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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CSUN women’s basketball loses 10th straight to end the year

Matador forward Kayanna Spriggs drives to the basket and is met by two Long Beach State defenders at the Premier America Credit Union Arena on Dec. 31 in Northridge, Calif. (Edward Segal)

Entering the game against Long Beach State (6-6, 1-1 Big West), the Matadors (2-10, 0-2 Big West) were hoping to snap their nine-game losing streak and end the year on a positive note, and through two quarters, were on pace to do just that. But the Matadors’ hopes were crushed in the third when they couldn’t navigate the Beach’s full court press, falling 76-58.

“I think we just got flustered,” said forward Talo Li-Uperesa, who struggled offensively throughout the game for the Matadors. “They hit us by surprise, and we didn’t know how to adjust to it, since they weren’t doing it from the beginning. So I think it’s just more of a mental thing for us as a team.”

The Beach jumped out to a 9-0 lead after burying three three-pointers to start the game, looking to get into a groove early. The game looked poised to be another blowout, but Long Beach State struggled shooting the ball from that point, earning most of their points from the free throw line until the middle of the second quarter.

CSUN found a way to string together stops in the second, holding the Beach to only five points in the frame. The Matadors took a 26-25 lead into halftime, but Long Beach State came out of the locker room with an intensity the Matadors couldn’t match.

The Beach went into their full court press once the third quarter began, and forced 12 turnovers in the period. The Matadors played sloppily, throwing weak passes which were easily intercepted as they attempted to cross half court. They allowed 10 points off those turnovers, and had no response as they were outscored 29-16 in the quarter.

“Defensively, we held it down until we fell under their pressure,” said redshirt junior Erica Adams. “We had entirely too many turnovers, and that’s how we let them gain momentum and really extend their lead.”

A pair of former Matadors led the defensive effort that propelled the Beach to victory. Graduate student Cheyenne Givens, who spent last season at CSUN, had four steals in the game to go along with 19 points. Junior guard Sydney Woodley, who played for the Matadors two years ago, had five steals along with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Woodley leads the Big West in steals per game, averaging 3.5 after this victory.

Forwards Li-Uperesa and Kayanna Spriggs, along with guard Amiyah Ferguson, combined for 20 of the Matadors’ 30 turnovers in the game.

Outside of the third quarter, CSUN also put on a solid defensive display, as they got seven blocks, tied for the third most in a game by a Big West team this season. Li-Uperesa led the way with four blocks, to go along with seven points and seven rebounds.

“Offensively, it wasn’t falling for me today, so I had to pick it up defensively and help my team out,” Li-Uperesa said.

Spriggs was also a force to be reckoned with on the defensive end, as she had four steals to go along with her eight rebounds and team-high 18 points.

On the offensive end, Adams and redshirt junior Laney Amundsen each added 14 points for the Matadors, bouncing back from their poor shooting performances against Cal Poly two days prior.

If there’s one positive thing the Matadors can take away from this game, it’s that they were much better on the glass, grabbing 41 boards to the Beach’s 44. Against Cal Poly, the Matadors only had 24 rebounds to the Mustangs’ 51.

Looking forward, the Matadors have a lot they need to clean up if they hope to snap the losing streak at the start of the new year. Adams says that, in order to generate consistent offense throughout a game, they have to limit their turnovers and get each other involved.

“We just have to stick to what we know, and the game plan.” Adams said. “We know that our offense works. Coach does a great job with giving us options to run on the offensive end, but when we get down like that, we have to stay in the offense and continue doing what helped us score instead of trying to come out of the offense and do one-on-one and just put ourselves on an island.”

The Matadors have a week off before traveling to Hawai’i for a game next Saturday evening. Then, they will come back home to host UC Davis on Jan. 11 for MLK night.

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