NORTHRIDGE, Calif. ---
Matadors Meets Aggies, Titans in Pivotal Contests
The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (10-12, 6-2) begins the second half of conference play with a pair of important Big West contests. On Thursday, Feb. 6, the Matadors host UC Davis for a 7 p.m. tilt at The Matadome on Big West TV. Two days later, CSUN ventures to Orange County to square off with Cal State Fullerton in a 6 p.m. game at Titan Gym. Both contests will feature live stats, audio and video available at GoMatadors.com with Ryan Stanbury and Rheina Ale calling all the action.
Last week CSUN pulled out a pair of impressive victories, winning at UC Riverside before defeating Hawai'i in overtime. Against the Highlanders, Cinnamon Lister led four Matadors in double figures with 23 points, her seventh game of 20+ points this season. Bernadette Fong recorded 16 points and 11 rebounds to post her second career double-double and the Matadors held UCR to under 30 percent shooting on its home floor.
Two days later, the Matadors pulled out a dramatic overtime victory vs. Hawai'i by scoring the final eight points of the extra period. Janae Sharpe scored a career-high 27 points and Ashlee Guay added 26 as the Matadors produced their first win over the Rainbow Wahine in program history.
Thursday, UC Davis comes to the San Fernando Valley with a 9-11 overall record and 4-3 mark in the Big West Conference. Sydnee Fipps leads the team in scoring and is averaging 17.5 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Alyson Doherty is averaging 12.4 ppg and 6.0 rpg while Kelsey Harris has connected on a league-high 55 3-pointers. CSUN scored a 56-52 win at UCD on Jan. 9, its first road win in the series since 2005.
Saturday evening, CSUN gets its first look at Cal State Fullerton this year. The Titans enter the week 7-12 overall and 3-3 in the league and will host UC Riverside Thursday night. Chante Miles leads the team in scoring at 14.1 ppg to go with a team-high 89 assists. Alex Thomas is second on the team at 12.1 ppg and has a team-high 28 3-pointers. Kathleen Iwuoha averages 9.8 points and a team-high 6.7 rebounds per game.
Next week, CSUN heads to Cal Poly on Thursday, Feb. 13 for a 7 p.m. game at Mott Gym. On Saturday, Feb. 15, the Matadors host UCSB at 4 p.m. in The Matadome for the program's annual Play for Kay initiative to promote breast cancer awareness.
A Guay with Words
Junior Ashlee Guay became the 10th player in school history to reach 1,000 career points when she finished with 13 at UC Riverside. Two days later, she finished with 26 in the overtime victory vs. Hawai'i and stands at 10th in school history with 1,030 points. She had a stellar weekend for CSUN in games vs. UC Irvine and Long Beach State to earn her second Big West Player of the Week award this season. Against the Anteaters, she finished with a career-high 32 points on a school-record eight 3-pointers. Two days later, she posted 21 points and a career-high 10 rebounds for her second career double-double in a win over the 49ers. Guay is quickly nearing another milestone, needing four assists to set the program's all-time record in that category. Earlier this season, Guay set a new school record for career steals when she recorded her second of four in the Matadors' win at UC Davis. For her career, Guay has 217 steals in 85 games for an average of 2.6 per contest and she owns the two top single-season marks (93, 91) in program history. She is averaging 15.5 points per game, the best mark on the team and the eighth-best average in the Big West. Guay led the Matadors with 16 points and six assists in the win over USC to earn Big West Player of the Week honors.
Junior Janae Sharpe scored a career-high 27 points in the Matadors' overtime victory against Hawai'i. She knocked down a season-high eight field goals and led the Matadors with eight boards vs. the Rainbow Wahine. For the year, Sharpe is averaging 11.7 points and has increased that average to 16 per game in conference play. Sharpe leads the squad with 84 assists and her 4.2 per-game average ranks fourth in the league. She averaged 17.5 points in the Matadors' victories over Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara, shooting 52.2 percent from the field while being called for just one foul in 70 minutes of action. That performance helped her earn Big West Player of the Week honors for the first time since her freshman season. Sharpe has averaged 10.5 points over her Matador career and has been especially menacing at the free throw line. In the middle of her third season, Sharpe is 240-of-326 (.736) from the stripe and is currently 59-of-80 on the year after knocking down a season-high 10 free throws vs. Long Beach State. Sharpe is also a tough defensive asset for CSUN, having amassed 115 career steals compared to just 102 career fouls. For the season, Sharpe is averaging 11.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 0.9 steals per game. Sharpe was the 2011-12 Big West Freshman of the Year and earned All-Big West Second Team honors that year.
