March 16, 2012

USD Outlasts CSUN 60-58 in WNIT Opening Round

SAN DIEGO, Calif. --- The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (17-14) lost 60-58 to San Diego Friday night in the opening round of the Women's National Invitational Tournament. Trailing by 13 in the second half, the Matadors made a spirited comeback and had a chance to win it at the buzzer, but a 3-point attempt was a little too strong and rattled off the back of the iron as time expired.

In a back and forth affair that featured five ties and eight lead changes, CSUN found itself trailing by 13 with just over 17 minutes to play. From there, the Matadors continued to chip away at the lead.

With less than a minute to play, CSUN trailed 58-57. A free throw by Morgan Woodrow, her only point of the game, put San Diego ahead by two. Northridge took the ball and called timeout with 3.4 seconds left. On the inbounds pass, the ball squirmed around and found its way to Janae Sharpe, whose three 3-point attempt was just a little too long.

Ashlee Guay led CSUN by matching a season high with 17 points. She added six assists and seven rebounds in the contest. She finished the year with 129 assists, the most in the Big West Conference and the third-most in school history for a single season.

Off the bench, Violet Alama added 12 points and Haley White had 11. Alama had six rebounds and knocked down all six of her free throw attempts. White hit two big 3-pointers at the start of the second half and added three rebounds and four assists.

Sharpe was the fourth Matador to score in double-figures, finishing with 10 points. The performance marked the 18th time that the rookie from Rialto, Calif., scored in double-figures.

Camille Mahlknecht added a game-high 10 rebounds for CSUN. 

In the final game of her Northridge career, senior Jasmine Erving finished with six points and five rebounds. She tied a career high with five blocked shots and ended her career with 149 career rejections, the most in school history.

Dominique Conners led USD with a game-high 26 points in the victory. 

The Matadors trailed 38-31 at halftime. After falling behind by as many as nine, the Matadors worked their way back into the game and eventually took a two-point lead midway through the frame. However, the Toreros closed the half on a 9-2 run to take a seven point lead into the locker room. 

With 13 more wins than they had last season, the Matadors had one of the best turnarounds in Division I this year. They had the Big West Conference Freshman of the Year (Sharpe), the Big West Coach of the Year (Jason Flowers) and the Big West Co-Sixth Woman of the Year (Alama). Erving earned All-Big West First Team honors, Sharpe was All-Big West Second Team and Guay and Alama were All-Big West Honorable Mention.