It was a tough Saturday afternoon at the Thunderdome, but center Neeta Sreekanth gave the Northridge fans something to cheer about in the midst of a 56-48 loss to UC Santa Barbara.
Coming off the bench, Sreekanth scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds. The freshman has had a big impact on the team in the last three games and is really showing her opponents what they have to look towards for next season.
It was Sreekanth that ended a six-minute scoring drought in the opening half for CSUN (6-21, 3-11 Big West) and, from there, she continued to carry the team.
At the end of the first 20 minutes, she led the team in scoring and rebounding with 10 points and six rebounds.
The freshman was only able to score two more points and gather two rebounds thereafter, but it was still good enough to make her one of the leaders in the loss to the No. 1 team in the Big West Conference, the Gauchos.
UCSB’s Lauren Pederson led the Gauchos in scoring at the end of the half with five points, keeping them up 29-23 going into the locker room. At the end of the night, she had eight points and 11 rebounds.
It was Jenna Green of UCSB who owned the Thunderdome, though. She had a game-leading 20 points. It was the second time this season Green torched the Matadors for at least 20 points. On Jan. 28, at the Matadome, Green scored 26 as UCSB beat CSUN 75-58.
As the Big West leader in shots blocked, Green dominates opponents. The story didn’t change on Saturday. Green and her teammates led Northridge the entire game except for after the opening bucket, which was scored by Tonicia Tademy.
Tademy opened the night with a 3-pointer and finished it with nine points. She also dished out seven assists.
As the conference assists leader, Tademy’s play dipped slowly, but she brought it back up in the Matadors’ win against Fullerton on Feb. 21.
Another player that got her start at Fullerton was guard Analee Viena-Lota.
She may have had low numbers in against the Titans (two points, three rebounds), but she had high energy. That type of play got her nine points against the Gauchos Saturday. All nine came from beyond the 3-point line.
Viena-Lota shot 50 percent from the field. The shooting didn’t work out the same for the rest of her team.
Play like that does not help the cause for making the Big West Tournament. The Matadors are still holding the No. 8 spot, but if they finish with the same amount of losses as the Anteaters, the Matadors will be watching the tournament from home for the second consecutive year.
The last time the Matadors missed the tournament two years in a row was from 2002-04.