Pepperdine’s full court pressure was too much for CSUN to handle, as it was defeated, 108-74, in its season opener at the Matadome Wednesday night.
The Waves (2-1) stopped the Matadors (0-1) with a series of double teams and half court traps that ultimately left the team flustered with 26 turnovers, which turned into 33 points for Pepperdine.
First-year head coach Jason Flowers took the blame for his team’s performance.
“Obviously with all the turnovers we had, it caused problems. Were they too much? Tonight they weren’t. Catch us on a different night, maybe we can handle it a little better,” said Flowers, who made his debuted as a head coach. “Obviously that falls on me, so we have to go back to the drawing board and work on some stuff and get better.”
Early in the first half, the Matadors stayed within striking distance by knocking down three-pointers. Amanda Thomson knocked down three shots from long range in the half and Bridgette Conejo’s 3-pointer tied the game at 12.
Soon after, the game got out of hand as the Waves went on a run midway through the first period, giving them a 41-23 advantage.
Jasmine Erving, who was 5-of-9 from the field with 10 points to end the first half, kept the Matadors in the game knocking down shots forcing the Waves to take a timeout.
After the timeout, Violet Alama, who led CSUN with 20 points, scored a layup that drew a foul on Jazmine Jackson as the first half winded down, cutting the Waves lead to 46-33.
“The key to their defense is to pressure and speed up the game and I believe a lot of us had first game jitters,” said Alama, who went 8-of-12 from the field. “We were not taking care of the ball well, we were just rushing and I think once we started to slow it down we were good.”
The Matadors shot 48.3 percent from the field and 66.7 percent behind the arc after the first period.
Offensive rebounding also killed the Matadors as the Waves collected nine offensive boards to the Matadors one, resulting in easy put back shots for Pepperdine.
“We know that it’s an issue and we know that’s what we have to work with, again that falls on us and that falls on me as the head coach,” Flowers said. “We have to go back to practice and get better, at the end of the day rebounding comes down to effort of who wants the basketball more and obviously they did a great job on offensive rebounds, they wanted the basketball more than we did.”
In the second half the Waves came out with more defensive intensity than the first, forcing steals resulting in easy layups. The Matadors gave up 36 points in the paint.
As the game progressed, Pepperdine led by more than 30 points.
The Matadors bench only contributed 20 points compared to the Waves bench scoring 54 points.
Wave Robie Mayberry had a game-high 22 points and four assists.
Overall, the Matadors shot 46.7 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from behind the arc.
Thomson, who had 15 points and went 4-of-7 from three-point range, said the team will bounce back.
“I think we went hard for the most part, there were a couple lapse in effort but I think for the most part we are going to come back as a team and reunite,” Thompson said. “Just their pressure we didn’t handle it well but I think next game we will be more prepared for pressure defense like that.”