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 drop 17th straight game, fall to the Anteaters

Matadors forward Talo Li-Uperesa shoots a contested layup with UC Irvine forward Nevaeh Dean putting both her hands up at the Premier America Credit Union Area on Jan. 27, 2024, in Northridge, Calif.

Another late game collapse by the Matadors (2-17, 0-9 Big West) led the Anteaters of UC Irvine (13-6, 7-2 Big West) to take advantage of the game on Saturday afternoon. Irvine scored 21 points off the Matadors’ turnovers and pressured them to force 19 turnovers, escaping with a 67-63 win.

Even with the loss, CSUN kept the game close against the No. 2 team in the conference, locking the 3-point shooting down, forcing the Anteaters to shoot 3-23 from three, and forcing 18 turnovers. Matadors forward Ana Carolina De Jesus led the way with 12 points, tying a career-high in points, while guards Erica Adams and Laney Amundsen scored 10 points.

“I saw intensity and togetherness,” said head coach Carlene Mitchell. “I saw a team that is better than what their record is; we continue to improve and can compete with anyone. When we figure it out, we will be a team to be reckoned with.”

The first quarter started with the Matadors trailing 11-6 after a 5-0 run from the Anteaters, capped off with a fast break layup after a turnover from the Matadors and a layup by Irvine forward Nevaeh Dean. The quarter would end with a layup from Matadors forward Talo Li-Uperesa to end the quarter down 19-17.

UC Irvine jumped to a six-point advantage to kick off the second quarter, going on a 6-2 run with a 25-19 lead for the Anteaters. CSUN would go on to respond with a 16-6 run to end the second quarter and a little in the third quarter to take a 35-31 lead. The run capped off two straight jumpers from Carolina De Jesus and Adams, knocking down a jumper to keep the game close.

With 30 seconds left in the second quarter, guard Kaitlyn Elsholz would knock down a huge 3-pointer to close the first half tied 31-31. The third quarter would see both teams trade baskets after Anteater guard Déja Lee hit a jumper to tie the game 37-37. However, CSUN would respond with a 6-2 run to take the lead 43-39, with Matadors guard Amiyah Ferguson knocking down a jumper and two free throws to keep the momentum going for CSUN with under two minutes left.

The fourth quarter would start with the Matadors down 44-42; CSUN would draw the game 52-52, with Carolina De Jesus hitting two clutch jump shots and forward Kayanna Spriggs laid the ball up to give CSUN a 54-52 lead. The next possessions in the last few minutes of regulation would be close, but Irvine would stretch their lead 65-61 after a jumper by Déja Lee. CSUN would cut the deficit 65-63 after a jumper by Adams, but the Matadors could not grab the rebound after a missed 3-pointer from the Anteaters. The offensive rebound after the missed three would seal the game as UC Irvine would ice the game with two made free throws to win 67-63.

The Anteaters grabbed 43 rebounds, out-rebounding the Matadors 43-32, and 16 second-chance points compared to nine for the Matadors, which would give the Anteaters an advantage from scoring when it mattered most down the stretch in the last few possessions of the game.

“I think we did a decent job with 19 turnovers,” said Mitchell. “But again, it’s who they are [UC Irvine]; they’re an experienced team, they have four starters back from last year, we have one, so I look at those things as well.”

The Matadors will stay on their home floor as they take on UC San Diego (8-12, 4-5 Big West) on Feb. 1 at 6 p.m. on ESPN+, where CSUN will be celebrating Girls and Women in Sports Day.

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