CSUN Rallies Past UCR to Claim Share of Big West Title

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. ---

The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (15-14, 11-4 Big West) overcame a 14-point second-half deficit to defeat UC Riverside 77-75 Saturday afternoon at The Matadome. Janae Sharpe scored a team-high 24 points, Ashlee Guay added 20 and the Matadors claimed a share of the Big West Conference regular season title for the first time in program history.

Saturday's victory was anything but certain until the final buzzer sounded on a wet day in the San Fernando Valley. The Highlanders held a sizeable lead for a majority of the contest, using a big first-half run to give them a 38-36 halftime lead.

In the second half, UCR continued to push CSUN to its breaking point. The Highlanders built a 14-point lead with 14 minutes to play and looked good to post the upset.

However, CSUN dug deep and fought back. Trailing 65-57 with 7:32 to play, the Matadors went on a 12-3 run to take a 69-68 lead on a lay-up from Guay. UCR pushed back and took the lead on its next possession, but Guay canned a key 3-pointer with 2:51 to play to give CSUN the lead for good.

Sharpe matched a career high with 10 free throws and added eight rebounds and two assists in 39 minutes of action. Guay knocked down two 3-pointers and had six rebounds and four assists in 38 minutes.

Cinnamon Lister was the third Matador in double-figures, finishing with 14 points. She knocked down three 3-pointers in the game to give her 10 for the weekend.

Coming off the bench, Randi Friess grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds to go with nine points and an assist. Bernadette Fong finished with four points, eight rebounds and two steals in 20 minutes.

The Matadors shot 39.3 percent from the field compared to 46.8 percent for UC Riverside. CSUN hit 20-of-24 free throw attempts and saw its bench outscore UCR 18-4.

Brittany Crain led five Highlanders in double-figures with 20 points.

With the win, CSUN has wrapped up the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Big West Tournament.

Following the victory, CSUN honored its two seniors participating in their final Big West game at The Matadome: Mikayla Thielges and Haley White.

CSUN closes out its 2014 Big West season with a road game at Long Beach State on Thursday, Mar. 6. Tip off from The Pyramid is slated for 7 p.m.