The Matadors could not tame the Lions as the team was dealt its seventh straight loss of the season, falling 69-52 Wednesday night at the Matadome.
CSUN (0-7) had difficulties finding the net, as plenty of opportunities would not fall its way and ultimately cost them the game against non-conference opponent Loyola Marymount University (4-3).
The Lions jumped on a 17-2 run to begin the game with guard Courtney Collishaw, earning a three-point play as she was fouled on a jump shot by Matador freshman guard Haley White.
CSUN forward Violet Alama broke the run with a jump shot in the 14th minute of action, making the score 4-17 and sparking up the crowd in the process.
With chants of “Defense!” and “Let’s go Matadors!” erupting in the home stands, the Lions continued to pound the Matadors inside the paint with easy layups and put-back shots. LMU controlled the paint both offensively and defensively, recording a 22-13 rebounding advantage and earning 12 points in the first half.
“I don’t think we were ready to play at the beginning of the game, I think it was a lack of effort, it was a lack of focus and it’s unacceptable,” said CSUN head coach Jason Flowers about the Lions’ 17-2 run. “That is not what the program is about, that is not what we are about as a program. We are embarrassed for coming out and starting a game that way; that is not what people want to come out and see.”
The Lions continued to run the clock down and still managed to score on expiring plays. Collishaw made a three-pointer as time expired and with the score at 26-7, Lion guard Hazel Ramirez made a bank shot running up the lane, penetrating the Matadors’ defense in the ninth minute of action.
Ramirez continued to exploit the Matadors’ defense, getting her team involved with 20 points and four assists in the game.
CSUN started to get the ball to center Jasmine Erving, who seemed to be the only productive Matador on the offensive end of the ball. She went 3-for-8 from the field with six points to end the half.
Guard Janelle Nomura made a three-pointer in the last minute of the first half, giving momentum to the Matadors, but forward Lauren Wilkins easily regained possession for the Lions, scoring on a layup. CSUN fired back as Alama made a five-foot jumper from an inbounds play and the Matadors got another turnover on the defensive end.
The Matadors ended the first half down 19 points as Collishaw made a jump shot, leaving the score at 23-42 to take the lead into halftime. LMU ended the first half shooting 46.7 percent from the field while the Matadors followed at 33 percent.
Matadors got off to a good start in the second half with a three-pointer from White followed by a turnover, but the Lions continued they offensive attack. They dominated the paint and the outside with Ramirez making a three-pointer that forced a timeout from Flowers in the first 5 minutes of the second half.
After the timeout, Northridge picked up its defensive pressure of the ball and stopped LMU from coming into the paint, but the Lions then began to net three-pointers from the outside.
Flowers said defense was the key to the game.
“Defense is always the thing and we have been battling all year from day one. We know that we need to play defense, we went to a zone in the second half and I think we were a little bit better,” Flowers said. “The other thing that comes with defense is rebounding, and routinely we give up too many offensive rebounds.”
The Matadors made a late push in the second half, bringing the score to within 16 points, but missed opportunities.
Overall the Matadors shot 37 percent from the field, with Erving leading the team with 15 points. Forward Candice Nichols anchored the Lions’ offense with 21 points, and as a team they shot 38 percent from the field.
Flowers said effort is the most important aspect he wants to see from his team in the next game against UTEP.
“Our effort needs to be at a completely different level, our defensive effort and focus needs to be at a completely different level. I am looking for us to mix it up and be tough, I’m looking for us to want the basketball and go get the basketball,” Flowers said. “Offensively, I think we will continue to get better in the style that we play with the more games that we play, but defense and rebounding are the things that come back and get us every time.”