The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Matadors come back and win after thrilling buzzer beater

Despite trailing as much as 18 points, the Matadors hit a miraculous buzzer beater as they came back and defeated the Seattle University Redhawks in a thrilling overtime battle Thursday, Nov. 9 at the Premier America Credit Union Arena.

While the Matadors struggled to score initially due to the overwhelming Redhawks half court traps, they eventually stormed back through a collective effort as they dominated on the defensive side in the second half.

CSUN players Kaitlyn Elsholz and Kayanna Spriggs greatly contributed to the 81-72 victory in the final moments, as Spriggs hit the contested three pointer to force overtime. Elsholz set the Matadors up for victory by scoring 22 points in the second half and overtime, and grabbing two steals and blocks apiece throughout the game.

Following the game, CSUN head coach Carlene Mitchell noted that she was “super proud and excited for these young people to play their butts off and get a win.”

The Matadors quickly adjusted their offense to counter the Redhawks defense through better communication and ball movement. They outscored the Redhawks by eight points in both the third and fourth quarters to climb back into the game, and ultimately won by nine points in overtime.

“This group has been through so much, as we have a combination of transfers, freshmen, and we have great leadership from the returning players,” Mitchell said. “They just refused to lose and you cannot put a stat on that to explain our comeback.”

Despite the early offensive woes and poor defensive rebounding, the Matadors defense constantly pressured the Redhawks, forcing 33 turnovers which directly led to 30 transition points for the team.

Both teams employed persistent half-court presses and traps. However, the Matadors effectively limited the Redhawks offense due to timely rotations, better boxouts, and improved communication in the second half.

Kayanna Spriggs, 24, looks for the open pass. Spriggs made a riveting buzzer beater, tying the score and sending the game to overtime where the Matadors finished their comeback against Seattle University Nov. 9 in Northridge, Calif. (Zachariah Adams)

Junior forward Kayanna Spriggs noted that the team remained calm and composed entering the second half as they sought to get stops on the defensive end, communicate on the floor, hustle and not get into foul trouble.

“We all took the little things we needed to focus on and locked in and came out with a win,” Spriggs said.

Elsholz’s well rounded performance off the bench had a significant impact, as she led the Matadors with 22 points, all of which came in the second half and overtime, while also grabbing seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks.

“I want to give respect to my teammates, the bench, the crowd and fans because there’s no way we would’ve come back if not for the energy involved,” Elsholz said.

Much can be said about the Matadors’ ability to mitigate their slow start and improve their performance mid-game while keeping their focus, energy, and intensity constantly sharp.

The Matadors’ early season success has led to hopeful expectations and belief around the gym that they can go far into conference play, as they continue to improve their chemistry and play moving forward.

“We have a really good team, even though we’re all new to each other and not familiar with each of our games, so it’s really nice that early in the season we’re able to comeback even from a really large deficit,” Spriggs said. “I’m also looking forward to traveling with my new teammates and doing the same work we’ve been doing these past two games.”

The Matadors went back to losing ways as they dropped the next game to Santa Clara by 32, but look to bounce back when they host Hope International Saturday, Nov. 18. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN+.

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