December 3, 2013

CSUN Heads to Pacific Northwest for Contests at Washington State, Eastern Washington

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NORTHRIDGE, Calif. --- 

Matadors Travel to Meet Cougars, Eagles

The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (2-5) hits the road for a pair of non-conference contests at Washington State (Dec. 4, 7 p.m.) and Eastern Washington (Dec. 6, 6 p.m.). Both contests will feature live stats and live audio with links available at GoMatadors.com. Fans are also encouraged to check with the Matadors' official Twitter feed (@GoMatadors) for in-game updates throughout the trip.

Last week, CSUN dropped both of its games as part of the Radisson Hotel Chatsworth Thanksgiving Classic. Against Santa Clara, the Matadors led nearly the whole way only to see the Broncos rally on a 14-2 run to claim the victory. A day later, CSUN jumped out to an eight-point lead early, but the Aggies went on a 33-11 run over the final 14 minutes of the first half and settled for an eight point victory.

This week, CSUN hits the road for a trip against the Pac-12's Cougars and the Big Sky's Eagles. Washington State is coming off a 76-72 upset victory at No. 10 Nebraska and is 4-4 on the season. Junior guard Tia Presley paces the Cougars at 20.5 points per game and is shooting 48.3 percent from the field and 71 percent from the free throw line. The Cougars have already defeated Fresno State, Mississippi and Seattle this year and have won both previous match-ups with CSUN.

Eastern Washington is 0-5 on the year but opens a month-long home stand (seven games) when the Matadors come to town on Friday night. The Eagles lost close decisions to Portland (three points) and SMU (five points) before falling to Gonzaga, Iowa State and Butler. Laura Hughes was averaging 18 points through the first three games, but did not play against the Cyclones or Bulldogs. Lexie Nelson is averaging 14 points  per game with 14 3-pointers while Hayley Hodgins enters the game at 10.8 points and 2.2 rebounds per game. CSUN took a 66-44 decision over Eastern Washington last year in The Matadome, but the Matadors have lost their last two games in Cheney, Wash.

Following the trip, Northridge returns to The Matadome for a meeting with USC. The Matadors and Women of Troy will meet for the first time in the San Fernando Valley  since 1993 on Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 6 p.m. 

CSUN's Secret Ingredient

Junior Cinnamon Lister has scored in double-figures in six of the Matadors' opening seven games of the 2013-14 season. She finished with a team-high 18 against Utah State and poured in a team-high 20 points and a career-high five 3-pointers in the Matadors' home opener against BYU. She finished with a career-high 24 points in the Matadors' victory at Clemson, posting a career-high nine field goals, including 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., is averaging 16.4 points, 3.4 assists and 1.6 steals for the season. She ranks seventh in the Big West in scoring, eighth in assists and is tied for ninth in steals per game.

A Guay with Words

Junior Ashlee Guay led the Matadors with 17 points against Santa Clara and also posted a season-high six assists, six free throws and four steals in the contest. After posting 14 points and four 3-pointers vs. Utah St., she earned all-tournament team honors at CSUN's Radisson Hotel Chatsworth Thanksgiving Classic. She totaled 16 points in the home opener against BYU and is now averaging 16 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. 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.

Mahl-Knechting the Dots

Junior Camille Mahlknecht picked up her first double-double of the year with 11 points and 12 rebounds against Utah State. She 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 15 more rejections to set a new school record at 150 for her career. She is averaging 9.0 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game on the year. She leads the Big West in blocked shots (15)  and ranks seventh in rebounds. Last season, Mahlknect posted a league-high 75 and finished 25th in all of Division I at 2.34 blocks per game.

From Diamonds to Keys

Senior Mikayla Thielges continues to impress in her only season of Division I women's basketball. Thielges scored a career-high 10 points on 5-of-5 shooting from the field in the game against Santa Clara. She pulled down a 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, Santa Clara and Utah State and Thielges is averaging a team-high 8.6 rebounds per game to rank fifth in the Big West Conference. She is also averaging 5.0 points, on 62.5 percent shooting from the field, and 1.3 assists per game.

