New Year Brings New Season for Matadors, Hosting Tigers, Aggies in League Play

Jan. 1, 2010

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

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Matadors Open Big West Play with Tigers, Aggies

The real season begins for the Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (2-7) Saturday night when it begins its 2010 Big West Conference campaign with home contests against Pacific and UC Davis. At stake for the Matadors is a berth into the Big West Conference Tournament in Anaheim. To do so will require an eighth-place finish in the league, a 16-game slate that begins with the Tigers and Aggies.

The holiday season ended on a sour note for CSUN, who dropped a 47-46 game to South Dakota on a buzzer-beater. Although the Matadors led for the entire game, they could not hit their free throws, finishing 1-of-11, and watched the Coyotes slip away with the victory.

Still, the loss means little to the Matadors, who know that their 2009-10 season will be judged by their performance against conference foes. That road starts with a pair of teams on opposite sides of the standings after non-conference play. At 7-5, UC Davis sits near atop the league while Pacific is near the bottom at 2-8.

Despite the loss to South Dakota, head coach Staci Schulz saw some encouraging individual performances. Sophomore Jasmine Erving posted her fourth career double-double, finishing with 11 points and a career-high 13 rebounds. Spurred into the line-up due to injuries, freshman Violet Alama had a season-high seven rebounds and three blocks.

Matadors On the Airwaves

All Matador women's basketball games are broadcast on GoMatadors.com and hosted by IBSU.net. Dave Caldwell is in his second season as the play-by-play voice of the Matadors. All Big West Conference games are also streamed live on BigWest.TV for a determined fee.

Scouting Pacific

Pacific makes its annual trip to the San Fernando Valley to tip off the Big West Conference season. The Tigers defeated Saint Mary's, 70-63, on Dec. 29 to snap a seven-game losing streak. Christine Thompson came off the bench to score 17 points and grab eight rebounds in the victory.

Jennifer Fath leads Pacific in scoring, averaging 10.4 points while shooting 44.8 percent from the field. Thompson is posting 9.5 points and 4.6 rebounds in her eight appearances this season, while Kendall Rodriguez, Eliza Dy and Jasmine Dana are all averaging around seven points per game. Emma Head ranks seventh in the Big West with an average of 6.4 rebounds.

As a team, Pacific ranks sixth in both scoring offense (61.5) and scoring defense (71.1). Both the team's 36.5 field goal percentage and 58 percent free throw rate rank as the worst marks in the league. The Tigers do rebound the ball well, ranking third in the league at a game average of 37.7, including an league high 16 offensive boards per game.

The Matadors own an 8-12 all-time record against Pacific. They are 6-4 in The Matadome and 2-8 in Stockton. CSUN won the last game in the series, a 70-61 victory that helped CSUN clinch a berth into the Big West Tournament. Northridge has won six of the past seven games played in the series played at The Matadome, their only loss a 66-52 decision on Feb. 7, 2008.

Scouting UC Davis

UC Davis arrives to The Matadome Monday night, bringing a 7-5 record that ranks second in the conference at the beginning of league play. The Aggies have dropped their past two games, losing at Seton Hall, 58-54, and at home gainst Kansas State, 79-53. Before that, they had reeled of five-straight wins, including three away from home.

The Aggies bring in a balanced offensive attack with Paige Mintun leading the team in scoring at 10.9 ppg. However, she has missed the past four games with a foot injury. Heidi Heintz is the other Aggie in double-figures, posting 10.8 ppg and a team-high 4.3 rebounds. Courtney French and Kasey Riecks have combined for 45 3-pointers at a 43-percent rate.

UC Davis ranks first in the league in scoring defense, allowing opponents an average of only 60.1 points in its 12 contests. The Aggies also lead the league in team free throw percentage, having made 159-of-211 attempts and a 75.4 percent rate. However, they do rank last in the league in rebounding offense at only 30.8 rpg, and rebounding margin at -7.2 rebounds per game.

