CSUN women’s basketball faces tough task against first place Cal Poly

Michael Johnson

The Cal State Northridge women’s basketball team (4-18, 2-9 Big West) is tied with Pacific for the eighth and final spot to get into the Big West Tournament. However, in order to keep pace with the Tigers, CSUN needs to get an upset victory over first place Cal Poly at Mott Gym on Saturday.

The mighty Mustangs (16-8, 9-3) are led by a great defense and Big West player of the year candidate junior Kristina Santiago.

The defense records 8.3 steals per game and only allows their opponent to shoot 39.4 percent from the field.

Santiago leads the offense by averaging 19.3 points per game, 8.3 rebounds and has a team high 20 blocks on the season. In her last game against CSUN, she had double-double with 21 points and 13 rebounds.

“I think are best bet is to not let her touch the ball,” Matador Violet Alma said. “Once she touches the ball, we need to play smart on defense and not foul her. Also, we need to make sure she does not get any and one opportunities. Furthermore, she is a good player so it will take a lot of effort on our part.”

Overall the Mustangs have been on fire. Not only are they in first place in the conference, but they have won eight straight games at Mott Gym.

The Matadors will need to use their team strengths on defense and make every possession count on offense if they want to beat Cal Poly. Northridge is averaging 3.7 blocks and 7.7 steals per game.

Also, the Matadors will have to make sure they don’t turn the ball over. They average 21.5 turnovers a game.

Not only do the Matadors need to take care of the ball, but there big three will have to step up. First, forward Katrina Thompson will need to continue to use her defensive skills. She has 41 steals for the season and leads the team.

Secondly, center Jasmine Erving will need to score big, as she is averaging 13.2 points per game.

Lastly, point guard Bridgette Conejo will have to use her sharp shooting skills to keep the Mustangs from doubling down on the post players.

“If we play a full game then personally, I think we can beat them. We need to play the Mustangs like we played Cal State Fullerton,” Matador Paige McIntyre said.