The Matador women’s basketball team outplayed the Mustangs Tuesday night, winning its exhibition opener over The Master’s College 91-70 at the Matadome Nov. 8..
“I thought it was a good start,” said head coach Staci Schulz. “It took us a while. I think we had butterflies in our stomach and we had to make some adjustments with the way calls were going, with the way our performance was going and I was hoping we would make that adjustment a little quicker.”
Matador junior Jamie McCaa celebrated her 21st birthday, leading the Matadors with 23 points on 6-10 shooting and 10-10 from the free throw line. McCaa was among four Matadors in double figures, as junior Krisztina Fuleki scored 17 points and senior Heather Cushing and freshman Crystal Hahs scored 11. Sophomore Katie Holloway came off the bench to pull down nine rebounds.
“Our team did awesome,” McCaa said. “I think our whole team was into it, and we were all excited because it was our first game and we’ve been practicing with each other for a month. We were just finally ready to beat up on someone else.”
It only took CSUN five seconds to get on the board as Fuleki nailed a baseline jumper to start off the game. Hahs hit two free throws and Fuleki hit a three-pointer to give CSUN an early 7-0 lead. The Master’s scored its first two points on free-throws from Kinsley Mittel, but a jumper by junior Jazelle Burries and Fuleki gave CSUN an 11-2 lead.
The Master’s finally got it going, however, as Angela Gimeno hit two baskets to get the Mustangs going. A layup inside by Kelsey Shugert and another layup by Courtney Jackson had Master’s cut the lead to 11-10. McCaa answered with a basket, Holloway went under Shugert for a layup inside and jumper by Cushing pushed the lead back to 17-10. The Master’s responded as Stacy Nanninga and Brianne Yahn converted on layups and a three-pointer by Mittel tied the game at 17.
Ashley Blake put the Matadors back in front, but The Master’s would take their first lead when Jenn Ayers-Stamper nailed a three-pointer, giving The Master’s a 20-19 lead. Cushing answered with a layup inside to wrestle the lead back, but another three-pointer, this time by Gimeno put The Master’s back in front 23-21 and after a CSUN turnover, Gimeno scored on a short floater to extend the lead to 25-21.
CSUN responded as Cushing hit another layup and drew a foul on Nanninga in the process. Cushing converted the free-throw, cutting the lead to one. CSUN tied the game when Jazelle Burries hit the back end of two free throws and Fuleki hit a three to put CSUN back in the lead. The Matadors extended the lead to 33-25, but Master’s ended the half on a 7-2 run and Gimeno hit a three-pointer as time expired to cut CSUN’s lead to 35-32 at the half.
The second half began just like the first half began, with Fuleki hitting the first shot of the half, Crystal Hahs then hit two baskets to extend the lead to 41-32. The Master’s got the lead down to six before CSUN started to heat up. McCaa converted on a fast break layup, then LaJoyce King came up with a steal of Grace Tappe and Hahs hit a 20-foot jumper to put CSUN in the lead 51-40, the first double digit lead of the game.
CSUN also got a gift and Master’s was called for a technical foul for arguing the referee’s call. McCaa hit two free throws to widen the lead even further. The Master’s got as close as nine, but CSUN got red hot, as McCaa scored 19 points in the second half and CSUN led by as many as 23 points, turning what was a close game in the first half into a decisive rout.
“I’m just totally excited,” Fuleki said. “It’s our first game, we’re finally not playing against each other, it’s a good win, a good game for all of us.”
CSUN shot 48 percent from the floor, 71 percent from the free-throw line and out-rebounded the Mustangs 47-36. CSUN also got to the foul line 23 times as opposed to 12 in the first half.
“Overall, I’m very pleased with the team’s outing,” Schulz said. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the team, the spirit and everything.”
CSUN wraps up its exhibition schedule against “Love and Basketball,” an Amateur Athletic Union team named after the 2000 movie in which current Matador assistants Margo Clark and Carla Houser made cameos. The AAU squad is composed of residents of Southern California who played collegiate ball at universities across the region. Former CSUN assistant coach Denise Woods is currently on the team. The game takes place Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. at the Matadome.
Ivan Yeo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.