Women’s Basketball: Matadors look to build on strong 2011 campaign

    Sophomores Sharpe, Lister, Guay, Friess and Mahlknecht will pack most of the punch for CSUN this season. Photo credit: Loren Townsley / Photo Editor

     

    The CSUN women’s basketball team is looking to improve from a second-place finish in the Big West Conference last season. Northridge has already been predicted to finish first in the conference while Guay and Sharpe were picked for the Big West Preseason All-Conference Team.

    Head coach Jason Flowers is entering his third season with the Matadors and won Big West Conference Coach of the Year last season.

    “Our goal is the same every year,” Flowers said. “We want to be the best team we can possibly be. We work as hard as we can to get better. That’s all we’re focused on.”

    The team needs to improve in a lot of areas, according to Flowers, but the Matadors are mostly focused on their offense.

    “We can be a better offensive team,” Flowers said. “We struggled to score the basketball at times. That’s the area we’re looking to continue being more productive.”

    Flowers has used this summer to improve the team’s offense by spending time on each individual player’s development.

    Flowers is giving every player on the team responsibility to make everyone accountable for their actions.

    “We put it on the entire team to be leaders,” he said. “Everybody should be leaders. As long as you work hard, you will never be disappointed.“

    Sophomore guard Ashlee Guay and senior center Felicia Walker are two of three captains on a team that had the NCAA’s biggest turnaround last year, earning double-digit wins after a four-victory season the year prior.

    Guay, who earned All-Big West Freshman Team honors and led the Big West Conference in assists and steals, hopes to  improve upon her freshman campaign.

    “My shot needs to be consistent, no foul trouble, and help my team as much as possible,” she said.

    According to Guay, the way last season ended will motivate the team to learn from its mistakes.

    Defensively, the team made silly mistakes that cost them the chance at being No.1 in their conference, according to Walker.

    “We couldn’t close out and had trouble communicating on defense. We’re emphasizing how much defense is important to the team,” Walker said.

    According to Guay, in order to improve, the team has to listen to the coaches and apply what is taught on the court.

    Sophomore guard Janae Sharpe was named  Big West Freshman of the Year. She
    averaged 11.4 points per game and scored a season-high 19 points in four games.

    Sophomore center Camille Mahlknecht made 20 starts during her freshman season and
    finished second in the Big West Conference with 45 blocks, the fourth-most in school history for a single season.

    Guay and Walker want to help the upcoming freshmen contribute to the team by setting
    examples for them on and off the court.