The Cal State Northridge women’s basketball team remained winless through its first six games with losses on Friday night and Sunday afternoon. Following the theme of blowout losses, the Matadors were downed 91-64 by Portland State and 86-65 by Portland, dropping their record to 6-0 on the season.
Friday night’s game against the Portland State Vikings stayed competitive through the first seven minutes of the game. With just over 13 minutes left in the first half, the Matadors remained close, trailing by just two points, 19-17. But the Vikings closed out the half on a 28-12 run to give themselves a 47-29 halftime lead. Unfortunately for the Matadors, the intermission failed to slow Portland State’s momentum, as the Vikings produced a quick 16-6 run early in the second half, essentially putting the game away.
For the Vikings, senior guard Delaney Conway scored a career-high 29 points and sophomore guard Claire Faucher piled up 17 assists, tying Portland State’s single-game record.
The Vikings shot 50 percent from the field, making 34 of 68 shots and 36 percent from behind the three-point line, making 8 of 22 from long distance.
Northridge shot just 38 percent from the field, making 23 of their 61 attempts, while also shooting defectively from three-point territory, hitting just 4 of 13 shots from behind the arc. Somewhere in between the mostly meager game stats though, the Matadors did collect season-highs in assists (18) and steals (8).
Junior guard Whitney Ligon led the Matadors with a season-high 20 points and her four three-point shots were also a season-high. Senior center Katie Holloway added a season-high 19 points to go along with her seven rebounds. Junior guard Tonicia Tademy played an all-around solid game, putting up six points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals.
By Sunday’s game against the University of Portland, nothing had changed for the Matadors. They saw themselves fall into a large deficit again, trailing 50-27 by halftime.
The Pilots shot 50 percent from the field in the first half, while limiting the Matadors to just 26 percent shooting. Sophomore guard Laiken Dollente finished the half with seven points, seven boards and seven assists for the Pilots.
In the second half Northridge introduced Portland to their full court press. Although the Matadors still lost the game, they accumulated a season-high 11 steals and forced the Pilots into a Northridge-opponent season-high 24 turnovers. The full-court press defense proved to be successful for the Matadors, as they actually won the second half of the game, out-scoring the Pilots 38-36.
Ligon acknowledged defense as a large part of the Matadors’ struggles, with the exception of the second half on Sunday.
“We’re struggling with transition defense,” Ligon said. “Teams are just running on us. Our defense is okay individually, but our team defense needs work.”
For the Pilots, sophomore forward Laura Thomas had a team-high 15 points and Dollente finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in 23 minutes.
For the Matadors, Tademy finished with a season-high 16 points, and Ligon added 14. Freshman guard/forward Charise Hall added eight points and four blocked shots, and Holloway posted 10 points and five rebounds.
After the game, Ligon said the Matador’s 0-6 record wasn’t a good indication of the talent the team poses.
“We’re definitely not playing to our full potential,” she said. “We have a lot of talent on this team. We’re getting blown-out by teams and we’re a much better team than that. We definitely need to step up.”
Hall agreed and added that the season was still early and the Matadors still have a chance to improve their record to a more respectable mark.
“It’s early. We are having a rough start, but I think we just need to get used to playing with each other,” Hall said. “Once we do that, I think we can turn it around.”
The Matadors next game will be at the Matadome against San Jose State on Friday. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.