Matadors Start 2011-12 Season with Pair of Dates on The Road
11/11/2011 - CSUN at San Francisco: Radio
CSUN Opens Season against WCC Foes San Francisco, LMU
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. --- The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team opens the 2011-12 season with a pair of road contests against a pair of foes from the West Coast Conference. On Nov. 11, the Matadors start their second season under head coach Jason Flowers with a 3 p.m. contest against San Francisco. Three days later, the Matadors head to Los Angeles to face Loyola Marymount. Both contests will have live audio and live stats available on GoMatadors.com.
Northridge returns five letterwinners from last season and adds eight newcomers to the roster in Coach Flowers' second season. The Matadors were picked to finish seventh in the Big West Preseason Poll.
Among the returning players is senior Jasmine Erving, who has earned All-Big West Second Team honors the past two seasons. She also was named to the All-Big West Preseason Team by members of the media after averaging a career high 14.9 points and 6.9 rebounds. Also returning is junior Violet Alama, who averaged 10.9 points and 5.8 rebounds during her sophomore campaign.
The eight newcomers feature a mixture of six true freshmen and two Division-I transfers. Of the six freshmen, Ashlee Guay and Janae Sharpe figure to see extensive playing time in the backcourt. Jessica Duarte, a member of a high school national championship team at Mater Dei High School, and Randi Friess, a rookie from Savannah, Ga., will get plenty of opportunities from the perimeter. Inside, the team adds strength and length with the additions of Camille Mahlknecht and Kourtney Ainsworth.
The two Division-I transfers, Kaitlyn Petersen and Jianni Jackson, have both already participated in the NCAA Tournament at their previous institutions and bring in experience and toughness to the squad.
CSUN's Dr. J
Senior Jasmine Erving enters her final season at Northridge on the cusp of leaving the program as one of its all-time greats. A two-time All-Big West Conference Second Team selection, Erving became just the eighth player in school history to reach 1,000 career points. She currently stands at eighth with 1,074 points, an average of 12.5 ppg. Erving also ranks among the program's all-time leaders in field goals (6th, 434), Rebounds (8th, 518) and blocked shots (3rd, 103). Last season, Erving led the Matadors with career-high averages of 14.9 ppg and 6.9 rpg. She scored a career-high 35 points in the Matadors' victory over Cal State Fullerton and posted an even 17.0 ppg in 16 Big West contests.
Roses are Blue, Violets are Matador Red
Junior Violet Alama had a breakout season for the Matadors in 2010-11, averaging a career-high 10.9 ppg and 5.8 rpg. A versatile forward capable of playing both inside and outside, Alama scored a career-high 32 points against Eastern Michigan en route to all-tournament honors in Hawai'i. She added four double-doubles during the season and was one of the top free throw shooters in the conference, connecting at an even 79 percent (98-of-124) from the charity stripe. Finally, she finished the year with a career-high 61 assists, including a career-high eight in one game, and 32 steals during her sophomore season.
Sophomore Haley White was one of just two Big West players to finish with over 100 assists last season, finishing with 105 dimes for an average of 3.5 apg. She also led the team with 48 steals on the year, an average of 1.6 per game. White scored a season-high 17 points and four 3-pointers in the Matadors' win at UC Irvine and averaged 5.3 points and 3.4 rebounds last year.
Conejo Brings Lucky Feet to CSUN
Junior Bridgette Conejo begins her final season at Northridge with career averages of 6.6 ppg and 4.1 rpg. She stands just 10 3-pointers shy of tying two former Matadors for 10th in school history and has 54 3's for her career. Last season at Cal State Fullerton she recorded the second double-double of her career, finishing with 13 points and 10 rebounds, and averaged a career-high 4.9 rpg for the season. She also has 72 steals and 108 assists for her career.
For the third-straight year, the Cal State Northridge women's basketball program will be hosting a four-team tournament around the Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend. This year, CSUN and the Woodland Hills Holiday Inn have partnered to bring out a group of tough and talented teams to the San Fernando Valley on Nov. 25 and 26. Competing this year will be West Virginia, UCLA, Colgate and Northridge. The Lady Mountaineers and Bruins will open the festivities with a 5 p.m. contest on Nov. 25, followed by a match-up between Colgate and Northridge at approximately 7:30 p.m. The following day, the two losing teams from the previous day will meet in the consolation game at 5 p.m., with the championship game following 30 minutes later.
