NORTHRIDGE, Calif. ---
CSUN Hosts Tigers, Aggies in Race to Big West Tournament
The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (12-11, 6-5 Big West) returns to The Matadome this week for a pair of important Big West Conference contests. On Thursday, Feb. 14, the Matadors host the league-leading Pacific Tigers in a 7 p.m. game. Two days later, CSUN meets UC Davis in a 2 p.m. affair in which the Matadors will wear pink uniforms as the team participates in the Women's Basketball Coaches Association "Play for Kay" Initiative to promote breast cancer awareness. Fans wearing pink to the game against the Aggies will receive free admission to the contest.
Last week, Northridge split its two contests on the road, winning at UC Irvine before losing at Long Beach State. At the home of the Anteaters, the Matadors rallied from a four-point halftime deficit to outscore UCI 2:1 in the second half and leave with a 16-point victory. Marta Masoni connected on five 3-pointers and had 18 points while Ashlee Guay dished out 10 assists and Violet Alama grabbed 12 rebounds.
Two days later, CSUN saw an eight-point lead in the second half evaporate as the 49ers earned 24 trips to the free throw line over the final eight minutes. Despite making only three field goals over that same span, the 49ers were able to walk away with a 70-63 victory after making 18 of those 24 attempts at the free throw line. Guay led all scorers in the game with 24 points.
This week CSUN gets a chance at redemption against two teams that have already handed it a defeat earlier this season. Pacific is 18-5 overall and 8-3 in Big West play despite dropping home games to Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara. The Tigers feature four players averaging double-figures in scoring and Kendall Kenyon is averaging a double-double at 11.7 points and 11.0 rebounds per game. Pacific defeated CSUN 60-51 in Stockton, Calif., earlier this season.
UC Davis comes calling to the San Fernando Valley Saturday. UCD carries a 10-12 overall record and 5-6 conference mark into the weekend and will play Hawai'i on Feb. 14. Sydnee Fipps leads the Aggies in scoring at 17.1 points per game and is averaging 4.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. Cortney French is averaging 11.7 ppg and has hit 50 3-pointers this season. UCD took a 61-46 decision over CSUN earlier this season.
A Guay with Words
Sophomore Ashlee Guay continues to lead CSUN in scoring through 23 games after scoring 24 points at Long Beach State. Two days earlier in a win at UCI, Guay dished out 10 assists, the second time in her career she has reached double-figures in the category. She is now averaging 13.8 points per game to lead the team and rank fourth in the conference. This season, she has scored 20 points or more six times and has led the Matadors in scoring 10 times. For the year, Guay has 93 assists, 77 rebounds and 67 steals. In Big West Play, Guay is averaging 14.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists. She finished with 22 points in the Matadors' loss to Hawai'i and posted 18 points in the Matadors' win over Cal Poly. She drained a career-high 10 field goals and a season-high four 3-pointers in the first game against the Anteaters. Guay scored a game-high 18 points in the Matadors' road win at Cal State Fullerton and poured in a career-high 28 points in the Matadors' historic victory at UCLA. Guay earned all-tournament honors at CSUN's Thanksgiving Classic after averaging 15 points, nine assists and five rebounds in the two games. She dished out a career-high 12 assists, matching the school record, in the Matadors' loss to Penn State and is now averaging 4.0 assists per game.
Meet the Meteoric Marta Masoni
Freshman Marta Masoni continues to have a strong first season with the Matadors. She ranks second on the Matadors in scoring and sixth in the Big West Conference at 12.4 points per game. Masoni has connected on a league-high 65 3-pointers this season and needs just two more to establish a new school single-season record. Through 21 games, Masoni is averaging 12.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists per contest. In Big West Play, Masoni is averaging 11.5 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists. She leads the Big West Conference in 3-pointers (65) and at 38.5 percent from beyond the arc (65-of-169). She has connected on a season-high six 3-pointers twice, reaching the mark in wins over UC Irvine and UCLA. In the win vs. Long Beach State, Masoni scored 19 points, including a season-high six free throws, and then added 20 points and in the first win over UC Irvine. Masoni knocked down a season-high six 3-pointers and finished with 18 points in the Matadors' win at UCLA. She matched her season high with 22 points in the win at Santa Clara, finishing 8-of-12 from the field and 3-of-4 from 3-point range. She produced a season-high 22 points, including five 3-pointers, in the Matadors' loss to Penn State in the CSUN Thanksgiving Classic. She started her career with a bang, finishing with 17 points, including five 3-pointers, as Northridge defeated Portland. Originally from Taranto, Italy, Masoni was a member of the Italian Women's Basketball team that captured the U-18 European Championships in 2010.
