Matadors seek to push down last-place Anteaters

Eric Gonzalez

The Anteaters and the Matadors will be fighting their way out of the last-place slot tonight at the Matadome.

UC Irvine is currently in last place, but a win tonight would do wonders for its hopes to eventually move up from the bottom.

This game means more than that, though. Head Coach Staci Schulz said the Matadors need this win, especially because the loss at Irvine on Jan. 24 sent them on a downward spiral.

‘The last game, when they beat us, that started our skid,’ Schulz said. ‘This will be a key win for us in conference play.’

With six games left in the regular season, ‘key’ is an understatement.

The Matadors will need to take care of the ball from the start of the game, Schulz said.
Schulz said this could be a difficult task since the Anteaters have a solid defense and like playing low-scoring games.

The Matadors have not been able to win in conference play this season without scoring more than 80 points. The Anteaters’ opponents have averaged 63 points per game against them.

To score, CSUN will need to get the ball into the post, Schulz said.

The Matadors’ top three post players, Jasmine Erving, Katrina Thompson and Bianca Davies, have shooting percentages of .469, .422 and .404 respectively. Those three are the only Matadors shooting over 40 percent.

In the last meeting, Thompson scored 15 points and had 11 rebounds. Though CSUN lost in the last seconds, it seemed like her efforts could have given the Matadors the win.

With Thompson’s efforts and another big night from Ashley Blake, who had 19 points in their last meeting and 14 in the Matadors’ last game against UC Riverside, they like their chances.

Date: Tonight
Time: 7 p.m.
Place: The Matadome, Northridge
Series: CSUN leads 17-16
Last meeting: CSUN 46 @ UC Irvine 48, Jan. 24
Interesting fact: Since the 2004-05 season, the Matadors have a home record of 4-1 against the Anteaters. They will need the home court advantage to keep their hopes alive of making the Big West Tournament in March.

Matador to watch:
Ashley Blake, guard, senior

Blake is coming off a hot shooting night against UC Riverside on Saturday. She made all four of the Matadors’ 3-pointers and was the top scorer of the game. Her shooting will be a necessity against an Anteater team that allows an average of 63 points. This is especially important because the Matadors scored 88 and 87 points respectively in their only two Big West wins. They have not scored more than 70 in their conference losses.

Anteater to watch:
Kim Barnes, center, sophomore

In the last meeting against the Matadors, Kim Barnes ended the Matadors hope of winning three straight Big West Conference wins. With 1.5 seconds left in the game, Barnes hit a turnaround shot to end the game with a 48-46 score. Barnes is ranked sixth in the Big West in blocks with 25 and fifteenth in rebounds. With Barnes in the paint, it is no wonder CSUN Head Coach Staci Schulz said UC Irvine is a sound team defensively that likes low-scoring games.

What did she say?

Staci Schulz, CSUN Head Coach
On the game plan against the Anteaters:

‘We need to get the ball to the post more often. When your post players are shooting about 50 percent, you need to get them the ball.’