Matadors Host 49ers in Saturday Matinee
The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (14-9, 8-2 Big West) plays a single game this week, hosting Long Beach State in a Big West Conference contest at The Matadome at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11. Links for live stats, audio and video will be available at GoMatadors.com.
Last week, the Matadors secured a pair of conference road wins at UC Riverside and UC Irvine. Against the Highlanders, CSUN overcame a 14-point deficit to rally for its first road win in the series with UCR in over six years. Jasmine Erving scored all 22 of her points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the second half of the contest, as the Matadors out-scored the Highlanders 42-23 over the final 20 minutes.
Two days later, Northridge put together one of its most complete games of the season in handing UC Irvine an 80-59 loss. Erving was once again the star for the Matadors, scoring a career-high 36 points on a school-record 16 field goals. As a team, the Matadors shot a season-high 51.5 percent from the field and dished out 23 assists in the victory.
This week, CSUN hosts Long Beach State in a game both teams need as they inch closer to the postseason. Although they've lost six of their last eight, the 49ers gave the Matadors a stiff test in their previous meeting this season, a game Northridge won 57-50.
Following the 49ers, the Matadors will remain at home for two more Big West Conference games. On Feb. 16, Northridge hosts Pacific at 7 p.m., and then faces UC Davis on Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. The game versus the Aggies is part of the WBCA's Pink Zone initiative and all fans wearing pink receive free admission.
CSUN's Dr. J --- Big West Player of the Week
Senior Jasmine Erving earned Big West Player of the Week honors after posting two solid performances in both of CSUN's road wins. At UC Riverside, she scored 22 points, all in the second half, and added 11 rebounds as CSUN erased a 14-point deficit in toppling the Highlanders. Two days later, Erving scored a career-high 36 points on a school-record 16 field goals to go along with nine rebounds at UC Irvine. The Santa Ana, Calif., native enters Saturday's game averaging 15.4 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, figures that rank third and second, respectively, among all Big West Conference players. The 11 season double-doubles rank tied for 16th among all NCAA Division I players and gives her 24 for her Matador career. She also leads all league players in blocks per game (1.5) and has a total of 33 on the season, including a career-high five rejections against Cal Poly. With 136 career blocks, Erving is tied for the school record with Cyrstal Hahs.
A Guay with Words
Freshman Ashlee Guay dished out a season-high nine assists in the Matadors' victory at UC Irvine. The San Diego, Calif., native is averaging 9.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 3.1 steals for the year. In fact, Guay leads the league with 71 steals and 97 assists on the season. She tied a school Division I record when she hit seven 3-pointers in the Matadors' win over Cal Poly. Against the Mustangs, Guay hit all seven of her attempts from downtown and finished with a season-high 23 points. In fact, Guay owns the national mark this season for most 3-point makes without a miss. After finishing with six steals against UCI, Guay has now had two games with seven steals, two with six and five more with at least four. She now ranks 19th among all Division I players with her steals average and she has set a new school record with 76 steals.
Freshman Janae Sharpe had 10 points in both games last week as CSUN secured a pair of tough road victories against league opponents. For the season, Sharpe is averaging 10.6 points per game, the second-best figure on the team and 11th among all Big West players. She is also averaging 4.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.3 steals (third in the league) per game and has scored in double-figures 13 times this season. Sharpe had a career high with 19 points in the Matadors' double-overtime loss to UC Santa Barbara. She hit 11-of-14 free throws against the Gauchos, which also set a new season high. Sharpe had a strong start to her Big West career, earning the league's Player of the Week after helping lead the Matadors to a pair of wins during the opening weekend of conference 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.
Georgia On My Mind
Freshman Randi Friess has earned a spot in the starting line-up based largely on her hustle and fearlessness in crashing the boards. Originally from Savannah, Ga., Friess had a season-high eight points in the Matadors' win at UC Riverside and then knocked down a season-high two 3-pointers in CSUN's win at UC Irvine. For the season, Friess is averaging 3.0 points and 3.0 rebounds, including a season-high nine boards against CSU Bakersfield. One statistic that speaks to Friess' hustle is that 11 of her 15 steals have come against Big West opponents.
