Matadors Look to Keep Up Quick Start vs. Aggies, Tigers
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. --- The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (8-7, 3-0 Big West) travels for a pair of Big West Conference games this weekend in Northern California. On Thursday Jan. 12, the Matadors face UC Davis at The Pavilion at 7 p.m. Two days later, CSUN travels to Stockton, Calif., for a game against the Pacific Tigers at 4 p.m. Both games will have live, internet-only broadcasts of the game, live stats and a link to the Big West.TV on GoMatadors.com.
Last week, CSUN continued its hot start to Big West play by defeating Long Beach State 57-50 on Jan. 7. At The Walter Pyramid, Jasmine Erving posted her sixth double-double of the season and 19th of her career by finishing with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Northridge also got some great production off the bench, as Violet Alama collected a game-high 11 rebounds and Camille Mahlknecht had 11 points.
At 3-0, the Matadors are off to their best start to league play since the 2004-05 season. CSUN ranks among the league and national leaders in field goal percentage defense, 3-point field goal percentage defense, free throw percentage, scoring offense, steal per game and blocks per game.
This week, Northridge faces the preseason league favorite Aggies who enter the week with a 9-6 record and a 1-2 mark in conference action. On Sunday, Northridge faces a Pacific squad who enters the week 8-6 overall and 2-1 in league play.
After the trip to Northern California, the Matadors settle back into the comforts of home with a pair of games against the league schools from the central coast: Cal Poly (Jan. 19, 7 p.m.) and against UC Santa Barbara (Jan. 21, 4 p.m.). Northridge plays Jan. 25 at Cal State Fullerton and closes out the first month of the calendar year with a Jan. 28 home contest against CSU Bakersfield.
CSUN's Dr. J
Senior Jasmine Erving posted 14 points and 10 rebounds in the Matadors' win at Long Beach State, producing her sixth double-double of the season and 19th of her career. The Santa Ana, Calif., native enters Saturday's game averaging 14.7 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, figures that rank third and second, respectively, among all Big West Conference players. She also leads all league players in blocks per game (1.6) and has a total of 22 on the season. During the Thanksgiving Holiday, she earned her third career Big West Player of the Week award by posting a pair of double-doubles as CSUN won its Thanksgiving tournament. Against Colgate, Erving led Northridge with 18 points and 11 rebounds and then had 10 points and 13 rebounds in the championship game against West Virginia.
Roses are Blue, Violets are Matador Red
Junior Violet Alama continues to bring a strong presence off the bench for the Matadors. In the Matadors' win at Long Beach State, Alama posted a game-high 11 rebounds to go with six points in 20 minutes. Against UC Irvine, she finished with six points, four rebounds and four steals. Two days later, she had nine points and a game-high 11 rebounds as the Matadors defeated UC Riverside. Alama also had a nice performance at Portland, finishing with 11 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals in 19 minutes. Through 15 games, Alama is averaging 8.2 points and 6.5 rebounds, the 10th-best average in the Big West. She recorded her sixth career double-double in the Matadors' victory at San Francisco, finishing with 15 points and 10 rebounds in the victory. Then in CSUN's win at LMU, she added 14 points, including two 3-pointers, and eight rebounds.
Freshman Janae Sharpe finished with nine points, five rebounds and five assists in the Matadors' win at Long Beach State. The Rialto, Calif., native has had a strong start to her Big West career, averaging 14.3 points and earning the league's Player of the Week after helping lead the Matadors to a pair of wins during the opening weekend of Big West play. Against UC Irvine, she scored a season-high 19 points and had a season-high seven steals. Two days later, Sharpe added 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists as the Matadors defeated UC Riverside. For the season, Sharpe is averaging 10.7 points per game, the second-best figure on the team and 11th among all Big West players. She is also averaging 3.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.2 steals (fourth in the league) per game and has scored in double-figures in eight of the Matadors' 15 games.
A Guay with Words
Freshman Ashlee Guay has been a menace for opponents in her first season with the Matadors. The San Diego, Calif., native is averaging 8.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 3.7 steals for the year. Guay leads the league with 57 assists and 55 steals on the season and also ranks second in the Big West with an average of 34.4 minutes per game. Guay has now had two games with seven steals, one with six and three more with at least four and ranks ninth among all Division I players with her steals per game average. Guay finished with 10 points, her sixth double-figure scoring game of the season, three rebounds and three steals in the Matadors' victory over UC Riverside.
Mahl-Knechting the Dots
Freshman Camille Mahlknecht scored 11 points and collected five rebounds with two blocked shots off the bench for CSUN in the win at Long Beach State. Mahlknecht had a season-high five blocked shots in the Matadors' victory over UC Irvine. She also brought down a season-high 13 rebounds in the Matadors' win over San Jose State and added 12 points against Fresno State. For the season, the Agoura, Calif., native is averaging 5.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. She now has 22 blocks on the year, a 1.6 per game average that ranks tied for first in the Big West Conference. Offensively, Mahlknecht has three double-figure scoring performances on the season, including a season-high 14 points and seven field goals at Oregon State.
