Women’s basketball: Matadors flip the switch and come back from 13 point deficit at Pacific



Anthony Carpio

After a slow start in the first half, the Matadors made drastic adjustments in the second to come back and beat Pacific Saturday night. Photo courtesy of Andres Aguila

After a disappointing performance in the first half, CSUN (9-8, 4-1 Big West) mounted an impressive comeback victory, defeating Pacific (9-7, 3-2) 72-68 Saturday night at the Alex G. Spanos Center.

“I thought the kids played hard and earned the win in the second half,” CSUN head coach Jason Flowers said. “We have a great group of young women and they showed great character tonight.”

Finding themselves down 33-20 at halftime, it seemed as though the Matadors were about to face another Big West Conference road loss.

“I just think we got our butts kicked,” Flowers said about the first half performance. “They just came out and played harder than we did. There wasn’t anything that they did that we weren’t ready for.”

The Matadors couldn’t find a basket in the first half. The team shot an appalling 27.3 percent (6-of-22) from the field, with each field goal coming from a different player. Points didn’t come easy from the foul line either, as they made 5-of-9. The team also had 13 turnovers and lost the rebounding battle 22-9.

Down by 13 points at the break, Flowers had some words to say to his players and their lack of effort in the first half.

“It was an embarrassment the way we played, the way we represented ourselves and the university in the first half,” he said. “We talked about playing hard and we talked about playing for each other.”

Flowers’ squad heard his words and the CSUN team that came onto the court in the second half wasn’t the same group from the first 20 minutes of play.

The second half started with a 3-pointer from Matador forward Jessica Duarte, which sparked a 19-2 run for the Matadors led by guard Haley White.

“I think we just realized how we were playing in the first half wasn’t going to get it done, so we knew we had to pick it up,” White said.

White had an impressive second half as she scored 10 of her 12 points, hauled in seven rebounds and blocked two shots.

“I just knew that we needed to win this game and I just did whatever it took to help us do that,” she said.

Matador forward Jianni Jackson had a great impact on the second half push as well. The junior scored 11 points, collected seven rebounds and was 5-of-6 from the charity stripe.

Not only did CSUN adjust on the offensive end, but it regained its defensive presence as well. Pacific shot well in the first half (47.8 percent), but the Matadors clamped down defensively and drove that percentage down to 27.5 (11-of-40).

“We were more in it mentally and that just helped us,” Jackson said. “We were talking to each other on defense.”

CSUN’s biggest lead was nine points, but Pacific would not go down quietly. The Tigers were within three points multiple times in the remaining minutes of the game, but White and Jackson were there to collect any missed shot and lock down their opposition.

“(White) did a pretty good job at playing defense,” Flowers said. “Besides the 50-foot heave bank shot at the end, I think she did a pretty darn good job of shutting (Pacific guard Erica McKenzie) down or at least limiting her in the second half.”