Conference tourney time for Matadors

Ivan Yeo

The CSUN women’s basketball team starts its quest for the Big West Conference Championship this afternoon at the Anaheim Convention Center. All that’s left to determine is their opponent.

The Matadors received a bye into the quarterfinals of the Big West Conference tournament by finishing in fourth place in the Big West Conference with a record of 9-5. The third and fourth seeds receive a bye into the quarterfinals, meaning the Matadors will start playing at the Anaheim Convention Center on Thursday at 2 p.m. or thirty minutes after the earlier semifinal game.

CSUN’s opponent on today is yet to be determined. The Matadors will face the second-lowest remaining seed from Wednesday’s first round games, though fifth-seeded Cal State Fullerton could be the most likely opponent for the Matadors this afternoon. The Titans won both games against the Matadors this season, the first being a 78-73 decision at the Matadome on Jan. 4 and the second an 86-79 win at Titan Gym on Feb. 10. The Matadors played that game without Ofa Tulikihihifo, who sat out with an ankle injury. Fullerton faced last-seeded Pacific on Wednesday afternoon. CSUN could also face the winner of the match-up between Sixth-seeded Long Beach State and seventh seeded UC Irvine should Pacific upset Fullerton. Should the Matadors win on Thursday, they will face either top-seeded UC Riverside in the semifinals on Friday at 12 noon or second-seeded UC Santa Barbara later that day thirty minutes after the first semifinal game.

Four players were named to the All-Big West team this past Monday. Tulikihihifo and senior guard/forward LaJoyce King were named to the first team. Junior center Katie Holloway and senior guard Jamie McCaa received honorable mention awards. Tulikihihifo was named to the conference’s first team for the fourth time in her Northridge career after leading the team in scoring at 15.4 points per game. Tulikihihifo, who became Northridge’s all-time leading scorer last December, became just the third player in conference history to land on the first team for four seasons. King was a force on offense but also on the boards, as she averaged 10.7 rebounds per game this season. Her efforts also won her the conference’s best hustle player award.

Holloway, who also won the Big West’s sixth player of the year award for the second straight year, averaged 8.3 points and 4.9 rebounds a game despite missing 10 games with a finger injury. McCaa averaged 13.2 points and 3.9 assists this season and is just three assists shy of becoming the programs’ all-time leader in assists.