Northridge Hosts UC Davis, Pacific with Conference Tournament Berth at Stake
March 1, 2011
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
Matadors Say Goodbye to Four Student-Athlete in Final Home Games
The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (4-24, 4-10 Big West) plays its final two home games of the 2010-11 season this week, hosting UC Davis on Thursday, Mar. 3 at 7 p.m. and Pacific on Saturday, Mar. 5 at 4 p.m. After the game with the Tigers, the Matadors will honor four of its student-athletes who will be playing the final home game of their careers: Analee Viena-Lota, Bianca Davies, Janet Alvarado and Anna Simmons.
At 4-10 in the Big West Conference standings, the Matadors are in the driver's seat to earn a berth into the league's postseason tournament. Because there are nine teams in the Big West, the league cuts the ninth-place team from postseason competition. CSUN currently stands in eighth place, owning a one-game lead in the loss column over Pacific. If the Matadors defeat UC Davis Thursday, they are guaranteed to qualify for the tournament after missing it last season.
If the Matadors cannot win Thursday night, it sets up a showdown with Pacific on Mar. 3 with the winner advancing to the Big West Tournament. The past three contests between the two schools have gone to overtime, including a 74-68 CSUN victory on Dec. 31, 2010. In that game, Analee Viena-Lota led the Matadors with a season-high 18 points as head coach Jason Flowers picked up his first career victory.
Among those playing in their final two home games for Northridge, Viena-Lota checks in among the school's career leaders in starts, minutes played and rebounds. Simmons is coming off one of her best weeks of action, setting numerous season highs last week. Davies has recuperated from a tough knee injury to appear in seven league games thus far. Finally, Alvarado, in her first and only season with CSUN after spending two years as a member of the Matadors' women's volleyball program, led CSUN with 16 points and 10 rebounds in their victory over first-place Cal Poly.
Climbing the Charts with Hawaiian Punch
Senior Analee Viena-Lota will play the final two home games of her career hoping to lead the Matadors back to the Big West Tournament. For the season, Viena-Lota is averaging 7.9 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. In the Matadors' record books, Viena-Lota ranks seventh in career rebounds (543), fifth in career minutes (2,777) and is tied for fourth in career starts (83). 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 in January, 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.
Simmons Toast Crunch
Senior Anna Simmons had a productive week for the Matadors in their two games last week as she plays the final two games of her CSUN career this week. At Cal State Bakersfield, Simmons set numerous season highs, including three free throws, six rebounds, three assists and two steals. Two days later, Simmons had a season-high six points and two 3-pointers in the Matadors' loss at UC Santa Barbara. She is averaging 1.3 points, 0.9 rebounds and 0.7 assists per game on the season.
Redshirt Junior Bianca Davies has served as an inspirational figure for the Matadors all season, working tirelessly to overcome several devastating knee injuries that have robbed her of much of her four seasons at CSUN. Still, she has persevered and overcame the obstacles to appear in seven league games for CSUN in 2010-11. At UC Santa Barbara, she had a season-high four points, two free throws, three rebounds and a steal. In the Matadors' loss at Cal State Bakersfield, Davies had a season-high two assists and played a season-high 16 minutes. She is averaging 0.9 points and 0.6 rebounds on the season.
Alvarado Knows Basketball
Senior Janet Alvarado produced her best game in Matadors uniform in CSUN's win over Cal Poly. She set new season highs with 16 points, 10 rebounds, six field goals and three 3-pointers. The double-double, which came in 35 minutes off the bench, was the first of her career. Alvarado joined the Matadors late after completing her second season as a member of the Cal State Northridge women's volleyball team. She is averaging 3.4 points and 3.8 rebounds for the season.
CSUN's Dr. J
Junior Jasmine Erving has moved into seventh in school history with 1,054 carer points, an average of 12.5 points per game in her two-plus seasons with the Matadors. Her 427 points and 168 field goals for the season now ranks ninth and 10th in school history, respectively, for a single season. Erving also moved into the Matadors' career rebounding leaders, now standing at ninth in school history with 505 rebounds. For the season, Erving is averaging a career-high 15.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Those averages ranks third and fifth in the conference, respectively. In league games, those averages jump to 18.0 ppg and 7.7 rpg. She also ranks sixth in career field goals (425) and third in career blocked shots (101). She earned 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.
Freshman Haley White enters the final weekend of the regular season having dished out 101 assists on the season, the second-most dimes in the league. Her average of 3.6 assists per game ranks third in the league and she also checks in at eighth in the league at an average of 1.6 steals thanks to a team-high 46 thefts on the year. She scored a season-high 17 points and four 3-pointers in the Matadors' win at UC Irvine and is averaging 5.1 points and 3.3 rebounds on the season.
Scouting UC Davis
At 19-8 overall and 8-6 in the Big West Conference, UC Davis has assured itself of hosting a Big West Tournament first round game. Thursday's match-up at The Matadome will also represent the final time CSUN will see UC Davis coach Sandy Simpson for a regular season game. A veteran of 14 seasons on the bench for the Aggies, Simpson has guided UC Davis to a third-place NCAA Division II finish in 1997, a successful transition to Division I and the Big West Conference, and appearances in the Women's National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) in 2008 and 2010. On the court, senior Paige Mintun leads the Aggies in scoring and rebounding, averaging 14.0 ppg and 5.9 rpg. As a team, UCD is shooting 41.9 percent from the field, 33.2 percent from 3-point range and 68.1 percent from the free throw line. UCD posted a 78-56 win over CSUN in their previous meeting this year. If Northridge defeats UC Davis, the Matadors are assured of clinching a spot in the Big West Tournament.
The Matadors' final regular season game will center around a pivotal game against Pacific on Saturday, Mar. 5 at 4 p.m. in The Matadome. The Tigers are 7-21 overall and 4-11 in the Big West, currently standing in ninth place and one game behind CSUN. The Tigers dropped their final two home games of the season last week and must defeat the Matadors to have a chance at the Big West Tournament. CSUN toppled Pacific 76-70 in overtime in their first meeting of the season. Danielle Peacon leads the team at 12.1 ppg for the season, while Gena Johnson is averaging 12.4 ppg in the conference season. As a team, Pacific is shooting 38.9 percent from the field, 29.0 percent from 3-point range and 66.1 percent from the free throw line.
Recapping Last Week
The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team dropped both of its games last week, falling 71-46 at Cal State Bakersfield and 71-52 at UC Santa Barbara. Against the Roadrunners, Jasmine Erving just missed a double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds, but turnovers and poor shooting haunted the Matadors in their loss to the Roadrunners. Leading 13-9 midway through the first half, the host Roadrunners closed the opening frame on a 26-9 run to take a 35-22 lead into halftime. The second half proved not much better for CSUN, who could not get any closer than 16 points the rest of the way. CSUN finished with 24 turnovers for the game with every Matador who played except one committing at least one miscue. Coupled with a 28.1 field goal percentage (16-of-57) for the game and it made for a long night for Northridge. Erving and Haley White each scored 13 points for CSUN, but the Matadors could not overcome a slow finish to the first half and start to the second half. The Matadors entered halftime trailing 41-26. At one point, CSUN was down only 26-22, but the Gauchos closed out the opening frame on a 15-4 run. Erving had 13 points and four rebounds at the break to lead Northridge. In the second half, CSUN came out sluggish, eventually falling behind by as many as 30 with four minutes left in the contest. Erving was held scoreless in the second half and the Matadors shot 29.4 percent (10-of-34) from the field.