The Bernadette Fong Show

Sophomore Bernadette Fong posted the first double-double of her career in the game against Utah State. In just 12 minutes off the bench, Fong scored a career-high 12 points, including a career-high four free throws, to go with 10 rebounds.  She is averaging 5.3 points and 5.7 rebounds through the first seven contests. 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 at Montana State. Last year, Fong was a key player in the Matador victories at Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine.

Mighty Sharpe

Junior Janae Sharpe scored a season-high 10 points and had five rebounds against Santa Clara and then dished out a season-high six assists against Utah State in the CSUN Thanksgiving Tournament. She has averaged 9.8 points over her Matador career and has been especially menacing at the free throw line. In the middle of her third season, Sharpe is 198-of-251 (.789) from the stripe and is currently 12-of-15 on the year. Sharpe is also a tough defensive asset for CSUN, having amassed 100 career steals compared to just 81 career fouls. For the season, Sharpe is averaging 6.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.0 assists on the year. Sharpe was the 2011-12 Big West Freshman of the Year and earned All-Big West Second Team honors that year.

Georgia on My Mind

Junior Randi Friess has been a steady contributor to the Matadors over her first two-plus seasons, starting 46 of the 67 games in which she's played. Over her Matador career, Friess has averaged 3.6 points and 3.6 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.

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.

CSUN's Block Party

The Matadors have led the Big West Conference in blocked shots the past two-plus seasons, totaling 297 rejections for an average of 4.2 per game. Junior Camille Mahlknecht is the Matadors' best rim protector, posting 135 blocks in her Matador career. She stands on pace to break the school's all-time mark of 149 blocked shots held by her former teammate Jasmine Erving. Mahlknecht had 75 blocks last season, the third-most in school history for a single season.

Thou Shalt Steal

The Matadors have totaled 736 steals over the past two-plus seasons, an average of 10.5 per game. They finished second in the Big West in the 2011-12 season after recording 312 thefts. Last year, CSUN improved on that figure by posting 357 steals in 32 games, the 28th-best average in all of Division I women's hoops. Junior Ashlee Guay has led the league in steals in each of her first two seasons and is on pace to break the school's all-time record during the 2013-14 season. Joining Guay is fellow junior Janae Sharpe, who has more career steals (100) than career fouls (81).

On the Rebound

The Matadors have grabbed 312 rebounds through five games, an average of 44.6 per contest. In the season opener, the Matadors set a new program record by grabbing 62 rebounds. Of that total, 23 boards came on the offensive glass and CSUN has 121 offensive rebounds for the year, an average of 17.3 per game. Individually, Mikayla Thielges grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds at Georgia Southern, two shy of tying for second in school history. Thielges also grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds while Bernadette Fong snared a career-high 11 rebounds at Montana State and 10 vs. Utah State. Camille Mahlknecht registered a season-high 12 boards against the Aggies.

Big Conference Hunting

The Matadors' victory at Clemson was their first ever over an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent. The win also represented a win vs. a BCS opponent for the third-straight season: West Virginia (Big East, 2011), UCLA (Pac-12, 2012), Clemson (ACC, 2013). The win over the Mountaineers was CSUN's first against a Big East foe and the upset over nationally ranked UCLA at Pauley Pavilion was Northridge's first win over a Pac-12 opponent since 1996. The Matadors still have contests remaining with Washington State, USC and Oregon in the non-conference slate.

Head East Young Women

The Matadors' victories at Clemson and Georgia Southern were CSUN's first wins in the Eastern Time Zone since a victory over Central Connecticut State in New York on Nov. 25, 1995. In fact, that victory over CCSU was at a neutral site, so the wins were CSUN's first true road victories in the Eastern time zone. The victories also represented the first time CSUN had won a pair of overnight road games since the 2004-05 season.