LONG BEACH, Calif. ---
For the first time in program history, the Cal State Northridge women's basketball team are Big West Champions. The Matadors (16-14, 12-4 Big West) defeated Long Beach State 52-49 Thursday evening in a Big West contest at Walter Pyramid. Bernadette Fong scored 12, Cinnamon Lister added 11 and Janae Sharpe pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds as CSUN completed the season sweep of the 49ers.
The win gives CSUN the Big West regular season title outright and the 12 conference wins are the most by the Matadors in its Big West history. CSUN will be the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Big West Tournament and will play in a semifinal at 12 p.m. on Friday, Mar. 14 at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
Neither team will look back on Thursday's contest as an offensive showcase. CSUN shot 27.3 percent (18-of-66) from the field compared to 29.3 percent (17-of-58) for Long Beach State. The two teams combined to shoot 9-of-42 (.214) in the game.
Still, CSUN held a nine-point lead at halftime (31-22) and built it up to 12 points early in the second half. Playing on its Senior Day, Long Beach State answered with an 11-0 run to trim the deficit to one point.
From there, the teams traded leads until Fong hit a key lay-up with less than a minute to play. With 11 seconds left and the 49ers down one, Breeyon Alexander stole a pass and Lister knocked down two free throws to seal the victory.
Fong was 6-of-9 from the field and had six rebounds and a steal in 12 minutes off the bench. Lister canned two 3-pointers and had two rebounds in 31 minutes of action.
Sharpe had 11 rebounds, 10 of which were on the defensive glass, and had seven points and a career-high three blocks. Camille Mahlknecht had three blocks to tie the school record with 93 blocks this season.
Both teams finished with 18 turnovers in the contest. CSUN's bench outscored LBSU's 21-16 and the Matadors had 16 second-chance points.
Hallie Meneses led the 49ers with 11 points. Ella Clark had 10 points.
The Matadors will now wait to see whom they play in Anaheim. The first two rounds of the tournament (Mar. 12 and Mar. 13) will be held at Walter Pyramid and feature the No. 3- No. 8 seeds in the final standings.