The second half turned out to be the downfall for the Matador women’s basketball team, as CSUN could not keep up with the San Jose State Spartans, falling 76-62 at the Matadome on Monday night.
CSUN was unable to find an answer inside for Amber Jackson, who scored 15 points and pulled down 17 rebounds. Alisha Hicks led all scorers with 18 points, and Lamisha Augustine scored 17. LaJoyce King led CSUN with 15 points and Krisztina Fuleki scored 12, but it wasn’t enough as the Matadors fell to 0-2.
“It was a tough match up at times,” said Jazelle Burries on guarding Jackson. “She’ll catch you off the dribble, but we need to work on our help defense. Its not something that’s going to hamper us throughout the season. We’re just going to work on it and we’ll get stronger and better.”
Krisztina Fuleki, just as she did against BYU, started with a three pointer, as did Ashley Blake, to make it a 6-2 CSUN advantage, forcing a quick Spartan timeout.
A 10-4 run gave CSUN a larger lead before Alisha Hicks hit a three-pointer, swinging the momentum toward San Jose State. Brittany Imaku hit a three to make it 16-15, then Hicks hit another three to tie the game at 18. Lamisha Augustine scored inside to give San Jose State its first lead of the game.
Holloway responded with a layup to tie the game, but Augustine hit another jumper to put the Spartans back in front. Then Burries converted a lay-up inside, drew the foul in the process and hit the free throw to give CSUN a 23-22 lead.
San Jose State went on an 8-0 run to take a 33-25 lead, but CSUN countered with its own 8-0 run to tie the game. Jamie McCaa hit two free-throws to give, but Augustine again scored the last five points to provide San Jose State with a 38-35 halftime lead.
“I think we got a little more consistent,” said head coach Staci Schulz. “I thought we had a decent first half, even though we were down three. I thought we still executed.”
Barnes started the second half by stealing Fuleki’s inbound pass and taking it all the way for the layup. Fuleki made up for the error with a three ball.
CSUN trailed 51-40, but then went on an 8-3 run, cutting the deficit to 54-48. San Jose State then went on a 10-2 run to lead 64-50. The lead grew to as many as 16 and was too much for the Matadors as the Spartans received clutch shots in the waning moments from Augustine, Jackson and Natalie White.
“It is very frustrating cause we know we can do it,” King said. “We were right there at halftime and then it seemed like it just slipped away from us in the second half.”
CSUN’s second half struggles continued, as the Matadors turned over the ball 10 times and shot 9-32 in the second half. Still, Schulz and the team is refuse to panic, especially this early in the season.
“I talked to them about that, and I refuse to panic about it,” Schulz said. “I just think right now we’re adjusting to a new way.”
“We’re adjusting to not having a leader,” Schulz added, referring to the absence of Ofa Tulikihihifo. “I think that a lot of people won’t see from watching our basketball games is that Ofa is a leader off the court too, and its difficult sometimes when all you get to do is stay on the sidelines and try to do that leadership, but we’re working on that as a group and we’re going to get there with her on the sidelines.”
CSUN now embarks on a long road trip, starting with a trip to Hawaii for the Wahine Classic at the University of Hawaii for the Thanksgiving weekend. The Matadors’ first game will be against Texas A’M at 1:20 p.m. HST.
Ivan Yeo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.