A total of eight newcomers arrive at CSUN for their first season with the Matadors in 2011-12. Of the group, two players (Jianni Jackson, Kaitlyn Petersen) bring in previous Division-I experience. Jackson spent a season at Hampton University in Virginia, helping the Pirates qualify for the 2010 NCAA Tournament. Last season, Jackson attended Mt. San Antonio College and helped the Mounties claim a league title. Petersen spent a season with the Gonzaga Bulldogs of the West Coast Conference and returns to the hardwood this year after sitting out last season.
In all, Northridge has six new freshmen on the roster for the upcoming season. All are expected to see time on the court as Coach Flowers and his staff identify their strengths and weaknesses in relation to team chemistry. In the backcourt, Janae Sharpe, Randi Friess and Ashlee Guay should see time at both guard positions after accomplished prep careers.
At the forward spot, Flowers has two new Matadors to unleash on the opposition: Jessica Duarte and Kourtney Ainsworth. Duarte prepped at Mater Dei High School, helping the team to national prominence including a national title in her junior season. Ainsworth is a late addition to the roster who brings size and toughness to the interior after prepping at Ranch Cucamonga High School.
Finally, Camille Mahlknecht is a skilled 6-2 center who can occupy the post or face up on the perimeter with equal success.
The Matadors were picked to finish seventh by the members of the media in the Big West Conference Preseason Poll, earning 73 points. Senior Jasmine Erving was named to the All-Big West Preseason Team, becoming the first Northridge player to earn the distinction under head coach Jason Flowers. Cal Poly was picked to win the league with 11 first-place votes and 200 total points. Erving and freshman Janae Sharpe also received recognition on the College Sports Madness All-Big West Preseason Team, with Erving earn First Team honors and Sharpe being named Freshman of the Year.
The Matadors have a formidable schedule in front of them for the 2011-12 season. Northridge has four teams on its ledger who qualified for the 2011 NCAA Tournament (UCLA, West Virginia, Fresno State and UC Davis). In addition to those squads, CSUN will face four teams that participated in the 2011 WNIT (UC Riverside, Cal Poly, UC Santa Barbara and Pepperdine) and one team that competed in the WBI Classic (CSU Bakersfield). The team opens with its first four games on the road and then plays five of its next six at home, which includes hosting the Woodland Hills Holiday Inn Thanksgiving Basketball Classic 2011 on Nov. 25 and 26.
The Cal State Northridge women's basketball program defeated The Master's College, 87-53, in an exhibition contest on Oct. 29 at The Matadome. Senior Jasmine Erving led the Matadors with 27 points while junior Violet Alama had a double-double and the Matadors forced 36 Mustang turnovers. Erving was a force all night inside for the Matadors, finishing 11-of-19 from the field and 5-of-6 from the free throw line. Alama finished with 11 points, 12 rebounds and three assists in 22 minutes of action. Freshman Jessica Duarte was the third CSUN player to finish in double figures. She had 12 points and three rebounds in 21 minutes off the bench.
Scouting San Francisco
Jennifer Azzi returns for her second season as the head coach of San Francisco. In 2010-11, the Dons finished 4-25 overall and 1-13 in WCC play. Katy Keating is the team's top returning players, having averaged 9.1 points and 4.2 rebounds in the 2010-11 season. CSUN has not faced San Francisco since the 2001 season and has never defeated the Dons in three meetings. The Dons were picked to finish ninth in the West Coast Conference Preseason Poll, receiving eight points.
LMU is led by Julie Wilhoit, who is her 17th season as the head coach of the Lions. In 2010-11, LMU put together an 11-18 season and a 5-9 mark in league play. Alex Cowling was named to the All-WCC Preseason Team by the league's nine coaches and the Lions were picked to finish fourth in the preseason poll. The two teams played last year at The Matadome, where LMU posted a 69-52 victory. In the all-time series, LMU leads 11-3 over Northridge and has won the last five meetings. CSUN's last win at LMU came in 1990 and the Matadors' last victory against the Lions came in 1997 at The Matadome.