CSUN Welcomes Santa Clara, Utah State and Hampton for Thanksgiving Tournament


NORTHRIDGE, Calif. --- 

Matadors Host Lady Pirates, Broncos and Aggies in Holiday Event

The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (2-3) hosts its fifth-annual Thanksgiving Basketball Classic this weekend on Friday, Nov. 29 and Saturday, Nov. 30. The Matadors will welcome in Hampton University, Utah State and Santa Clara University to the San Fernando Valley for the Radisson Chatsworth Hotel Thanksgiving Basketball Classic 2013 with all games at The Matadome. Live stats will be available for all four contests and both CSUN games during the weekend will be streamed live and for free with all links available at GoMatadors.com.

Last week, CSUN suffered an 82-66 loss to BYU in its home opener. Cinnamon Lister led the Matadors in scoring for the fourth time this season with 20 points and drained a career-high five 3-pointers in the loss. Ashlee Guay poured in 16 points and added three rebounds, three assists and three steals for CSUN.

Santa Clara enters Friday's contest with a 1-4 overall record having lost to UC Santa Barbara in their last game. Nici Gilday leads the team in scoring at 14.8 points per game and is also averaging 3.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. Jo Paine is averaging 11.4 ppg and 5.8 rebounds while Vanessa Leo sports 10.8 points and 8.8 rebounds. CSUN and Santa Clara have won on the other's home courts the past two years.

Hampton plays Utah State in the first game of the tournament on Friday, Nov. 29 at 5 p.m. The Lady Pirates play at UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday night and has already posted victories over Texas State, Southern Mississippi and Saint Peter's. Malia Tate-Defreitas leads the team in scoring at 18.0 points per game and had 29 against Texas Southern.

Utah State is 4-0 on the year with LMU and Utah among its victims. The contest with the Lady Pirates will be the Aggies' first game away from home this season. Jennifer Schlott is averaging 24.3 points, 5.3 assists and 4.5 rebounds on the season. Makenlee Williams is averaging 23.8 points and 4.5 rebounds on the year. CSUN its last outing agaisnt Utah State back in 2005 and the Aggies are in their first season in the Mountain West Conference.

CSUN's Secret Ingredient

Junior Cinnamon Lister poured in a team-high 20 points and a career-high five 3-pointers in the Matadors' home opener against BYU. She added a career-high 24 points in the Matadors' victory at Clemson, pouring in a career-high nine field goals and four 3-pointers. Two days later, she once again led the team in scoring with 19 points as CSUN rallied to defeat Georgia Southern. After sitting out the 2012-13 season as a redshirt, the Corona, Calif., native led the Matadors with 15 points and seven assists in the season opener against Sacramento State. She is averaging 17.2 points, 3.8 assists and 2.0 rebounds for the season. She ranks fifth in the Big West in the scoring, fifth in assists and is tied for sixth in steals per game.

A Guay with Words

Junior Ashlee Guay totaled 16 points in the home opener against BYU and is now averaging 16.2 points per game for the year. She finished with 16 points in CSUN's victories at Clemson and Georgia Southern and knocked down a season-high three 3-pointers and dished out a season-high five assists against the Tigers. Guay had a strong performance in the Matadors' loss at Montana State, scoring 25 points on a career-high 11 field goals. She added four rebounds, two assists and two steals against the Bobcats. Guay earned a spot on the Preseason All-Big West Team after a sophomore campaign when she paced the Matadors in scoring at 13.2 points per game to rank sixth in the conference. She also led CSUN in assists (125) and steals (93), finishing second in the league in steals and third in assists per game. At her current pace, Guay will set new school records for career assists and steals at some point during the 2013-14 season. 

From Diamonds to Keys

Senior Mikayla Thielges pulled down a game and career-high 17 rebounds in the Matadors' victory at Georgia Southern, two shy of tying for second in school history for a single game. A pickup from the CSUN softball program, where she was a two-time All-Big West catcher, Thielges pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds in the loss at Montana State. Add to that seven boards against Sacramento State and Thielges is averaging a team-high 9.2 rebounds per game to rank fourth in the Big West Conference. She is also averaging 4.2 points and 1.8 assists per game.

Mahl-Knechting the Dots

Junior Camille Mahlknecht just missed a pair of double-doubles in the Matadors' victories at Clemson and Georgia Southern. Against the Tigers, she finished with 12 points and nine rebounds while against the Eagles she totaled 10 points and nine rebounds. She also added seven blocked shots in the two wins and needs just 17 more rejections to set a new school record at 150 for her career. She is averaging 8.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game on the year. Last season, Mahlknect posted a league-high 75 and finished 25th in all of Division I at 2.34 blocks per game. In a home win over San Francisco, she just missed a triple-double by posting 14 points, 13 rebounds and a school-record eight blocked shots.

Georgia on My Mind

Junior Randi Friess has been a steady contributor to the Matadors over her first two-plus seasons, starting 45 of the 66 games in which she's played. Over her Matador career, Friess has averaged 3.8 points and 3.7 rebounds. Last year, she surpassed both figures by averaging 4.6 points and 4.1 rebounds.  This season, Friess dished out a career-high four assists to go along with a season-high nine points in the win at Clemson. She totaled six rebounds at both Sacramento State and  Montana State and had eight points and three steals against the Hornets. Last year, Friess registered a career-high 12 points at Arizona.

The Bernadette Fong Show

Sophomore Bernadette Fong appears ready to take on an increase in playing time based on her early production. She finished with seven points and seven rebounds against Sacramento State. Two days later, she posted nine points and a career-high 11 rebounds, two steals and 15 minutes in the contest at Montana State. Last year, Fong was a key player in the Matador victories at Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine. She is averaging 4.4 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.

Mighty Sharpe

Junior Janae Sharpe has averaged 9.9 points per game through her first two seasons with the Matadors. She tallied a season-high nine points and five assists in the home opener against BYU. Sharpe has been a consistent menace at the charity stripe over her first two seasons and is 188-of-244 (.770) from the free throw line. Sharpe is also a tough defensive asset for CSUN, having amassed 99 career steals compared to just 81 career fouls.  Last year, she scored a season-high 18 points at CSU Bakersfield and knocked down a career-high 11 free throws at UC Davis. Sharpe also was the 2011-12 Big West Freshman of the Year and earned All-Big West Second Team honors that year.

Haley's Comet

Senior Haley White tied a career high with five steals in the season opener at Sacramento State. In her junior season, White scored a career-high 5.8 points per game. She also averaged 3.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.5 steals per contest and connected on a career-high 23 3-pointers during the season. 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. She finished with a team-high 17 points and tied a career high with four 3-pointers in the loss at UC Santa Barbara.

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