CSUN's Secret Ingredient
Junior Cinnamon Lister has scored in double-figures 16 times this season and has led the team in scoring on 11 occasions. She has reached 20+ seven times this year after finishing with a team-high 23 points at UC Riverside. She scored a career-high 26 points at Oregon, 20 in a home win vs. Cal Poly and another 20 against Bakersfield. Against the Ducks, Lister drained a career-high six 3-pointers, finishing one short of matching a school record at the time. She also posted 24 points, including a career-high nine field goals, in the victory at Clemson and finished with 20 vs. BYU and 21 at Washington State. She ranks second on the team and 10th in the Big West Conference at 14.9 points per game and is second in the league with 52 3-pointers, the sixth-most in school history for a single season. Lister is also averaging 3.1 assists, the 10th-best average in the conference, 2.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game.
Mahl-Knechting the Dots
Junior Camille Mahlknecht needs three rebounds to move into 10th in school history with 515 career boards. A 6-3 center from Agoura, Calif., Mahlknecht averages a team-high 6.6 rebounds per game and has led the squad in rebounds 12 times this season. Earlier this season, she set a new school record in blocks by recording the 150th of her career in the contest vs. NAU. She finished with a season-high six rejections to go with 10 points and nine boards against the Lumberjacks. For the season, Mahlknecht is averaging 6.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and a league-leading 2.6 blocks per game. She averaged 9.5 points, 10.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocks in the Matadors' victories over Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara; she matched a season best with a team-high 12 rebounds vs. Cal Poly and her 13 points vs. the Gauchos were her most since the season opener at Sacramento State. As of Feb. 2, Mahlknecht ranks 24th in Division I in blocks per game after checking in at 25th in her sophomore campaign.
The Bernadette Fong Show
Sophomore Bernadette Fong scored 14 points and tied a career high with 11 rebounds in the win at UC Riverside, her second double-double of the year. She scored a career-high 16 points and seven field goals in the Matadors' victory at UC Santa Barbara and played a career-high 19 minutes and grabbed six rebounds in the victory over the Gauchos. For the season, Fong is averaging 6.2 points and 5.4 rebounds per game and has scored in double figures six times. She posted 10 points on a career-high five field goals in 16 minutes vs. USC and produced the first double-double of her career in the game against Utah State, scoring 12 points, including a career-high four free throws, to go with 10 rebounds.
Georgia On My Mind
Junior Randi Friess continues to make hustle plays in her third season on the team. She tied a career high with nine rebounds in the win at UC Riverside and had eight boards vs. Saint Mary's to go with nine at Oregon. Offensively, she finished with a season-high 11 points in the Matadors' win over NAU and added seven points and had three rebounds in the win vs. USC. Friess dished out a career-high four assists to go along with a season-high nine points in the win at Clemson. Over her Matador career, Friess has averaged 3.5 points and 3.8 rebounds. Last year, she surpassed both figures by averaging 4.6 points and 4.1 rebounds. This season, she is averaging 3.2 points and 4.4 rebounds through 22 games.
From Diamonds to Keys
Senior Mikayla Thielges continues to impress in her only season of Division I women's basketball. She is third on the team in rebounding at 4.8 per game and 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. She also had a game-high 13 boards at Montana State and is averaging nearly two offensive rebounds per game. Thielges scored a career-high 10 points on 5-of-5 shooting from the field in the game against Santa Clara. A pickup from the CSUN softball program, where she was a two-time All-Big West catcher, Thielges is also averaging 3.4 points per game on 53.3 percent shooting from the field.
Jumping Jasmine Johnson
Sophomore Jasmine Johnson made the second start of her career vs. Long Beach State and finished with four points and five rebounds. She recorded a career-high 10 points and five field goals vs. Eastern Washington to go with a season-high six rebounds and her first career blocked shot. Johnson added six points off the bench in the victory at Georgia Southern and is shooting 46.9 percent from the field. She is averaging 2.3 points and 2.4 rebounds per game.
Thou Shalt Steal
The Matadors have totaled 849 steals over the past two-plus seasons, an average of 9.9 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 set a new school record with her 214th career steal in the Matadors' win at UCD. Joining Guay is fellow junior Janae Sharpe, who has more career steals (115) than career fouls (102).
On the Rebound
The Matadors have grabbed 901 rebounds through 22 games, an average of 41.0 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 314 offensive rebounds for the year, an average of 14.3 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 UC Riverside. Camille Mahlknecht registered a season-high 12 boards against Utah State and in the Matadors' win over UCSB and had 10 in wins vs. USC and UC Davis.