Women’s Basketball: Matadors prepare for postseason with blowout of Tigers

Kevin Kiani

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In a game that will help determine the Matadors (14-15, 8-9 Big West) women’s basketball team’s seeding in the upcoming Big West Conference Tournament, Northridge led wire-to-wire against the Cal State Fullerton Tigers (9-20, 5-12), winning 72-44 Thursday night.

Sophomore guard Janae Sharpe led the Matadors with 16 points on 5 for 9 shooting and sophomore guard Ashlee Guay chipped in 15 points and 5 assists.

Racing out to a 16-4 lead the Matadors never let up, with the Tigers unable to threaten the lead at any point during the game. The Matadors held the Tigers to 8-28 shooting in the first half, and went into halftime leading 28-18.

“I thought we did a great job in the first half with a lot of things,” said head coach Jason Flowers. “I am pleased with the progress. We went from not being able to put two halves together to what we did tonight, it was definitely a step in the right direction.”

The Matadors did not let up in the second half and came out firing. CSUN started on a 10-3 run led by Sharpe, who had the team’s first eight points.

“We just wanted to come out and be aggressive,” Sharpe said. “We wanted to stay in the tempo and flow of the game and play how we played in the first half.”

CSUN had their best shooting performance of the season as they shot 70 percent in the second half, including 6-8 from the three-point line. For the game, Northridge shot 57.1 percent from the field and three-point line. Sophomore guard Randi Freiss, nearly had a double-double with 10 points and tied her career high of 9 rebounds.

“We were playing on our home court, we were pumped up and very excited,” Freiss said. “Things went well for us in the first half and the flow continued throughout the game and everyone was feeling it.”

The Matadors had a distinct size advantage in the game as they scored 36 points in the paint and outrebounded the Tigers 45-25.

“For the most part we have a size advantage against most teams in our conference,” Flowers said. “We just executed tonight and took what the defense gave us.”

The Matadors held Fullerton to 16 percent from the three-point line and overall held the Tigers to 27 percent shooting for the game. The 44 points is the second lowest point total for a Matadors opponent this season.

“Defense kind of went out the window lately but tonight we played great team defense,” Freiss said. “We know with this tournament coming up we need to play good defense to win so with every game right now we are preparing for the tournament.”