Matadors Host Tigers, Aggies to Open Second Half of League Play

Matadors Host Tigers, Aggies to Open Second Half of League Play
This Week's Matador Women's Basketball Release

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. --- Returning home for the first time in over three weeks, the Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (0-18, 0-8 BWC) opens the second half of its Big West schedule, hosting Pacific (2/7, 7 p.m.) and UC Davis (2/9, 7 p.m.). Over the past two games, freshman Analee Viena-Lota has posted consecutive double-doubles, including a team season-best 13 rebounds against Cal State Fullerton in a 59-55 loss.

The Matadors enter Thursday's contest against the Aggies having nearly defeated the Titans after leading for most of the game. In addition to Viena-Lota's effort, senior Katie Holloway scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the fifth double-double of her career.

From the field, Northridge is shooting 34.5 percent from the field while opponents are hitting at a 43 percent clip. CSUN connects on 25.6 percent of its 3-point attempts compared to a 35.3 percent rate for its opponents. For the season, Northridge forces opponents into an average of 19 turnovers per game and has registered more blocked shots than its opponents (83-51).

A native of Honolulu, Hawai'i, Viena-Lota posted 10 points and 12 rebounds against UC Irvine on Jan. 31 before scoring 10 and grabbing the 13 boards versus the Titans. The rookie was especially effective on the offensive glass, collecting nine rebounds and scoring on several second-chance opportunities.

Since Big West action has started, Viena-Lota has averaged 4.8 ppg and 6.8 rpg, the 10th highest in the conference. Earlier in the season she spotted 21 points and nine rebounds against Cal St. Bakersfield on Dec. 19.

Junior Crystal Hahs continues to be a dominating defensive presence for the Matadors, leading the Big West Conference with 46 blocks, the second-most in school history for a single season. Hahs' average of 2.6 blocks per game ranks 20th in the nation and she has 22 more blocks than her nearest competition in the conference, which happens to be Holloway. She is also the school record holder at 103 and has had at least three blocks in her past five games.

In addition to her defensive presence, Hahs has become proficient on the offensive end, averaging new career highs in points (7.9) and rebounds (4.9). In the first meeting with UC Davis this season, Hahs scored a career-high 17 points and is averaging 9.9 ppg in conference action.

Teaming with Hahs up front for the Matadors all season has been Holloway, who is eighth in the conference in scoring at 12.4 per game and third in rebounding at 7.5 per game. Holloway has 26 blocks this season and trails only Hahs on the all-time list with 98 in her career.

Pacific enters Thursday's contest having dropped three of its past four games. The Tigers fell to UC Davis, 58-54, on Feb. 2. The Tigers defeated Northridge, 79-73, in their first meeting this season. In the game, CSUN junior Whitney Ligon tied a school record with 40 points on 12-of-20 shooting.

Three Tigers are averaging double-figures this season. Janae Young leads the team averaging 12.2 ppg and pulling down 7.2 rpg. Karen Dawkins and Andrea Swanson are second on the team at 10.7 ppg. The team is shooting 41.3 percent from the field.

UC Davis comes to Northridge on Saturday, having played Long Beach State on Feb. 7. The Aggies have lost two of their past three games, though they did defeat Pacific on Feb. 2. Jessica Campbell leads UC Davis in scoring, averaging 15 ppg on 52.9 percent shooting from the field, the top mark in the conference. Haylee Donaghe is second on the team at 12.6 ppg.

UC Davis defeated Northridge, 76-60, in the first meeting between the schools this year. In the game, Hahs set a new career high with 17 points. Saturday's game against UC Davis will be CSUN's "Think Pink" game for breast cancer awareness and will feature a ceremony honoring breast cancer survivors.

Northridge heads back out on the road next week, traveling to UC Riverside on Feb. 16 (5 p.m.) for its only game of the week. The Highlanders defeated Northridge, 67-48, in Northridge on Jan. 16.

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