UC Davis ruins Senior Night for women’s basketball

Kaitlyn Lavo
CSUNs guard Hayley Tanabe (23) dribbles the ball down court against UC Davis’ forward, Cierra Hall, on March 5. Tanabe scored 10 points against the Aggies.

Danny Escobar, Reporter

Despite a valiant effort, the Matadors came up short against the top-seed UC Davis Aggies, 71-58 on Senior Night at the Matadome.

“I was a little nervous going into (tonight’s game). These past four years were a roller coaster of emotions,” said senior center Lauren Shymkewicz. “Just going out there and knowing it was my last game at the Matadome, I wanted to give it everything I had.”

CSUN had four seniors commemorated following the game: Shymkewicz, De’Jionae Calloway, Eliza Matthews and Hayley Tanabe, who all started in the game.

“They are outstanding young women who not only won a championship in their time here, but they’ve also been exceptional student-athletes,” head coach Jason Flowers said. “They represented our program with class. It’s one of those deals where you’re proud of them and proud of their growth, and now part of you is sad because this is the last time they’ll play at the Matadome.”

The closest CSUN got within striking distance was in the second quarter.

Down 13 points with 8:17 remaining in the second quarter, the Matadors rallied behind a 13-1 run anchored by their defense.

During the run, defensively, the Matadors created four turnovers, one block and held the Aggies 0-for-7 from the field. The Matadors did not allow a single point for five minutes.

Offensively, CSUN had several contributors during their run. Shymkewicz had five points, two rebounds and one block that ignited the crowd into a frenzy. Calloway nabbed two steals, junior Meghann Henderson shot two three-pointers and Tanabe registered two assists and two rebounds.

The Matadors were able to trim the deficit to one point to end the first half, but that was as close as the Matadors would get as the Aggies’ size and composure were too much.

After a couple of exchanged baskets to start the third quarter, UC Davis got off to a 15-0 run at the 7:44 mark and never looked back.

CSUN’s lone bright spot was sophomore Jordyn Jackson, who scored 14 of her team-high 19 points in the second half. A three-level scorer, Jackson was able to get to any spot on the court.

“I had to find ways to get inside the basket or get open looks at the three,” Jackson said.

CSUN was able to get within single-digits with a minute remaining, but Aggie senior Sophia Song iced the game for UC Davis with a three.

Despite the loss on Senior Night, the locker room felt hopeful. CSUN was able to clinch a bid at the Big West tournament due to a UC Riverside loss.

“The tournament is a new slate. It doesn’t matter what your record is,” Flowers said. “Losing this game sucks but now that we know we are in the tournament, we just have to learn from it and get better moving forward.”

Shymkewicz echoed her coach’s confidence heading into the tournament.

“I think we just have to get better every day,” Shymkewicz said. “You can play good for five days and win, and go to the NCAA tournament as we’ve done in the past.”

The Big West Tournament for the team begins at The Pyramid in Long Beach on March 10 against the No. 6 seed Cal State Fullerton at 8:30 p.m.