Matadors get a win

Ivan Yeo

It took a while, and it certainly took a lot longer than the CSUN women’s basketball would’ve liked it to.

And, the Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners certainly made them work for it, as the two teams battled tooth and nail through a non-conference matchup at Cal State Bakersfield’s Icardo Center Thursday night.

But when it was all said and done, and after three frustrating months, the Matadors finally registered that long-awaited win to their board, as they defeated the Roadrunners 73-72.

“Its better than losing (again),” said a relieved head coach Staci Schulz. “We finally got rid of that ghost.”

It was Katie Holloway who exorcised that ghost, as she rebounded a miss by junior guard Whitney Ligon and made the put-back layup with 2.2 seconds left to give the Matadors the lead. The win was sealed when the Roadrunners threw away the inbounds pass.

“It’s a huge sigh of relief,” Holloway said.

Holloway’s rebound and score was the capper on a monster night for the senior center, as she scored 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Holloway credits her teammates for her big night.

“I had some really good passes come to me,” Holloway said.

Ligon scored 16 points, Thompson scored 14 points, junior center Crystal Hahs scored 11 points and junior guard Tonicia Tademy dished out 11 assists.

“It feels good,” Thompson said. “It was long overdue.”

It was a tale of two halves shooting-wise for both teams. Bakersfield led 37-33 at halftime on the strength of its 48 percent shooting in the first half while CSUN shot 36 percent. Those numbers turned around in a huge way in the second half, as the Matadors shot 55 percent while the Roadrunners shot a dismal 28 percent.

Still, Bakersfield started out hot in the second half, jumping out to a 49-37 lead. CSUN came back with a 8-1 run to cut the deficit in half with 13 minutes to go. The Matadors stayed with the Roadrunners for the next seven minutes, but an 11-2 run turned a 63-58 deficit into a 69-65 advantage with five minutes left.

“It was intense,” Thompson said of the game. “Once we got going and executed, nothing was going to stop us.”

Thompson’s 14 points marked her second straight game in which she scored in double-digits. Thompson credits her teammates with her recent string of success.

“Everything’s coming together,” Thompson said. “When Katie (Holloway) and Crystal (Hahs) get double-teamed, it gives me more looks and the coaches have emphasized crashing the boards more.”

CSUN’s win overshadowed some big nights from several Roadrunners. Senior forward Naomi Johnson had a double-double, scoring 13 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. Junior guard Christine Kepenekian scored a team-high 21 points and another junior guard, Kelley Tarver, scored 20.

CSUN resumed conference play Saturday afternoon at home against the Long Beach State 49ers. Game results were not available at press time.