Northridge stops at UCLA after Thanksgiving

Michael Harrington

The Cal State Northridge women’s basketball team will wrap up its trip to Alaska tonight and then head back to California for Thanksgiving. Will the Matadors be thankful for their first win of the year? That is yet to be seen. However, after the holiday is over and the turkey is all gone, it’s back to business. Thankfully, they won’t have to travel too far for their next road game. UCLA will be their destination as they battle the Bruins (2-1) Sunday.

UCLA tonight takes on the Cal Poly Mustangs, rivals of the Matadors in the Big West Conference. The Bruins already defeated another Big West competitor in their season opener, when they downed the Cal State Fullerton Titans 78-62.

UCLA scored 107 points in its final exhibition game, but since then its offensive production has declined with each match. The Bruins have put in 78, 66, and 55 points in their first three regular season games, respectively. The bulk of their scoring load has been handled by sophomore Doreen Campbell (13.7 points per game) and senior Chinyere Ibekwe (10.7 ppg).

Campbell had a 25-point effort in the Bruin’s loss to Maryland last Sunday, and is also the team leader in assists with five per game. Ibekwe is the team’s rebounding leader at 12.7 per game, and that is something the Matadors will need to concentrate on in the contest.

The Bruins rank first in the Pac-10 Conference in rebounding, with a difference of +20 over their rivals. Northridge has struggled on the glass this season, winning the battle of the boards only once in its first four contests.

Limiting rebounds, especially on the offensive end, will not only give UCLA less second-chance opportunities, but may lead to more transition opportunities for the Matadors.

The UCLA women’s basketball isn’t as decorated as its men’s program, but it will still be a tough challenge for Northridge if the Matadors don’t come prepared.

Date: Sunday
Time: 2 p.m.
Where: Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles
Series: Bruins lead 8-0
Last Meeting: Matadors 69 @ Bruins 81 (2007)

Interesting Fact: The Bruins and Matadors have been squaring off since 1975, a year they battled twice. UCLA won both meetings, 77-27 and 85-32.

Matador to watch:
Guard Tonicia Tademy, senior

Entering the season, Tademy said she needed to be more vocal in running the offense, and that she had to be confident in directed her teammates on where to be when CSUN has possession. Thus far, the offense has struggled a bit, especially in the first half. She has been good overall, averaging about seven points, five assists, and five rebounds per game. If she can help the offense get off to a hot start, the Matadors have a chance to stay competitive.

Bruin to watch:
Guard Doreen Campbell, sophomore

Campbell was the Bruin’s lone shining moment in their loss to Maryland on Sunday, when she dropped in 25 of UCLA’s 65 total points. As a primary ball-handler, the key for her is not turning it over, and she has done a great job of that since she arrived last season. She had one or less in 27 of her 30 games last year as a freshman, when she was named to the Pac-10 All-Freshmen team.This year she leads the team in points and assists.

What did she say?

Staci Schulz, CSUN Head Coach
On the offense in the preseason compared to the start of the regular season:

‘We scored a lot more in the two preseason games. Our offensive chemistry was great. Now we are getting off to cold starts and it has to do with personnel. Players just aren’t making shots.’