Coming out strong, the Matadors (11-10, 5-4 Big West) built an early lead but their momentum was unable to last as they eventually fell to Big West Conference foe Hawai’i (10-10, 6-3), 65-53 Saturday at the Matadome.
The Rainbow Wahine looked overpowered from the start as CSUN scored the first nine points, while also managing to hold Hawai’i scoreless through the first five minutes of the game.
Hawai’i did not stay silent for long, as they stayed within striking distance. Northridge was never able to put the game out of reach, and the Rainbow Wahine kept fightint to keep the game close.
“They were playing hard, we were playing hard,” said sophomore guard Ashlee Guay. “We weren’t finishing our second chances so they kept staying with us.”
Guay led all scorers with 22 points and was the only Matador in double digits.
Holding the lead for the majority of the first half, Northridge lost the it with four seconds left before halftime. The teams headed into the locker room with CSUN trailing 34-33.
The Rainbow Wahine’s lead wouldn’t last long. Coming out of the locker room, The Matadors showed renewed life and retook the lead 11 seconds into the second half.
Just as Hawai’i’s lead before, the CSUN was not destined to hold onto it for long. Northridge tied the game again at 40, but would never mount another threat again. Shooting 21 percent for the second half, Northridge was outscored 31-20.
“The one thing they were able to do was get the ball inside to (Hawai’i junior forward) Kamilah Martin,” said head coach Jason Flowers, on Hawai’i’s stategy throughout the game. “She had as much impact on the game as anybody. Being able to score and get to the free throw line, I thought she controlled the tempo more than any one player on any team.”
CSUN led the scoring 26-20 in the paint, but Northridge’s three-point shooting — it’s main weapon — was cold all night. Hitting only 4-24 of their three-pointers, the Matadors shot 16 percent for the game, only making one in the second half.
Sharpshooting freshman guard Marta Masoni was held scoreless from behind the arc, going 0-7.
“I think that a lot of our success depends on how well we are shooting the ball,” said senior forward Violet Alama. “We weren’t shooting it that well tonight, and we weren’t finishing inside when we got offensive rebounds either.”
CSUN crashed the boards all night, keeping the Rainbow Wahine off-balance, but couldn’t turn those rebounds into points. Having won the overall advantage on the boards 42-39, CSUN lost the second-chance battle 11-9.
“I thought we did do a good job of rebounding the basketball, especially on the offense end,” Flowers said. “With as many shots as we missed, for us to still win the rebounding battle I think says what we were able to do on the boards in a sense.”
A physical game, both teams were in foul trouble throughout. CSUN led in fouls, 21-17, and sent the Rainbow Wahine to the line 31 times on the night. Hawai’i shot 80 percent, leading to 25 easy points.