CSUN basketball teams suffer losses in Big West Championships

File Photo. Carlene Mitchell, CSUN women’s basketball head coach, speaks to the team during a timeout on Feb. 18, 2023, at the Premier America Credit Union Arena in Northridge, Calif.

Maxwell Clark, Staff Reporter

CSUN men’s and women’s basketball suffered similar heartbreaking defeats in the first round of the Big West Championships, both falling short against CSU Bakersfield.

Both the men’s team (7-25, 4-16 Big West Conference) and women’s team (7-24, 6-14 Big West Conference) defeated the Roadrunners two weeks prior to the Big West Championships, but were unable to repeat their recent success against them.

The women got off to a great start against Bakersfield, finding themselves up by one at halftime. The Matadors came out firing in the second half and elevated their lead to seven with six minutes left in the third quarter. However, the Roadrunners were able to claw back and cut the deficit to four points by the end of the period.

The Matadors were relying heavily on three of their leaders; guard Anaiyah Tu’ua, forward Tess Amundsen and guard Jordyn Jackson. Tu’ua and Amundsen played the most minutes with 39 and 38 respectively, while Jackson played 31 of the 40 minutes of gametime.

Jackson had her lowest scoring total of the season with just three points, and had the same number of turnovers. Amundsen had a solid game with 14 points, three rebounds and two assists, while Tu’ua struggled from the field, shooting 3-for-10 and scoring six points. Forward Ana Carolina De Jesus arguably had Northridge’s best stat line, notching a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Despite the struggles of their leaders, the Matadors found themselves back up seven after Amundsen buried a 3-point shot with five minutes, 37 seconds to go in the fourth quarter. The game was there for the Matadors to take. Instead, they allowed the Roadrunners to score 13 straight points, while CSUN didn’t score until there were two seconds left on the game clock. The women’s basketball season ended in another crushing defeat.

The men’s team fell in a similar fashion to their counterparts. The Matadors relied heavily on their scoring leader, guard Atin Wright. With the load on his shoulders, Wright struggled immensely from the field. The sophomore played 39 of the 40 minutes and shot 3-for-17 from the field while going 1-for-9 from the 3-point line. Wright finished with 10 points, three rebounds and one assist.

Even with Wright’s struggles, the Matadors were up by two to start the second half. With just under 10 minutes left in the period, Northridge found themselves tied with Bakersfield at 39 apiece. The rest of the second half was a back-and-forth affair, neither team gaining a lead larger than three points until the final seconds. With one minute left in the game, the Roadrunners led by only one point. Both teams started to send each other to the line to make it a free-throw shootout.

Bakersfield now led by three points with 21 seconds left to play. Wright tried to find some late magic with 13 seconds on the clock. He took a shot from beyond the arc to tie the game, but the ball fell short as the Matadors missed the quarterfinals of the Big West Championships for the ninth straight year.

CSUN’s basketball teams went out in the final minutes of their respective matches and are turning the page to the offseason.