Matadors Get Back to .500 with 63-55 Victory over Highlanders

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. --- The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (7-7, 2-0 Big West) defeated UC Riverside 63-55 Saturday afternoon in a Big West Conference contest at The Matadome. Jessica Duarte led three Matadors in double-figures with a season-high 19 points and also added a season-high eight rebounds in the victory. 

CSUN led wire-to-wire over UCR Saturday, its first home win against its Inland Empire rival since January of 2007. Northridge forced 25 UC Riverside turnovers in the game, converting those miscues into 27 points. 

The 2-0 record marks CSUN's best start in league play since the 2004-05 season. The win also snapped the Matadors' nine-game losing streak to UC Riverside. 

Duarte played a strong game for the Matadors, hitting 6-of-15 shots from the field and 7-of-9 from the charity stripe. She had both four offensive and defensive rebounds and played 31 minutes in the contest. 

Freshman Janae Sharpe was the team's second-leading scorer after finishing with 15 points. She was 6-of-12 from the field and added seven rebounds, two assists and three steals in 38 minutes. Fellow rookie Ashlee Guay was the third Matador to reach double-figures, scoring 10 points to go along with three rebounds and three steals. 

Violet Alama had another strong performance off the bench for the Matadors. She finished with nine points, a game-high 11 rebounds and two steals in 28 minutes of action. 

CSUN jumped out to a 39-29 halftime lead largely due to the strength of their free throw shooting. IN the opening 20 minutes, the Matadors made 19-of-20 attempts and finished the contest at 23-of-30 (76.7 percent).  

Late in the game, UCR made a comeback attempt and cut the lead to five with just under three minutes remaining. However, CSUN would finish the contest on a 5-2 spurt to seal the victory. 

As a team, CSUN shot 20-of-62 (32.3 percent) compared to 19-of-57 (33.3 percent) for UC Riverside. The Highlanders narrowly won the rebounding battle, 45-42, though the Matadors out-scored them in the paint 34-30. 

Tre'Shonti Nottingham led UCR with a game-high 23 points. 

Northridge hits the road next week for its lone contest, a meeting with Long Beach State. Tip off between the Matadors and 49ers from the Walter Pyramid is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Saturday, January 7.