Mahl-Knechting the Dots
Freshman Camille Mahlknecht finished with 11 points and four rebounds in 21 minutes at UC Irvine. She added 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 5.0 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. She now has 29 blocks on the year, a 1.3 per game average that ranks third in the Big West Conference. Offensively, Mahlknecht has four 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 has repeatedly come up with big shots during her rookie season. She hit two key 3-pointers in the Matadors' road win at Cal State Fullerton and also has had memorable buckets against Pepperdine, West Virginia and UC Santa Barbara. Duarte finished with 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 6.8 points and has hit 19 3-pointers. She has also reached 11 points twice this year, against the Waves and in CSUN's win over San Jose State.
Roses are Blue, Violets are Matador Red
Junior Violet Alama continues to bring a strong presence off the bench for the Matadors. At UC Davis, Alama posted a season-high 19 points and 10 rebounds for her second double-double of the season. She also had a career-high five steals against the Aggies in 30 minutes. In the Matadors' win at Long Beach State, Alama posted a game-high 11 rebounds to go with six points in 20 minutes. She had nine points and a game-high 11 rebounds as the Matadors defeated UC Riverside. At Portland, she finished with 11 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals in 19 minutes. Through 23 games, Alama is averaging 7.5 points and 6.2 rebounds, the 9th-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.
Sophomore Haley White had her most productive game of the season in the Matadors' win at Pacific. She finished with a season-high 12 points, six field goals and seven rebounds in 31 minutes. White also added a career-high three blocked shots against the Tigers. For the season, White is averaging 3.3 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. In Big West play, her averages jump to 5.3 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.
I'm Sorry Ms. Jackson
Junior Jianni Jackson had easily her best game in a Northridge uniform in the Matadors' comeback win over Pacific. In 19 minutes off the bench, Jackson finished with a career-high 14 points, four field goals, five free throws and seven rebounds as CSUN erased a 13-point halftime deficit. For the season, Jackson is averaging 2.5 points and 2.0 rebounds.
Conference and National Notes
Through 23 games this season, the Matadors find themselves with some pretty impressive stats. Defensively, the Matadors are second in the conference in field goal percentage defense (.369) and first in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.292). Northridge also leads the league and ranks 49th in the nation with an average of 10.7 steals per game. Finally, the Matadors lead the conference and rank 65th in the nation with an average of 4.5 blocks per game. On offense, CSUN ranks third in the Big West and 64th in the nation with a team free throw percentage of .720 (362-503). Individually, freshman Ashlee Guay is second in the league and ranks 19th among all Division I players with an average of 3.1 steals per game. With 11 double-doubles, Jasmine Erving is tied for 16th in the nation among all Division I players. She has 24 double-doubles in her career.
Already a Season of Firsts
Northridge has accomplished several notable feats through 23 games of the 2011-12 season. At 8-2 in Big West play, the Matadors are off to their best start to a league season since the 1998-99 season and their best record through 10 league games since they joined the Big West Conference. The Matadors picked up their first conference series sweep over UC Riverside ever and also won for the first time at the Highlanders in over six years. The Matadors' home victories over UC Irvine and UC Riverside and the road win at Long Beach State 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 1990.
Scouting Long Beach State
Long Beach State enters Saturday's game with a 9-14 overall record and a 4-6 mark in the Big West Conference. After starting the league season 2-0, LBSU has lost six of its last eight games. Tipesa Moorer is the 49ers' leading scorer at 13.0 points per game. She also averages 4.6 rebounds and is shooting 43 percent from the field. Alex Sanchez is second on the team in scoring at 9.0 ppg. She also leads the team with 121 rebounds and is second on the team with 73 assists. As a team, Long Beach State is shooting 37.5 percent from the field, 27.6 percent from 3-point range and 68.4 percent from the free throw line. The 49ers average 37.2 rebounds, 13.3 assists and 21.3 turnovers per contest. The Matadors won the first game between the two schools, 57-50, at The Walter Pyramid in Long Beach. Jasmine Erving led CSUN with 14 points and 10 rebounds while Camille Mahlknecht added 11 points and five rebounds off the bench. Violet Alama led all players with 11 rebounds in the game.