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’ comeback falls short against Tritons

Guard Amiyah Ferguson, 1, shoots free throws during the game against UC San Diego on Feb. 1, 2024, at the Premier America Credit Union Arena in Northridge, Calif.
Karla Vazquez
Guard Amiyah Ferguson, 1, shoots free throws during the game against UC San Diego on Feb. 1, 2024, at the Premier America Credit Union Arena in Northridge, Calif.

A furious second half rally by the Matadors (2-19, 0-11 Big West) fell short in heartbreaking fashion as they were edged by the UC San Diego Tritons (10-12, 6-5 Big West) 53-52, Thursday night in Northridge.

Guard Erica Adams talked about the struggles the Matadors endured during the game.

“It was a matter of mindset, not that we didn’t come into the game in the first half not ready to play,” Adams said. “We were a bit discombobulated with their change in defenses.”

Adams led the Matadors with 11 points, while Laney Amundsen added nine, going 3-7 from beyond the arc.

The Matadors were abysmal in the first half of the game, shooting 3-24, and it looked certain the Tritons were going to cruise to a comfortable win. However, the Matadors looked like a completely different team going into the second half.

“In the first half, we didn’t have the best shooting percentage,” Adams said. “Going into the second half, I knew we needed to get the highest percentage shot which is driving to the basket.”

Amundsen would be the saving grace for the Matadors, draining two consecutive three-pointers in the third quarter, helping CSUN stay within six points of the Tritons. However, Amundsen’s efforts would not be enough as the Tritons maintained the lead by the end of the third quarter, 42-34.

The Matadors continued to push in the fourth, as a pair of baskets by Kayanna Spriggs and Amiyah Ferguson made it a one-possession game, 42-39. UC San Diego still pushed back, extending their lead to 48-41.

But another Amundsen triple brought the Matadors back within three. Amundsen credited her teammates for helping rally the Matadors back.

“Honestly, I gotta shout out my teammates because they found me in the right moment,” Amundsen said. “Their confidence makes me more confident and ready.”

Rachel Harvey then converted an and-one to tie the game at 48, before both teams exchanged two baskets, keeping the score level at 52. The Matadors’ Ana Carolina De Jesus missed a jump shot, before a foul allowed the Tritons to take a 53-52 lead from a free throw with four seconds remaining.

De Jesus’s pass was intercepted by the Tritons, forcing the Matadors to quickly foul. But on the next possession, Li-Uperesa returned the favor, stealing the ball to allow the Matadors the final possession with 0.7 remaining. This time, they managed to inbound it to Amundsen, who got off a three-point shot over two defenders, but it rimmed out, resulting in a heartbreaking loss.

Despite the narrow loss, CSUN shot better than UC San Diego, with 29.8% shooting from the field to the latter’s 26.5%. Defensively, the Matadors were outrebounded 54-43, but De Jesus and Spriggs grabbed ten and nine rebounds respectively. Defensively, the Matadors had nine steals.

Adams talked about the team’s approach going into the second half of conference play.

“We’re approaching the second half of the conference, coming in as underdogs,” Adams said. “We quite literally have nothing to lose. We’re gonna go look back at the film and box scores, and reemphasize the things we need to do to win these games.”

The Matadors continued their Big West campaign on the road where they fell to UC Riverside 70-46 on Saturday. CSUN will look to bounce back with a matchup against Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo on Feb. 8.

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