CSUN falls to UC Davis, drop fifth game in a row

Justin Satzman

Daily Sundial

Even with junior Jamie McCaa’s first career double-double, the Cal State Northridge women’s basketball team came up short Feb.4 against the UC Davis Aggies, on Wells Fargo Court at the Matadome.

With the 66-55 loss, the Matadors lost their fifth straight game and third straight at home. McCaa led the Matadors with 16 points and 10 rebounds. With the victory, the Aggies won their sixth game in a row.

“It is just my fire and competitive spirit,” McCaa said referring to her team-high 10 rebounds. “I do not care if I get hit in there, I will go in and try. I am just a competitive person.”

The first half got off to a quick start with the Matadors scoring 15 seconds into the game when junior LaJoyce King hit a jump-shot, giving CSUN a 2-0 lead.

Defensively, CSUN tried to push the tempo by beginning the game in a full-court press. The defensive philosophy held the Aggies scoreless for the first two minutes of the game until Jackie Turpin made a layup and tied the game at two.

Scoring droughts, however would be a common occurrence for the Matadors throughout the game. After the Matadors scored their first basket, it took them two minutes to score again when McCaa finally made a layup.

With the score, the Matadors offense seemed to wake up as they went on a 7-0 run, capped by a McCaa three-pointer and forced UC Davis to call a timeout. Out of the timeout, the Aggies got a quick score when Ellen Porshneva hit an open shot.

For the next 10 minutes, both teams would go back and forth with neither team able to gain momentum to make an offensive run until the Aggies did with four minutes remaining in the first half.

With the Matador lead at one, Porshneva stole the ball from McCaa and laid it up on the other end, giving UC Davis its first lead in over 15 minutes. The lead, however, would not last long. Freshman Ashley Blake hit a jumper on the next play that gave the Matadors the lead back.

For the remainder of the half, the lead changed three times before the Aggies got a three-pointer from Kimberley Smith to take a 33-30 halftime lead.

As the second half began, the Aggies made an important defensive adjustment. UC Davis switched from a man-to-man defense to a zone defense, forcing the Matadors to take outside shots. The defensive adjustment worked as the Aggies held CSUN scoreless for the first three minutes of the second half.

UC Davis, however, could not take advantage of the struggling Matador offense, scoring only four points in the first three minutes of the second half.

Actually, the first ten minutes of the second half saw both teams struggle offenseivly with neither team able to generate momentum. The Aggies pushed their lead to five, but could not extend it beyond that until eight minutes to play.

After McCaa made an outside shot to bring the Matadors within one, UC Davis called a timeout and regrouped. After the timeout, the Aggies went on a 10-4 run over the next seven minutes, pushing their lead to 11 with less than two minutes remaining in the game.

“We had a couple moments where if we came in and hit a three or have Katie get an offensive board, we could have got back into the game,” head coach Staci Schulz said. “But they also came up with some pretty incredible scores.”

The Matadors did not recover as UC Davis extended its lead to 13 after Jackie Turpin nailed a three with less than a minute to play. Schulz tried to keep CSUN in the game by fouling, but UC Davis made its free throws and won the game.

The Matadors shot only 24 percent in the second half and 33 percent for the game. While the Aggies shot an impressive 48 percent for the game, including 42 percent from behind the arc.

“We just could not score,” Schulz said, “Our offensive was ok because we had good looks, we just could not put them down. I think we also struggle with recognizing when we are open and when we are double teamed. We sometimes do not see who is open and we do not always get them the ball.”

UC Davis had four players score in double figures, led by Smith’s 19. Turpin and Jessica Campbell added 14 points, while Heather Bates chipped in with 11.

Other than McCaa, only sophomore Katie Holloway scored in double figures, she had 11.

“It was a rough loss because we did everything well except shoot the ball well,” McCaa said. “But we will have another week of practice and we have a game next week.”

The Matadors next game will be at UC Irvine on Feb. 11 at 4 p.m. In their last meeting, the Matadors beat the Anteaters 57-47 back on Jan. 13 at the Matadome.

Justin Satzman can be reached at sports_sundial@csun.edu.