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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Offensive woes hamper Matadors in home loss to UC Davis

Edward Segal
File photo. Junior forward Kayanna Spriggs misses a free throw after an and-one in the first quarter against Loyola Marymount University on Dec. 21, 2023 at the Premier America Credit Union Arena.

CSUN women’s basketball (2-13, 0-5 Big West) attempted to snap their 11-game losing streak, but came up short amid offensive struggles as they dropped their Big West matchup to the UC Davis Aggies (8-8, 4-2 Big West) 55-45 Thursday in Northridge.

Despite having a strong defensive performance, the Matadors were unable to capitalize on their offensive opportunities, going 17-70 from the field. Head Coach Carlene Mitchell said the Matadors did everything else well, but their hopes were dashed as they continued to miss shots.

“We had a few defensive breakdowns, but for the most part we were fabulous,” Mitchell said. “However, if you look at the shooting percentage and shot selection, it is our nemesis”.

The Matadors elected to go with a tall starting lineup. Both teams traded baskets to start the game 3-3, but the Aggies responded, using three triples to jump to a 14-3 lead.

The Matadors quickly subbed in guards Rachel Harvey and Kaitlyn Elsholz, whose defense helped start a 10-4 run to end the quarter 18-13.

The second quarter saw the Matadors get to within one point with three consecutive field goals. They also held UC Davis to 30% shooting in the quarter thanks to their defensive play. However, the Aggies maintained the lead for the rest of the quarter as the Matadors stayed within striking distance. CSUN ended the half trailing by four points, 29-25.

“We know that [UC] Davis has shooters and is known for their backdoor cuts.” CSUN forward Kayanna Spriggs said. “So we really wanted to lock in on defense and keep them below their average.”

Forward Laney Amundsen opened the second half for the Matadors with a three pointer, but UC Davis quickly responded, extending their lead to double digits as they outscored the Matadors 18-12 in the third.

In the fourth quarter, the Matadors held the Aggies scoreless for five minutes and cut the lead to six points from free throws by Spriggs and guard Erica Adams.

Despite accumulating several steals and holding the Aggies to just eight points in the fourth, the Matadors’ offensive struggles severely hampered them, as they shot 1-21, with Spriggs scoring the sole field goal with 59 seconds remaining. In addition, the Aggies hit a three to put the game out of reach.

Harvey pointed out the offensive struggles the Matadors endured throughout the game.

“We gotta get reps, and it’s gotta be game-speed reps,” Harvey said. “We’re taking good shots, but sometimes we just get out of the flow.”

Despite the defeat, Harvey also pointed out some positive takeaways from the game against UC Davis.

“Our communication was a lot better, and smoother.” Harvey said. “We rebounded, which has been an emphasis this year.”

In spite of the offense, the Matadors outrebounded the Aggies 48-42, grabbing 20 offensive rebounds. In addition, they also recorded 11 steals to UC Davis’s seven, and forced 18 turnovers. Spriggs, in particular, led the Matadors with nine rebounds and two steals to go with her 11 points. She further discussed her versatility for the Matadors.

“I’ve been more versatile in my game now, being able to attack and drive in the high post,” Spriggs said. “Just playing with bigs, it’s easier to play, especially when I have Ana [Carolina De Jesus] in there.”

Meanwhile, Mitchell pointed out the mental aspect of the Matadors following the outcome against UC Davis.

“I don’t want our players to overthink,” Mitchell said. “It has nothing to do with their skillset or capabilities. Sometimes, the harder you try, the worse it gets.”

The Matadors continued their Big West campaign on the road where they fell to Cal State Fullerton 68-62 on Saturday, and will look to end their losing streak at UC Santa Barbara on Thursday night.

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