The Matadors are 10-10 in the all-time series against UC Davis. They defeated the Aggies 64-56 in the opening round of the Big West Tournament in March. However, Northridge is 4-4 in home contests against UC Davis, having won only once (Jan. 18, 2007, 73-62) in their last four games in the San Fernando Valley. CSUN has not won in Davis since the 2005 season (Feb. 26, 76-68 OT).

CSUN's Very Own Dr. J

Sophomore Jasmine Erving continues to lead the Matadors in scoring, averaging 13.5 points-per-game and ranking among the top scorers in the Big West Conference. She finished with her fourth career double-double against South Dakota, scoring 11 points to go with a career-high 13 rebounds. She is now averaging a team-high 6.0 rebounds and also leads the team with 12 blocks and a 81.8 percent free throw percentage (18-of-22).

Roses are Blue, Violets are Red?

Freshman Violet Alama made an impromptu start for the Matadors against the Coyotes and responded with tough defense and a season-high seven rebounds and three blocked shots. For the season, she ranks third on the team with 41 rebounds and has made three starts while averaging 20.6 minutes.

Conejo Brings More than Lucky Feet to CSUN

Sophomore Bridgette Conejo comes into the weekend averaging 12.6 points and 5.9 rebounds, both numbers easily setting new career highs. She has hit 13 3-pointers on the year, draining seven against Prairie View A&M to tie a school record. She is also second on the team with 38 free throw attempts and 16 steals.

CSUN's Flyin Hawaiian

Freshman Janelle Nomura enters her first season in the Big West averaging 9.1 points, the third-best average on the team. In addition to the scoring, she is second on the team with 26 assists and leads the Matadors with 15 offensive rebounds. She has shown quite a knack for getting to the free throw line, leading the team with 51 attempts, including a 14-of-17 performance at the charity stripe against New Mexico State.

Stay Off the Train Tracks

Despite missing the South Dakota game to injury, senior Katrina Thompson continues to be the heart and soul of the Matadors in 2009-10, averaging 7.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.3 steals. Against Miami, Thompson had a game-high 14 points and a career-high three 3-pointers and seven assists. She also tied a career best with seven steals against the RedHawks. Thompson ranks among the conference leaders in steals (2.3), assists (3.4) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.2).

Matadors Vs. Pacific

The Matadors own an 8-12 all-time record against Pacific. They are 6-4 in The Matadome and 2-8 in Stockton. CSUN won the last game in the series, a 70-61 victory that helped CSUN clinch a berth into the Big West Tournament. Northridge has won six of the past seven games played in the series played at The Matadome, their only loss a 66-52 decision on Feb. 7, 2008.

Matadors Vs. UC Davis

The Matadors are 10-10 in the all-time series against UC Davis. They defeated the Aggies 64-56 in the opening round of the Big West Tournament in March. However, Northridge is 4-4 in home contests against UC Davis, having won only once (Jan. 18, 2007, 73-62) in their last four games in the San Fernando Valley. CSUN has not won in Davis since the 2005 season (Feb. 26, 76-68 OT).

First Things First

The Matadors' 62-61 victory at San Jose State was CSUN's first non-conference road win in November in their last 19 opportunities. In fact, the last November victory for the Matadors also came at the expense of the Spartans, a 66-63 decision on Nov. 17, 2005. CSUN is just 4-28 in November games since the start of the 2005-06 season.

Sayonara School Records

Just eight games into the season, the Matadors have already seen several noteworthy individual performances that have made a mark in the school's record book. Janelle Nomura recorded the third-most free throw completions and attempts when she finished 14-of-17 from the charity stripe against New Mexico State.

Two days later, Bridgette Conejo tied a school record with seven 3-pointer against Prairie View A&M. The sophomore 7-of-10 from the field, tying the previous mark which had been set on three previous occasions. The seven 3-pointers helped Conejo set a new career high with 26 points.

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