Northridge looking to go north

Michael Harrington

After failing to pick up a win at home, the Cal State Northridge women’s basketball team (0-4) will head out on the road again.

The Matadors’ stop will be Alaska, where they will participate in the Great Alaska Shootout with back-to-back games Tuesday and Wednesday.

Joining Northridge in the four-team tournament is the host, the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves, the Syracuse Orange and the Jackson State Tigers.

After four games, sophomore Analee Viena-Lota leads the Matadors with 11.8 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. She is also shooting 50 percent from the three-point line. Senior guard Tonicia Tademy has chipped in with an average-line of seven points, five assists, and five rebounds.

The Seawolves will be the Matador’s first opponent Tuesday night. They are the two-time defending Alaska Shootout champions and are apart of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, which participates in Division II play. With an overall record of 5-1, the Seawolves are currently ranked No. 5 in the country in Division II women’s basketball. It will be the first ever meeting between the two teams.

Alaska-Anchorage’s defense is the best in its conference, so CSUN will have to be on top of its game offensively if it wants to stay competitive in the contest. Like the Matadors, the Seawolves are led in points and rebounds by a single player. Rebecca Kielpinski is averaging 11.2 points and 9.5 rebounds.

Syracuse and Jackson State will square off in the other first-round match. The winners of each match will face one another in the finals on Wednesday. The losers will battle for third place that same day.

The Orange (3-1) are representing the Big East Conference. They held a berth in last year’s NCAA tournament and finished the season 22-9. Syracuse is an offensive powerhouse, led by two players averaging over 20 points per game.

Senior Chandrea Jones leads the Orange with 21.8 points per game, while sophomore Erica Morrow has put in 20.3 per game. The Orange defeated the Matadors in their only previous meeting back in 2001.

Jackson State knows what CSUN is going through during the beginning parts of the season as the Tigers have also yet to get in the win column. They’re 0-2. Last season they were the Southwest Atlantic Conference Tournament champions, which gave them a berth in the NCAA tournament.

The Matadors are hoping to end a nine-game losing streak dating back to last season. Thus far, they haven’t been close in any of their defeats, losing by an average 17 points per game. The first half has been one of the pitfalls for Northridge, where it has averaged just 22 points. In turn, the Matadors have gone into halftime trailing big. It’s hard for any team to be competitive in the second half if they keep burying themselves in the first.

Tuesday’s game will tip off at 7 p.m. while the start time for Wednesday’s contest has yet to be determined.