Northridge Opens New Season with Home Game against Pepperdine, Tournament in Hawai'i

Nov. 15, 2010

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

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Northridge Faces Two Postseason Teams to Start 2010-11 Season

The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team (0-0) opens its 2010-11 season with a home contest against Pepperdine on Nov. 17, and then travels to the Hawaiian Islands to participate in the Jack in the Box Rainbow Wahine Classic on the campus of the University of Hawai'i. At the event, the Matadors will face Hawai'i (Nov. 19), Oregon State (Nov. 20) and Eastern Michigan (Nov. 21).

The first games of the new season also usher in a new era for the Matadors, as head coach Jason Flowers begins his first season at the helm of the program. He and his staff have brought a renewed energy and focus to the program and the Matadors have responded with a strong preseason.

At Flowers' disposal will be 11 returning letterwinners and four starters from a year ago. Junior Jasmine Erving led the team in scoring at an average of 13.6 points-per-game en route to All-Big West Second Team honors. Another junior, Bridgette Conejo, averaged an even 10.0 ppg and the team's lone four-year senior, Analee Viena-Lota, averaged career highs in points (7.9), rebounds (5.4) and assists (1.9) in her junior season.

CSUN's Own Dr. J

Junior Jasmine Erving enters her third season on the heels of a sophomore campaign that saw her earn a spot on the All-Big West Second Team after leading the Matadors in points and blocks per game. In addition to six career double-figure rebound games and six career double-doubles, the Huntington Beach native has scored in double-figures 30 times through her first two seasons. She set a new career high with 31 points at Cal Poly on Feb. 20, 2010, helping her earn Big West Player of the Week honors. Erving also blocked 34 shots last season, giving her 67 for her career and placing her eighth on the all-time career blocked shots list at CSUN.

Hawaiian Punch

As the only four-year senior on the CSUN roster, Analee Viena-Lota will be expected to provide a lot for the Matadors, both on and off the court. Viena-Lota comes into her senior season after a junior campaign that saw her average 7.0 points and 5.4 rebounds per contest, and her 37 steals were the second-most on the team. Not just an interior scoring threat, Viena-Lota knocked down 17 3-pointers last season, good for third-most on the team. She scored a season-high 17 points, including a career-high three 3-pointers, against Gonzaga on Dec. 6, 2009, last year and had back-to-back double-doubles against UC Davis (13 points and 11 rebounds) and Pacific (13 points and a career-high 14 rebounds) to end the season.

CSUN's Flyin Hawaiian

Sophomore Janelle Nomura enters her second season with high hopes after a freshman campaign that saw her start 16 games, average 6.9 points and earn a spot on the Big West All-Freshman team. Her 82 assists were good for second-most on the team while her .732 free throw shooting percentage was the third-best amongst all Matadors. In the very first game of her collegiate career, Nomura knocked down 14 free throws and scored a career-high 20 points against New Mexico State on Nov. 13, 2009. The Honolulu product's freshman season ended almost as well as it began, as Nomura scored 10 points and handed out five assists in the final game of the season at Pacific on Mar. 6.

Seattle's Finest

Sophomore Amanda Thomson begins her sophomore season looking to build off some of the strong showings that came in her freshman year. Thomson scored in double figures four times, including a 17-point, seven-field goal performance in the final game of the season against Pacific. Her 15 3-pointers were the fourth-most on the team and the most amongst Matador freshman, with three of them coming in a single game against Cal State Bakersfield. The Seattle product had a flawless game shooting the ball against San Jose State, scoring seven points and hitting all of her shots from the field and the foul line.

Roses are Blue, Violets are Matador Red

Big things are expected out of sophomore Violet Alama in her second season for the Matadors, thanks in large part to the way she ended her first. Alama capped off her freshman year by matching her career high with 15 points and setting a new career high in rebounds with 17 in the final game of the season against Pacific on Mar. 6, 2010. Of those 17 boards, ten came on the offensive end, good for the second-best offensive rebounding performance in school history. Her 148 rebounds were the second-most on the team, as were her 26 blocks. The Honolulu native also scored 15 points on six field goals against Long Beach State on Feb. 6, 2010.

Conejo Brings More than Lucky Feet to CSUN

Junior Bridgette Conejo is coming off a sophomore season that saw her put up some very impressive numbers on the offensive end of the floor. Since coming to Northridge, Conejo has hit double figures in scoring on 17 different occasions. Included in that total is a 26-point effort against Prairie View A&M on Nov. 15, 2009, that included seven shots from behind the 3-point arc, tying a school record. Another big performance for Conejo came against UC Riverside on Feb. 4, 2010, when she hit five treys en route to a 19-point performance. By the end of the season, the junior from San Pedro had led the team in scoring nine times and knocked down 32 3-pointers, giving her 41 for her career, 23 away from tying Lynda Amari and Sha'Tasha Allen for ninth-place on CSUN's all-time list.

Simmons Toast Crunch

The Matadors will rely heavily on senior Anna Simmons' leadership and experience throughout the 2010-11 campaign. As one of only two seniors on the Matador roster, Simmons' ball handling and shooting prowess should serve as a major asset for the young CSUN squad. Simmons shot .375 from 3-point range in her first season with the Matadors and saw substantial action for the team down the stretch. The Simi Valley native played a key role in the Matadors' 72-64 victory at Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 13, 2010. Against the Titans, Simmons scored a season-high eight points and added five free throws and six rebounds.

Scheduling Story

The Matadors will certainly face a strong group of competition in Coach Flowers' first season at the helm. Northridge will play a total of nine postseason teams from the 2009-10 season, including five squads that qualified for the WNIT. As a whole, CSUN's non-conference opponents posted a 257-212 (.548) record last year and four of those teams posted at least 20 wins last year.

Northridge vs. Pepperdine

The Matadors open the 2010-11 season with a familiar foe in the Pepperdine Waves. The two teams have met a total of 24 times on the hardwood with Pepperdine owning a 21-3 advantage in the series. CSUN is 2-7 against the Waves in games at The Matadome with its last win coming on Nov. 20, 1999 in a 69-62 decision. The Waves finished 20-12 in 2009-10 and participated in the WNIT.

Northridge vs. Hawai'i

The Matadors' first opponent in Hawai'i will be the host Rainbow Wahine. Hawai'i and CSUN have met twice on the hardwood in women's hoops with Hawai'i taking both contests. The two teams last played on Dec. 5, 2006, a 72-61 Hawai'i victory at the Matadome. The Rainbow Wahine finished 2009-10 with a 10-20 record.

Northridge vs. Oregon State

For just the second time in the program's history, the Matadors will take on the Beavers of Oregon State. CSUN won the only game in the series, a 62-53 decision on Nov. 29, 1996. Since that win, the Matadors are 0-14 against Pac 10 opposition. The Beavers finished 2009-10 with an 11-20 overall record.

Northridge vs. Eastern Michigan

The Matadors' third and final opponent in Hawai'i is Eastern Michigan. The two teams have played twice in their respective history, with the two teams splitting the contests. CSUN won the last meeting, taking a 69-59 victory on Nov. 26, 2005. Eastern Michigan was 22-9 in 2009-10 and earned a berth in the WNIT.