Sinking Matadors look for first win on the road

Raul Magana

Janelle Nomura and the Matadors travel to the southwestern states this weekend. Photo Credit: Patrick DilanChian / Contributing Photographer

The CSUN women’s basketball team will try to bounce back from a disappointing loss against Loyola Marymount when it travels to play in back-to-back games at UTEP on Friday and New Mexico State on Sunday.

After a slow start to the season for the Matadors (0-7), which have yet to win a game, they can find solace in the improvements the team has been making from game to game.

The same could not be said on Tuesday as the team suffered a set back in a 69-52 loss to the Lions at home and questions about the teams inconsistencies and weaknesses continue to loom.

By far the greatest improvement the Matadors must make is in the rebounding department. Against the Lions, the Matadors were out rebounded 47-24, which led to a 15-4 disparity in second chance points.

Northridge was out rebounded by 19 against Pepperdine, by 20 against Wichita State and by 23 against Loyola Marymount and on average the Matadors average 32.9 rebounds per game while their opponents average 42 per game.

The Matadors must also show an ability to start the game off on the right foot as they have frequently gotten off to slow starts this season and have had to play from behind from the outset. Against the Lions, the Matadors were outscored 17-2 to start the game and never recovered as the lead jumped to as many as 24 points at one point.

The only positive Northridge can take away from the losses as of late is that Jasmine Erving has emerged as a force in the post and Janelle Nomura has also surfaced as a vital scorer in the back court and has the ability to consistently break down the defense.

The Matador’s first opponent on their road trip this weekend is UTEP (4-2) who only has two losses a 80-75 loss in overtime to New Mexico State and a 59-56 loss against Arkansas in the Fourth-Annual UTEP Thanksgiving Classic championship game, but has been competitive in every game thus far.

The Miners are led by three players that average double figures in scoring in Gloria Brown, who averages 13.2 points per game to go along with 6.5 rebounds. Dietra Caldwell, who averages 11.8 points per game to go with 4.7 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game and Kayla Thorton who averages 11.2 points and 8 rebounds per game.

The Miners have yet to play a game on the road this season and will not play their first road game for another week when they’ll travel to play Big West rival UC Santa Barbara. For the Matadors this would be just their second true road game, the first was against Hawai’i in the Jack in The Box Rainbow Wahine Classic in a 66-58 loss where free throws made the difference in the tight matchup.

The Matadors second opponent is going to be another team with only two losses in New Mexico State (5-2) who has already defeated UTEP, the Matadors first opponent on this road trip.

The Aggies also hosted a thanksgiving tournament of their own and triumphed in a 72-63 win over Northern Iowa in the championship game to take.

The Aggies are a high scoring team and have four players who average double figures in scoring including guard Jasmine Lowe, who averages 15.6 points and 3.3 assists per game. Like the Matadors, the Aggies are not a good rebounding team and only average 37.3 rebounds, while allowing 40 rebounds per game to their opponents.