Say aloha to Northridge

Kendall Capps

The CSUN women’s basketball team has a distinct flair this year, and it comes from Hawaii.

One of the key returning players from last year is junior guard/forward Analee Viena-Lota. Now that she is an upperclassman, she expects more out of herself and the team.

“I have a bit more experience, having played longer than others in the program,” Viena-Lota said. “We have a totally different team this year. We are a little bit taller and everyone’s abilities are versatile. It should be interesting to see how we do.”

Viena-Lota began playing for the Matadors in the 2007-08 season after leaving Honolulu. She is now one of three players from Hawaii.

Freshman guard Janelle Nomura and freshman forward Violet Alama graduated high school last year and have come straight to Division-I basketball.

“It was always my dream to play college ball and Division-I basketball,” Alama said.

Alama has already made her presence felt this season.

Last Wednesday, in a 69-53 victory over Cal Lutheran in the team’s exhibition opener, Alama had three blocked shots and one steal in only 27 minutes played.

What really stuck out were Alama’s 16 rebounds and she continues to be a strong defender.

“I want to instill self-discipline in myself to be able to work hard all the time and hopefully do all the little things that need to be done,” Alama said.

“(Division-I) is definitely more intense than I expected,” Nomura said. “As a person I have matured more because it has taught me to manage my time wisely.”

One potential weakness on this Matador team could be at the point guard position. Nomura will look to fill that void and be a leader and distributor for the team.

With seven returning players, alongside some new faces, the Matadors hope to improve upon last year’s 8-24 record by making a deep run into this year’s Big West tournament.