Northridge Faces Cal Poly in Big West Showdown

Feb. 16, 2011

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

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Matadors Host Mustangs with Playoff Implications at Stake

The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (3-22, 3-9 Big West) has just one game ahead on the weekly slate, but it's a big one: a meeting with league-leading Cal Poly on Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. in The Matadome. Winners of two of their last three, the Matadors have placed themselves back into contention for a berth in the Big West Tournament.

Last week, Northridge rebounded from a tough loss at Long Beach State to post a 71-65 victory over Cal State Fullerton. In the victory over the Titans, junior Jasmine Erving scored a career and conference-high 35 points on 15-of-28 shooting from the field. Violet Alama also had a big game against the Titans, finishing just shot of a triple-double by posting 17 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.

The other big news for Nothridge was that Erving reached 1,000 career points midway through the game with Cal State Fullerton. She became just the ninth player in school history to reach the milestone and now stands at 1,016 for her career. She was named Big West Player of the Week for her efforts, the first Matador to receive the award during the 2010-11 season.

This week, with just four conference games left on the docket, CSUN hosts conference-leading Cal Poly. The Mustangs have won the past eight meetings between the schools, including a 30-point victory in San Luis Obispo, Calif., earlier in the season. At 10-1 in the Big West Conference, Cal Poly has already clinched home-court advantage for the Big West Tournament and will host one of the quarterfinal match-ups at Mott Gym. The Mustangs bring in an 8-5 road record for the season.

CSUN closes out the season with two of their final three Big West games at home and needs to defend home court against a tough and talented Mustang squad.

CSUN's Dr. J -- Big West Player of the Week

Junior Jasmine Erving was named Big West Player of the Week on Feb. 14 after posting a career-high 35 points in the Matadors' 71-65 win over Cal State Fullerton. With her 19th point in the game against the Titans, Erving also became just the ninth player in school history to reach 1,000 career points. In all, she finished 15-of-28 from the field (.536) and added eight rebound, two assists, two blocks and a steal in 35 minutes of action against Fullerton. Erving now stands at 1,016 points in her two-plus seasons at Cal State Northridge, an average of 12.5 points per game.

For the season, Erving is averaging a career-high 15.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. Those averages ranks third and fourth in the conference, respectively. In league games, those averages jump to 19.1 ppg and 8.3 rpg. Only a junior, Erving has already left an indelible mark in the Matadors' record books. She now ranks ninth in career points (1,016), sixth in career field goals (409) and third in career blocked shots (100). She broke a three-way tie for third in school history with two blocked shots in the Matadors' loss to Long Beach State earlier in the week. In that game, a 74-64 loss, Erving posted 12 points and seven rebounds.

Climbing the Charts with Hawaiian Punch

Senior Analee Viena-Lota continues to leave an imprint in the record books at Cal State Northridge during her final season. She scored 15 points in the Matadors' loss at Long Beach State and is now averaging a career-high 8.3 points and 5.7 rebounds on the season. In the Matadors' career record books, Viena-Lota ranks seventh in career rebounds (529), fifth in career minutes (2.680) and fifith in career starts (80). She added 13 points and tied a career high with three 3-pointers in the Matadors' win against the UC Irvine Anteaters. Viena-Lota posted her eighth career double-double in the Matadors' loss to UC Santa Barbara, finishing with 10 points and 10 rebounds. She had a career-high 16 rebounds, tied for the fourth-most by a Big West individual in the 2010-11 season, against Oregon State.

Roses are Blue, Violets are Matador Red

Sophomore Violet Alama had a strong week for the Matadors in their two games last week. At Long Beach State, Alama finished with a team-high 23 points by knocking down a career-high three 3-pointers and finishing a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line. In CSUN's win over Cal State Fullerton, Alama just missed a triple-double by recording 17 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high eight assists. She has led the Matadors in scoring, including a career-high 32 points against Eastern Michigan in her return home to Hawai'i, on six occasions and in rebounding five times. For the season, Alama is averaging 11.0 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. She ranks eighth in the Big West in free throw percentage (.802; 77-of-96) and 14th in rebounding.

Haley's Comet

Freshman Haley White now stands at third in the Big West Conference with 90 assists for the season, an average of 3.6 per game. She had a huge offensive game for CSUN in its win at UC Irvine. Against the Anteaters, White set new season highs for points (17), field goals (6) and 3-pointers (4). She White also ranks fifth in the Big West in steals, having recorded 45 thefts for an average of 1.8 per game. She had a season-high 10 assists to just one turnover in the Matadors' overtime win at Pacific. For the season, White is also averaging 5.0 points and 3.3 rebounds.

Seattle's Finest

Sophomore Amanda Thomson tied a career high with four assists against UC Irvine. She has not wasted any time since returning the Matadors' rotation. Against the Gauchos, her first game in a month, Thomson scored a team-high 13 points in just 19 minutes off the bench. She is now averaging 6.5 points while shooting 41.1 percent (37-of-90) from the field. In Big West games, Thomson is averaging 7.4 ppg and 2.4 rpg.

Scouting Cal Poly

In their only game of the week, the Matadors face the league-leading Cal Poly Mustangs. At 10-1 in the Big West standings, Cal Poly has played three of its past four conference games on the road. Their only blemish in the league slate was a 81-61 loss at UC Davis on Feb. 3. Rachel Clancy is the team's leading scorer, averaging an even 16 points per game. She also averages 5.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists per contest and has made 59 3-pointers this season. Abby Bloetscher is averaging 11 ppg and is the team's leading rebounder at 7.3 rpg. As a team, the Mustangs are shooting 42.4 percent from the field, 38.2 percent from 3-point range and 74.1 percent from the free throw line. In fact, Cal Poly's top six shooters are all shooting over 41 percent from the field for the year and since the start of Big West play, the Mustangs are shooting for higher percentages in all three categories. In their first meeting of the season, the Mustangs posted an 82-52 victory over the Matadors on Jan. 22. Analee Viena-Lota scored 16 and Bridgette Conejo finished with 13, but the Matadors could not overcome a season-high 29 turnovers. For CSUN, the loss was cemented in a first half to forget. The Matadors turned the ball over 20 times in the first 20 minutes and shot 30.4 percent (7-of-23) from the field. Viena-Lota had five points as Cal Poly led 38-20 at the break.

Recapping Last Week

The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team rebounded from a 74-64 loss at Long Beach State to post a 71-65 victory over Cal State Fullerton and jump back into the Big West Tournament race. Against the 49ers, Violet Alama led the Matadors with 23 points, but CSUN could not hold on to a halftime lead in the loss. After leading for most of the first half, Northridge watched Long Beach State come out and control the early part of the second. The 49ers quickly erased a four-point deficit and went on a 23-7 run in the first eight minutes of the second half. Alama finished with a team-high 23 points, including a career-high three 3-pointers. She added six rebounds and was a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line. Three days later, Jasmine Erving led CSUN with a career-high 35 points, becoming just the ninth player in school history to amass 1,000 career points. The Matadors carried a one point lead into halftime and quickly overcame a small deficit in the second half to earn their third league win of the season and snap a 16-game home losing streak. Erving also finished with eight rebounds, two assists, two blocked shots and a steal in 35 minutes of action. Alama also had a strong game for CSUN, finishing just two assists shy of a triple-double. She posted 17 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high eight assists in 35 minutes of action. Janet Alvarado posted seven rebounds and made her first 3-pointer of the season for CSUN. Analee Viena-Lota tied a career high with five assists and added six rebounds.