMatadors) for in-game updates throughout the weekend.

Last week, CSUN took victories over Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara in the same weekend for the first time in its Big West history. Against the Mustangs, Ashlee Guay led three Matadors in double figures with a team-high 22 points. Cinnamon Lister finished with 20 and Janae Sharpe added 17 as the Matadors won their fourth-straight home meeting with Cal Poly.

Two days later, CSUN snapped a 14-game losing streak to UC Santa Barbara with a convincing 18-point victory. Sharpe led the Matadors with 18 points while Bernadette Fong scored a career-high 16 as the Matadors defeated the Gauchos for the first time since the 2006-07 season. For her efforts in the two victories, Sharpe received Big West Player of the Week honors.

This week CSUN squares off with solid squads in UC Irvine and Long Beach State. The Anteaters are 8-9 overall and 1-2 in the Big West. Jennifer Tsurumoto leads the team in scoring at 15.8 points per game and she is also averaging 2.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. Camille Buckley leads the team in rebounds at 8.6 per game and is averaging 14.4 points per contest.

Long Beach State comes to the San Fernando Valley for its only game of the week Saturday when it faces CSUN. The 49ers are 10-8 overall and 2-2 in the Big West. Freshman Raven Benton leads the team in scoring for the season at 13.9 points per game while Lauren Spargo is averaging a team-best 14.5 points in four conference games. 

Mighty Sharpe - Big West Player of the Week

Junior Janae Sharpe averaged 17.5 points in the Matadors' victories over Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara, shooting 52.2 percent from the field while being called for just one foul in 70 minutes of action. That performance helped her earn Big West Player of the Week honors for the first time since her freshman season. Sharpe checks in at second in the Big West Conference with an average of 4.4 assists per game. She has led the Matadors in helpers in seven of the last 12 games and dished out a season-high eight assists to go with nine points and five rebounds in the victory over USC. Sharpe scored a season-high 19 points vs. Saint Mary's to match her career best for the fifth time and first occasion since her freshman season. She has averaged 10.1 points over her Matador career and has been especially menacing at the free throw line. In the middle of her third season, Sharpe is 216-of-295 (.732) from the stripe and is currently 35-of-59 on the year. Sharpe is also a tough defensive asset for CSUN, having amassed 112 career steals compared to just 97 career fouls. For the season, Sharpe is averaging 10.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 0.8 steals per game. Sharpe was the 2011-12 Big West Freshman of the Year and earned All-Big West Second Team honors that year.

A Guay with Words

Junior Ashlee Guay led the Matadors in assists in victories over Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara last week, raising her career total to 326. That total is the third-most in school history and Guay needs 15 assists to set a new school record. Earlier this season, Guay set a new school record for career steals when she recorded her second of four in the Matadors' win at UC Davis. For her career, Guay has 216 steals in 81 games for an average of 2.7 per contest and she owns the two top single-season marks (93, 91) in program history. She is averaging 13.8 points per game, the second-best mark on the team and the 12th-best average in the Big West. After scoring a season-high 25 points, including a career-high 11 field goals, at Montana State, Guay has scored between 14-17 nine times and finished with 16 on five occasions. Guay led the Matadors with 16 points and tied a season high with six assists in the win over USC to earn Big West Player of the Week honors. She earned All-Tournament Team honors at the CSUN Thanksgiving Classic by averaging 15.5 points in games against Santa Clara and Utah State. In addition to steals, Guay needs 15 more assists to set a new program record and 62 points to become the 10th player in school history to amass 1,000 career points.

CSUN's Secret Ingredient

Junior Cinnamon Lister has scored in double-figures 13 times this season and has led the team in scoring on nine occasions. She has reached 20+ six times this year and scored a career-high 26 at Oregon, 20 in a home win vs. Cal Poly and another 20 against Bakersfield. Against the Ducks, Lister drained a career-high six 3-pointers, finishing one short of matching the school record for a single game. She also posted 24 points, including a career-high nine field goals, in the victory at Clemson and finished with 20 vs. BYU and 21 at Washington State. She leads the team and ranks eighth in the Big West Conference at 15.3 points per game and is third in the league with 43 3-pointers, the ninth-most in school history for a single season. Lister is also averaging 2.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.4 steals per game.

Mahl-Knechting the Dots

Junior Camille Mahlknecht averaged 9.5 points, 10.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocks in the Matadors' victories over Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara last week. She matched a season best with a team-high 12 rebounds vs. Cal Poly and her 13 points vs. the Gauchos were her most since the season opener at Sacramento State. Earlier this season, she set a new school record in blocks by recording the 150th of her career in the contest vs. NAU. She finished with a season-high six rejections to go with 10 points and nine boards against the Lumberjacks. For the season, Mahlknecht is averaging 7.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game. She came off the bench to score 10 points and grab seven rebounds vs. CSUB and pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds to go with a season-high five blocked shots in CSUN's win vs. USC. She recorded her first double-double of the year with 11 points and 12 rebounds against Utah State and just missed a pair of double-doubles in the Matadors' victories at Clemson and Georgia Southern. Against the Tigers, she finished with 12 points and nine rebounds while against the Eagles she totaled 10 points and nine rebounds. As of Jan. 20, Mahlknecht ranks 22nd in Division I in blocks per game after checking in at 25th in her sophomore campaign.

The Bernadette Fong Show

Sophomore Bernadette Fong scored a career-high 16 points and seven field goals in the Matadors' victory at UC Santa Barbara. She played a career-high 19 minutes and grabbed six rebounds in the victory over the Gauchos. She finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and two assists vs. CSUB. She posted 10 points on a career-high five field goals in 16 minutes vs. USC and produced the first double-double of her career in the game against Utah State, scoring 12 points, including a career-high four free throws, to go with 10 rebounds. Fong is averaging 5.8 points and 5.4 rebounds in 17 appearances this season. Against Montana State, she posted nine points and a career-high 11 rebounds and two steals.

Georgia on My Mind

Junior Randi Friess continues to make hustle plays in her third season on the team. She pulled down eight boards vs. Saint Mary's and then grabbed a season-high nine at Oregon. Offensively, she finished with a season-high 11 points in the Matadors' win over NAU and added seven points and had three rebounds in the win vs. USC. Friess dished out a career-high four assists to go along with a season-high nine points in the win at Clemson. She totaled six rebounds at both Sacramento State and  Montana State and had eight points and three steals against the Hornets. Over her Matador career, Friess has averaged 3.6 points and 3.8 rebounds. Last year, she surpassed both figures by averaging 4.6 points and 4.1 rebounds. This season, she is averaging 3.4 points and 4.4 rebounds through 18 games.