It took eight games, but the Northridge women’s basketball team picked up its first win of the season, defeating San Jose State 69-63 Sunday afternoon at The Matadome.
‘We learned from all the other games and put it together for this game,’ Matador Head Coach Staci Schulz said. ‘All together top to bottom.’
Senior Ashley Blake led Northridge with 15 points on 5-for-9 shooting, including three from behind the arc. She delivered two of them when the Matadors really needed a boost.
Leading by one with 5:59 remaining, Blake hit two consecutive threes that put the game away. The Spartans (1-6) didn’t get closer than four the rest of the way.
Despite having been winless, the Matadors (1-7) closed it out and didn’t let the game slip out of their hands. They held their largest lead of the game at the 2:57 mark, 61-52.
‘Whatever I could do to help my team win is what I’m going to do,’ said Blake, who also had a career-high six rebounds, season-high five assists, and three steals in an all-around effort.
‘Beyond the shooting, she had a fantastic game,’ said Schulz. ‘She played like the senior she is.’
With less than two minutes remaining and the Spartans trailing 61-57, it was time to send the Matadors to the charity stripe and extend the game. Good strategy, but Northridge came through in the clutch, making eight of 10 free throws to close the game out. Guard Tonicia Tademy hit five of six, putting a nice finish to a solid 10-point, six-assist and five-rebound game.
‘We competed for the whole 40 minutes,’ Tademy said. ‘Competing in spurts is not enough.’
The Matadors definitely didn’t compete in just spurts, especially not in the first half. A 5-4 San Jose State lead quickly turned into a Northridge lead that they held for the duration of the first half. With the score tied at 22, a Bianca Davies field goal gave the Matadors a 24-22 that eventually climbed to 31-24 and a 33-29 lead at halftime.
To start the second half, the teams traded the first four baskets. Two Chasity Shavers free throws tied the score up at 44-44. The Spartans took their only lead of the half at 45-44 when Kelly Blair hit one of two free throws.
Davies played 15 minutes off the bench. As a unit, the Northridge bench outscored the San Jose State bench 18-7. Bridgette Conejo led the charge with seven points in 15 minutes.
As a team, the Matadors (1-7) shot 7-for-15 from three-point range, with an overall field goal percentage of 45.5. Center Jasmine Erving and forward Analee Viena-Lota helped Northridge control the paint, combining for 19 of the team’s 26 points in the paint, and collecting 13 rebounds.
The Spartans were led by forward Shaunna Ridge’s efficient shooting. She made three of four three-point attempts and her 16 points came on just nine field goal tries. Guards Chasity Shavers and Natalie White had 13 points apiece. White, however, struggled to find a rhythm offensively, making only five of her 17 attempts. She also turned the ball over seven times.
Northridge can now focus on putting together a string of wins and not have a losing streak in the back of their minds.
‘We played better,’ Schulz said. ‘Better is what it took.’
The Matadors will look to continue to turn their season around as they travel to Fresno to take on Fresno State Tuesday at 7 p.m. Then it’s off to Las Vegas to compete in the UNLV Holiday Tournament Dec. 19-20. Northridge begins its Big West Conference season Jan. 2 at Pacific.