The CSUN women’s basketball team (1-0) defeated the Portland State Vikings 99-72 in their season opener in the Matadome on Friday night.
The Matadors got out to a 31-18 lead in the 1st quarter thanks to fluid ball movement and low-post dominance by junior Tessa Boagni who finished the contest with 10 points, seven rebounds, and two assists, and sophomore Channon Fluker who recorded her first double-double of the season with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
The Matadors ran into some trouble in the 2nd quarter thanks to the Vikings precocious, but effective full-court press. Due to some foul trouble to junior Serafina Maulupe, freshman Lizzy Tonks had to mature quickly and take the game into her hands as she hit two 3’s and scored all of her 15 points in the first half.
The Australian born point guard spoke about the emotions that ran through her head as she stepped out on the court in her NCAA debut as a Matador.
“It was exciting,” Tonks said. “At times it’s hard as a freshman to have the confidence needed because it’s your first time out there, but I felt good. It’s good having the girls out there with me, they build up my confidence.”
It seemed as if her confidence rubbed off on all the freshman newcomers of the team, as Hayley Tanabe came off the bench to chip in eight points, two rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Lauren Shymkewicz posted three points and five rebounds while Terrin Sullivan had two points and two rebounds. Finally, Eliza Matthews finished with five points and eight rebounds.
Another bright spot for the Matadors, was sophomore reserve Nautica Morrow.
Coming off the bench, she provided the necessary spark, scoring a game-high 18 points and four assists in 24 minutes, to ignite the 27 point thrashing of Portland State.
She attributed her high motor and aggressiveness to the Navy Seal training the Matadors take part in the beginning of the year.
“We came up with a standard [during the training] so everyday I think about that standard when I step out on the floor,” Morrow said. “I just love the game. I just love playing. I just attack. Attack on the boards, attack on defense, and attack in scoring.”
The Matadors bench definitely held their own against Portland State, scoring 43 of the 99 points for the team.
Head coach Jason Flowers spoke about the importance of having a well balanced team.
“The one thing that we have talked about with this group from the beginning was everybody being ready to step in and do the job that needed to be done,” Flowers said. “I don’t think there is a lot of, if any, let down when we bring the players off the bench. We have players on the bench who have started games for us in the past and it just adds to the depth and versatility of this group.”
This victory is the Matadors’ first against their former Big Sky Conference rival since the 2006-07 season, and ties the all-time series at 11-11. The Matadors’ 99 points are the most points scored by a CSUN team since a 104-60 victory over Chapman on Jan. 12, 1980.
CSUN will play its next contest against the San Diego Toreros on Monday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. in the Matadome.