Do or Duarte
Freshman Jessica Duarte scored a season-high 19 points and grabbed a season-high eight rebounds in the Matadors' victory over UC Riverside on Dec. 31. The rookie scored from all parts of the floor and also connected on a season-high seven free throws in the contest. Since making her debut against Colgate, Duarte is averaging 7.9 points and has hit 10 3-pointers. She had seven big points, including her first career trey, in the Matadors' victory over West Virginia. More recently, she knocked down two 3-pointers against both Santa Clara and Pepperdine. She has also reached 11 points twice this year, against the Waves and in CSUN's win over San Jose State.
The Matadors won the Woodland Hills Holiday Inn Thanksgiving Basketball Classic 2011 by defeating West Virginia, 48-47, in the championship game. CSUN defeated Colgate, 71-60, on Friday, Nov. 25 to set up a meeting with the Mountaineers, who knocked off No. 25 UCLA. For their efforts, senior Jasmine Erving was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player and Kaitlyn Petersen was also named to the all-tournament team.
Conference and National Notes
Through the first 15 games of the year, the Matadors find themselves with some pretty impressive stats thus far. Defensively, the Matadors are tied for the league lead in field goal percentage defense (.370, 337-911) and lead outright in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.279, 72-258). Northridge also ranks second in the league and 48th in the nation with an average of 11.1 steals per game. Finally, the Matadors lead the conference and rank 53rd in the nation with an average of 4.7 blocks per game. On offense, CSUN ranks fourth in the Big West and 68th in the nation with a team free throw percentage of .722 (231-320). As a team, CSUN is averaging 42.1 rebounds per game, the best average in the conference. Individually, freshman Ashlee Guay leads the league and ranks ninth among all Division I players with an average of 3.7 steals per game. Finally, Jasmine Erving ranks third in the conference with a rebounding average of 8.5 per game, an average that checks in at 95th among all Division I players.
Already a Season of Firsts
Northridge has already accomplished several notable feats through the first 15 games of the 2011-12 season. The Matadors' 3-0 start to Big West play is their best since the 2004-05 season and the Matadors' home victories over UC Irvine and UC Riverside were their first since the 2006-07 season. CSUN's 30-point victory over San Jose State was the program's largest victory in over 11 years. Northridge defeated West Virginia in the championship game of the Thanksgiving Basketball Classic, the program's first win ever over a BIG EAST program. With four wins in November, the Matadors won their most games in the season's opening month since the 1998-99 season. The Matadors' win over Colgate in the Thanksgiving Basketball Classic was also the first time CSUN has won its home opener since the 2004-05 season. The Matadors' victory over San Francisco on Nov. 11 was the program's first ever against the Dons and head coach Jason Flowers' first career non-conference win. The win also marked the first time Northridge won a season opener since the 2004-05 season. CSUN's win against LMU was the program's first since 1997 and the first win at LMU since the 1990 season.
Scouting UC Davis
UC Davis, the preseason favorite in the Big West Conference, enters Thursday's contest with a 9-6 overall record and a 1-2 mark in league play. Last week, the Aggies defeated UC Riverside before falling to UC Irvine. Kasey Riecks and Samantha Meggison are each averaging over 10 points per game to lead UCD in scoring. Hana Asano leads the team with 50 assists and Meggison is the team's top rebounder at 4.7 boards per game. As a team, UC Davis is shooting 37.5 percent from the field and 29.2 percent from 3-point range. The Aggies average 32.0 rebounds per game and 14.3 turnovers per contest. The Aggies have won the past four meetings and CSUN's last win in the series came in the 2009 Big West Tournament in Anaheim, Calif. The last time Northridge won in Davis was during the 2004-05 season, a 76-68 decision on Feb. 26, 2005. Jennifer Gross is in her first season as the head coach of UC Davis.
Pacific enters the week with an 8-6 overall record and a 2-1 mark in league play. Before they face the Matadors on Saturday, the Tigers will host Long Beach State on Thursday. Pacific is led by three scorers averaging over 12 points per game: Ashley Wakefield, Erica McKenzie and Kendall Rodriguez. Of the three, Wakefield and Rodriguez each have over 100 rebounds and McKenzie leads the team with 50 assists and 34 3-pointers on the year. As a team, Pacific is shooting 40.2 percent from the field and 34.4 percent from 3-point range. The Tigers average 40.8 rebounds and 19.1 turnovers per game. Three of the last four meetings between Pacific and Northridge have gone to overtime, although Pacific picked up a regulation victory at CSUN in the last meeting. Lynne Roberts is in her sixth season as the head coach of the Tigers.