NORTHRIDGE, Calif. ---
Highlighted by its annual Thanksgiving Classic and a 15-game home schedule, the Cal State Northridge women's basketball program and head coach Jason Flowers have announced the Matadors' 2013-14 schedule. CSUN returns four starters and eight letterwinners from last season's squad while adding six newcomers to the roster for the upcoming season.
"We are looking forward to playing another pre-season schedule that will test us in a variety of ways," Flowers said. "By playing good teams, with various styles, we will be prepared for conference play. We are also fortunate to have good teams coming to the Matadome this year, which will be fun for basketball fans in the San Fernando Valley to watch."
Playing in the newly refurbished Matadome, the Matadors will start things with an exhibition contest against Cal State San Marcos on Friday, Nov. 5. The game, which is part of a CSUN basketball doubleheader, will start at 5 p.m. and separate tickets are required for each contest.
The regular season starts with four-straight road games: at Sacramento State (11/8, 5 p.m.), at Montana State (11/10, 1 p.m. MT), at Clemson (11/17, TBA) and at Georgia Southern (11/19, 7 p.m. ET). The last game of the trip, against the Eagles, will serve as a homecoming for Matador junior Randi Friess, who is a native of Savannah, Ga.
Upon returning from Georgia, the Matadors will host BYU in the home opener on Saturday, Nov. 23 at 4 p.m. The Cougars are one of two visiting non-conference opponents who participated in the 2013 Women's National Invitational Tournament (WNIT).
Following the BYU contest, the Matadors will host their annual four-team tournament centered around the Thanksgiving holiday: The Radisson Hotel Chatsworth Thanksgiving Basketball Classic 2013.
CSUN will host Santa Clara, Hampton and Utah State with a pair of games on Friday, Nov. 29 and Saturday, Nov. 30. The Pirates and Aggies will start the tournament with a 5 p.m. contest on Friday, followed by the Matadors and Broncos at 7:30 p.m. The two losing teams from Friday will meet Saturday at 5 p.m. and the winning teams will square off for the championship at 7:30 p.m.
"Once again, we've been fortunate to attract really good teams to the Radisson Hotel Chatsworth Thanksgiving Basketball Classic 2013," Flowers added. "The tournament will provide 4 great games during a great time of the year to come to the Matadome."
The Matadors then resume the road portion of their non-conference schedule with a trip to the state of Washington. Once there, CSUN will meet Washington State (12/4, 7 p.m.) and Eastern Washington (12/6, 6 p.m.).
Upon returning from Washington, the Matadors will host three-straight non-conference games as the calendar winds towards the Christmas holiday. On Tuesday, Dec. 10, CSUN hosts Pac-12 foe USC in a 6 p.m. contest. On Thursday, Dec. 19, the Matadors welcome former Big Sky rival Northern Arizona for a 7 p.m. game. Finally, on Saturday, Dec. 21, Northridge square off with Saint Mary's, another participant in the 2013 WNIT.
With 2014 steadily encroaching, the Matadors will close out their non-conference schedule with a road game at Oregon (12/29, TBA) and at home against CSU Bakersfield (1/2, 7 p.m.).
The Big West Conference portion of the schedule figures to be another fight to the finish for the nine-member league. Among the highlights will be the Feb. 15 game with UC Santa Barbara, in which the Matadors will wear pink uniforms as they participate in the "Play for Kay" program.
Named after former North Carolina State coach Kay Yow, the "Play for Kay" imitative raises awareness and recognizes those who have persevered through bouts with breast cancer.
The Matador women's basketball program is also hosting a reunion event for that game and welcomes all former Matadors and their families to attend both the game and reception.
Other key returners to the squad include junior Ashlee Guay, who earned All-Big West Second Team honors last season. Fellow junior Camille Mahlknecht led the league in blocked shots and junior Janae Sharpe is a former Big West Freshman of the Year.
Among the newcomers, junior Cinnamon Lister will join the team on the court after spending last year as a redshirt. A freshmen foursome looking to make an impact in their first season of Division I basketball join her: Samantha Young, Aliyah Dickson, Katelin King and Emily Cole.
Destini Price, Travis Newman are transfers into the program who bring valuable experience. Finally, Thielges is a former CSUN softball player who is trading in the diamond for the hardwood and has already impressed coaches and teammates with her abilities.