Entering the season, the Matadors had their eyes set on claiming the Big West Championship and a March Madness tournament berth.
“Our expectations are the same every year, which is to be the best team we can possibly be at the end of the season,” said head coach Jason Flowers. “I do not think that I did a good enough job to make that happen this year. I need to do a better a job (to) make sure we are (playing) more consistent in our peak for a longer period of time.”
Northridge’s lack of consistent play led them to an overall 16-16 record and a 9-9 one in Big West play, which ranked them sixth in the conference. Coach Flowers felt that what contributed to the inconsistency was the team’s inexperience and change of personnel.
“Our kids have played in a lot of games but it does not change the fact that they are sophomores and there are certain things you gain with experience,” Flowers said. “Obviously, with (freshman guard Marta) Masoni leaving in the heart of the season, we struggled with things and (it affected) we what did.”
Before leaving the team in early February due to a family emergency, Masoni was averaging 12.4 points per game, which ranked second on the team behind sophomore all-second team Big West guard Ashlee Guay.
Although CSUN played inconsistent at times during the season, there were high points such as the team’s 77-72 win over the UCLA Bruins at Pauley Pavillion on Dec. 20, a four game win streak against Big West opponents in early January, and the team making it past the opening round of the Big West Tournament by handily defeating UC Davis 61-40.
“The win at UCLA was the highlight of our season,” said Senior forward Violet Alama, who averaged 6.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per game on the season. “It was one of the few games we played together as a team. It was just a really exciting and fun game to be a part of.”
CSUN was lead in scoring and assists by Guay, who averaged 13.2 points and 3.9 assists per game. Sophomore center Camille Mahlknecht led the team with 7.3 rebounds per contest and led the conference with 2.2 blocks.
Guay said the team did not reach its goal of winning the conference and reaching the NCAA tournament, but the win at UCLA and getting to the second round of the postseason were steps in the right direction.
“We had an up and down season with some accomplishments,” Guay said. “We need to be consistent and (as the team’s point guard), I need to maintain a good flow for each and every game for us to play a good, consistent level.”
The Matadors offense and defense both ranked in the middle of the pack as they scored 58.3 per game, good for sixth in the conference, and gave up 58.9 points per game, which was fifth best in the Big West.
CSUN ranked first in the conference at 12.1 steals per game, with Guay leading all Big West players with 3.3 steals per game. They also ranked first in the conference with 16.3 offensive rebounds per game.
Alama feels that the team has grown both physically and mentally this season.
“I am proud of how much I and my teammates have grown,” Alama said. “I am just very excited about the direction the program is heading and I am proud to be a part of that change.”
Flowers felt the two tournament games were very telling of the Matadors inconsistent play throughout the season.
“At the end we played really well offensively against UC Davis and then against UC Santa Barbara we were just not,” Flowers said. “It just still comes back to consistency and being able to show up everyday. We talked about responding the right way to success or failure. I think this is an area this group can definitely improve in handling success and expectations. That is something that will be learned this season and will help us next season.”