Matadors continue improved play, roll to victory

    CSUN's Emily Cole, Claudia Ramos, and Cheyenne Allen prepare for the ball pass alongside UC Irvine's team. (Natalie Jimenez / The Sundial)

    After getting off to a slow start this season, the CSUN women’s basketball team is trying to turn things around.

    The Matadors have won four of their last six games, including a 62-48 victory over the visiting UC Irvine Anteaters on Saturday evening.

    The win improved the Matadors to 6-18 and 4-6 in Big West Conference play. Following their win, and a loss against Cal Poly, the Matadors moved into fifth place in the conference behind UC Santa Barbara.

    Sophomore guard Serafina Maulupe led the Matadors with 18 points on 46 percent shooting. Junior guard Emily Cole added a double with 14 points on 38.5 percent shooting and 10 rebounds.

    It was a dominant performance for the Matadors, who only trailed once, 4-3, early in the first quarter. They built a double digit lead by halftime and never looked back.

    Head coach Jason Flowers attributed the team’s improved play to showing up ready at practice sessions.

    “The mentality, as far as the process of what it takes to do things at this level, has been a lot better so when we get to games you see it,” he said.

    Freshman Channon Fluker takes a breather as players get into place during the game against UC Irvine on Saturday night at the Matadome. (Natalie Jimenez / The Sundial)
    Freshman Channon Fluker takes a breather as players get into place during the game against UC Irvine on Saturday night at the Matadome. (Natalie Jimenez / The Sundial)

    Despite being outscored in the paint, 30-18, the Matadors interior play was a big factor in the win. They out-rebounded the Anteaters, 47-36, leading to 18 second chance points.

    Contributing to that strong inside game, was Cole whose 10 rebounds were a career high. 7 of those boards came on the offensive glass allowing for extra possessions.

    She said the team is playing a lot harder and tougher.

    “We are starting to understand people’s strength’s and play well together,” Cole said. “It just took us a while to really realize that.”

    CSUN's Serafina Maulupe dribbles through traffic before making a pass. (Natalie Jimenez / The Sundial)
    CSUN’s Serafina Maulupe dribbles through traffic before making a pass. (Natalie Jimenez / The Sundial)

    With six games remaining in the season, and the top eight teams in the conference getting in to the postseason conference tournament, the Matadors still have their sights set on accomplishing big goals.

    “We believe we can win every single game we have left and we are looking forward to the tournament,” Cole said. “We still believe we can win the conference tournament.”

    She said it will take a lot of work but the team has those goals in mind.

    The Matadors will take to the road for their next game on Thursday, Feb. 18, against the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.