NORTHRIDGE, Calif. ---
The Cal State Northridge women's basketball program has released its 2012-13 schedule, head coach Jason Flowers announced. Coming off one of the most successful seasons in school history, the Matadors will look to continue the trend with a challenging slate of contests.
The Matadors, who finished 17-14 and earned a WNIT berth a year ago, open the campaign with four of their first five games at the newly renovated Matadome. CSUN basketball's only home court has received a dramatic facelift, getting a new floor and numerous other amenities to enhance the basketball experience at Cal State Northridge.
"Our program continues to improve on and off the court. But improvement requires challenges and our 2012-13 schedule is an example of that," Flowers said. "In order to be a big dog, you have to step off the porch. We will find out if we are bark or bite."
CSUN opens the season with a Nov. 9 contest against Portland. The Pilots and Matadors will tip off at 5 p.m. on that Friday, as the game is the first in a CSUN basketball doubleheader in which the men's program will also be in action after the conclusion of the women's game. Separate tickets are required for each game.
The Matadors then split the next week, squaring off with Eastern Washington (Nov. 15) at home before making a trip to Pac-12 opponent Arizona on Nov. 17.
Following the trip to Tucson, CSUN hosts the Radisson Hotel Chatsworth Thanksgiving Basketball Tournament on Nov. 23-24. Northridge welcomes in South Alabama, Detroit and Penn State to the San Fernando Valley for the two-day tournament.
The Titans and Nittany Lions open the festivities at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 23, followed at 5 p.m. by CSUN and South Alabama. The next day, the two losing teams face off at noon followed by the championship game at 2:30 p.m. The Matadors edged West Virginia last year to claim the tournament title.
After the Thanksgiving holiday, CSUN heads to Northern California to face Santa Clara (Nov. 29) and San Jose State (Dec. 1) before hosting San Francisco (Dec. 5) in another Northridge basketball doubleheader.
The rest of December will bring several tough road tests for Northridge. CSUN first heads to Fresno State on Dec. 8, followed by a visit to Pauley Pavilion for a Dec. 20 meeting with UCLA. The Matadors close out the month and the 2012 calendar year with a Dec. 29 contest at Oklahoma.
A year after finishing 11-5 and earning second place in the league standings, Northridge starts on the road to open Big West play. The Matadors travel to UC Riverside (Jan. 3) and Cal State Fullerton (Jan. 5).
The five-game roadtrip concludes on Jan. 9 when Long Beach State makes its annual trek to The Matadome. Another home meeting follows that contest, this one pitting CSUN against UC Irvine on Jan. 12.
Northridge then makes its annual trip to Northern California to face UC Davis (Jan. 17) and Pacific (Jan. 19). The contest with the Tigers in Stockton represents Northridge's final road league game at the Spanos Center, as Pacific will enter the West Coast Conference in the 2013-14 academic year.
After facing the Tigers, the Matadors host UC Santa Barbara (Jan. 24) and Cal Poly (Jan. 26) before breaking from league play with a road contest at CSU Bakersfield on Jan. 30.
February of 2013 opens with a home game against the Big West's newest member, Hawai'i. The Rainbow Wahine and Matadors will play on Feb. 2 before Northridge makes a return trip to UC Irvine (Feb. 7) and Long Beach State (Feb. 9).
Pacific (Feb. 14) and UC Davis (Feb. 16) then come calling to The Matadome on a weekend in which Northridge joins the nation in honoring former NC State head coach Kay Yow. A longtime champion in the fight against breast cancer, Yow tragically lost her battle with the disease in 2009. In response, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) renamed their signature event to "Play for Kay." All fans wearing pink to the Feb. 16 contest against the Aggies will receive free admission.
CSUN hits the road for its next three contests, traveling to face Cal Poly (Feb. 21), UC Santa Barbara (Feb. 23) and Hawai'i (Mar. 2).
The Matadors close out the Big West season with home contests against Cal State Fullerton (Mar. 7) and UC Riverside (Mar. 9). CSUN will honors its three-woman senior class (Felicia Walker, Violet Alama and Jianni Jackson) following the game with the Highlanders.
The Big West Tournament will have a slightly different format than the past two years. This year, rather than having the higher seeds host the opening round, the No. 5-8 seeds will play in an opening round on Tuesday, March 12. The following day, the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds will face the two winning teams from the night before. These four contests will be played at the Bren Events Center in Irvine, Calif.
The No. 1 and No. 2 seeds will get a bye all the way to the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., to compete in the semifinals on Mar. 15. The Big West Championship, which will be broadcast on Fox Sports, will be held at the Honda Center on Saturday, Mar. 16.