The Matador women look to speed up the game

Michael Johnson

Coming off an 8-23 record, the women’s basketball team is looking to turn things around this season with a high-tempo offense that will challenge the rest of the conference.

Could the Matador women become the next Phoenix Suns? No. But it was evident in their first exhibition game, which was marked by a fast-paced offensive, that they have the potential to be something similar.

As the players turned the ball over, coach Staci Shulz expressed her liking of the tempo saying, “I think we are to keep running and gunning.”

The women’s basketball team has all-around shooters that are versatile at key positions to fit their speedy system.

For example, forward Bianca Davies is an inside player who can also shoot from outside. However, though Bianca is used to being in the post, she felt her jumper could be better utilized.

“This summer I worked on my shot a lot, and tried to figure out how I could help my team,” Davies said.

Their point guard, Bridgette Conejo, has speed like Suns guard Leandro Barbosa. She knocks down shots, but can also play point or shooting guard.
“I want to be consistent and look for my shot more,” Conejo said.

Forward Katrina Thompson and center Jasmine Erving are the last two pieces of this puzzle, providing the speed necessary to run this offense as well as being all-around players.

Erving is one of the team’s best players, coming off a season where she averaged 8.9 point per game, 5.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks. She should be able to dominate the paint, but at the same time sprint down the court for easy layups.

Thompson, a team leader, will use her speed in a different way. She can block shots or get rebounds to start fast breaks. In addition, she can grab steals or score whenever necessary.

Thompson is the complete all-around player, and last year’s stats back it up. She came off a season where she averaged 7.5 points per game, 6.1 rebounds and 2.0 steals.

In this type of offense, everyone needs to be versatile, and it seems like they have all the right pieces. However, is it enough to win the division?

The Big West Conference is looking pretty strong. Teams like UC Santa Barbara, which have posted a 30-2 record against their division in the last two years, are trying to claim their third consecutive division title. The champs are looking primed for another run with the top player guard/forward Jordan Franey, who made the Big West Preseason All-Conference Team.

Two other teams to look out for are UC Davis and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Davis is returning five starters, which is big for chemistry. Out of those five, the best player is Paige Mintun, who averaged 13 points and 6.4 rebounds last year.

San Luis Obispo is coming off their best season ever, having gone 21-11. They are returning three starters, and a shining star out of that bunch is all-conference player Kristina Santiago. She is coming off of a great season, averaging 15.2 points per game and 5.3 rebounds.

Collectively, the top three teams are looking good. The run-and-gun offense of the CSUN women’s team should challenge these schools, but everyone will have to wait and see.

They start their regular season Nov.13 against New Mexico State. Tip is set for 2:00 p.m.