Mahl-Knechting the Dots
Sophomore Camille Mahlknecht grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds to go with eight points in the loss at Long Beach State. Two days earlier, she came off the bench to block six shots in the win at UC Irvine. She enters the weekend averaging 6.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. Her 56 blocks this year rank third in school history for a single season and with 101 blocks in 54 career games, Mahlknecht is fourth in school history. In Big West Play, Mahlknecht is averaging 5.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks. She pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds to go with four blocked shots and nine points in the Matadors' victory against Cal Poly. She pulled down a team-high 12 rebounds at Pacific and also finished with five blocks. Against UC Riverside, Mahlknecht finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Against San Francisco, she just missed a triple-double by posting 14 points, 13 rebounds and a school-record eight blocked shots. She had 14 points and five blocks in the win over South Alabama and grabbed 13 rebounds against Penn State. Mahlknecht produced her first career double-double when she finished with a career-high 22 points and 13 rebounds in the win over Eastern Washington. She also had a career-high nine field goals and three blocks in the win over the Eagles. She leads the Big West Conference in blocks per game and is fifth in rebounds per game.
Sophomore Janae Sharpe finished with a season-high 18 points, eight field goals and seven assists in the Matadors' loss at CSU Bakersfield. For the season, she is averaging 8.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.9 steals per game. She posted 12 points and hit an important 3-pointer in the second overtime in CSUN's win against Cal Poly. At UC Davis, Sharpe had 15 points and tied a career high with 11 free throws. She scored 10 points in the win at Cal State Fullerton and tied for a team-high 12 points and had four steals at Oklahoma. She finished with 16 points in the loss to the Spartans, adding five field goals, five free throws and three rebounds. Against San Francisco, Sharpe finished with 11 points, five assists and three rebounds in 18 minutes of action. At Fresno State, she produced 11 points, six rebounds and four assists. The 2011-12 Big West Freshman of the Year, Sharpe has averaged 10.4 points per game in 47 career appearances for the Matadors. In Big West play, Sharpe is averaging 7.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists.
Violets are Matador Red
Senior Violet Alama has ramped up her rebounding over the last three games, reaching double-figures in all three contests. She now has 643 rebounds in her career, which stands sixth in school history. She had a season-high 12 boards in the win at UCI, added 10 at LBSU and posted 10 more in the Matadors' loss to Hawai'i. Alama is now averaging 6.0 rebounds per game, the 12th-best average in the conference. She scored a season-high 11 points in the Matadors' loss to Penn State in the CSUN Thanksgiving Classic. The day before, she pulled down nine rebounds in the Matadors' win over South Alabama. Alama opened the season with eight points and eight rebounds in the Matadors' season-opening victory over Portland. She also has 223 career free throws, the eighth-most in school history. In 112 career games, Alama has averaged 7.0 points and 5.7 rebounds per contest.
Junior Haley White scored a career-high 21 points and eight field goals in the Matadors' double-overtime victory over Cal Poly. She also finished with six rebounds, five assists, three steals and tied a career best with four free throws vs. the Mustangs. White dished out a game-high six assists in the home win over UC Irvine. She also hit two key 3-pointers in the Matadors' win at UCLA and finished with eight points against the Bruins. She had a strong start to her third season with the Matadors. In the win over Portland, White came off the bench to finish with eight points, 10 assists, seven rebounds and three steals. The 10 dimes matched White's career high and the seven rebounds were two shy of her career best. In 84 career games with the Matadors, White has averaged 4.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists.
Georgia on My Mind
Sophomore Randi Friess continues to earn large playing time due to her hustle and defense. Through 22 games, the second-year player from Savannah, Ga., is averaging 4.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.4 steals per contest. In CSUN's win at UCLA, she pulled down a team-high nine rebounds to go with six points, three assists and two steals. She produced her first two career double-digit scoring performances earlier in the season. She poured in a career-high 12 points in the Matadors' loss at Arizona and then scored 10 points, including a career-high three 3-pointers, in the Matadors' loss to Penn State. Friess produced a career-high four field goals against Arizona and tied a career high with nine rebounds in the Matadors' win over Eastern Washington.
I'm Sorry Ms. Jackson
Senior Jianni Jackson had her best game of the season in the Matadors' loss at Oklahoma. Jackson posted 12 points, a career-high five field goals and a team-high seven rebounds against the Sooners. Against San Jose State, she finished with 11 points and eight rebounds. In fact, the eight boards set a new career best for Jackson in her time at Northridge. In the win over Santa Clara, she tied a career high with two 3-pointers and is now averaging 4.0 points and 2.9 rebounds for the season.
Conference and National Notes
As of Feb. 11, CSUN leads the Big West in field goal percentage defense (.358). The Matadors also rank second in the conference in scoring defense (59.7), rebounding offense (41.7), turnover margin (+2.3), offensive rebounds (14.3) and steals per game (11.4).
Among 343 teams in Division I as of Feb. 11, CSUN ranks 32nd in steals per game, 45th in field goal percentage defense, 60th in blocks per game, 58th in 3-pointers per game, 77th in 3-point field goal percentage defense and 79th in turnover margin. Freshman Marta Masoni checks in at 22nd in 3-pointers per game and 41st in 3-point percentage. Camille Mahlknecht ranks 19th in the nation in blocks per game while Ashlee Guay is 33rd in steals per game and 119th in field goal percentage.
Matadors Sign Four to NLIs
Cal State Northridge head coach Jason Flowers has announced the signing of four student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to begin play with the Matadors starting in the 2013-14 season. Amber Blockmon, Emily Cole, Katelin King and Samantha Young bring prolific prep careers and outstanding character to the Matadors.