As the CSUN women’s basketball team heads out on the road for their final regular season road trip, they do so after recently having their season-high eight game win streak snapped.
UC Santa Barbara, who is currently in first place, beat the Matadors 74-46, Saturday at Santa Barbara, ending the women’s longest win streak since the 1982-83 season. However, the Matadors can take solace in the fact that the team’s leading scorer and rebounder, Ofa Tulikihihifo, did not play.
Tulikihihifo injured her knee two days earlier in a game at Cal Poly, where she led the Matadors to an 83-81 double-overtime win. She scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the victory.
Without Tulikihihifo the Matadors were not only outscored, but while usually dominant on the boards, the Matadors were badly out-rebounded, 45-27. The Matadors, now 15-8 and 10-5 in league play, travel to Pacific, (near the bottom of the Big West at 5-18, 2-13) then play UC Davis, currently 8-17.
With Tulikihihifo playing, the Matadors will be in great shape to sweep the road trip, giving them momentum before heading into the Big West tournament. Without her, the task becomes much more difficult.
Tulikihihifo is averaging over 19 points and nine rebounds a game and seems to make everyone around her much better. LaJoyce King has been more than adequate in her role as the team’s second leading scorer and rebounder.
King has been averaging 12.1 points and 6.5 rebounds a game. Jamie McCaa, who stepped up earlier in the season when Tulikihihifo was unable to play, averages about 10 points, three rebounds and three assists a game.
On the road this season, the Matadors are currently 7-5, compared to an 8-2 home court record. CSUN has consistently been able to out-rebound its opponents, averaging 39.3 a game, compared to 35.7 for their opponents.
The Matadors other big advantage is at the free-throw line, where they shoot almost 73 percent as a team, led by McCaa who is shooting over 82 percent in conference play.
Pacific is led by Tina Sanerivi, who is the only player on the team averaging double figures in scoring, with 11.5 per game. Carolina Ruiz is second on the team, averaging over seven points a game. She also leads the team in rebounding, with over seven a game.
Pacific is outscored by an average of 15 points every game and is currently in the midst of a season-long, six game losing skid. The last time the two teams faced off, McCaa had 26 points, six rebounds and six steals in a dominating 73-50 Matador win, without an injured Tulikihihifo.
The UC Davis Aggies, on the other hand, have been very competitive lately. They’ve only won three of their last eight games, but have been within 11 points in each loss.
Ellen Porshneva, averaging 14.1 points a game, leads the Aggies while also averaging over five rebounds a game, and shooting a sparkling 88 percent from the free-throw line.
Kimberly Smith is averaging 12.5 points per game and Jessica Campbell averages 9.9 points and 5.5 rebounds. Lara Gray is averaging 9.2 points and a team-high 7.4 rebounds per game.
The player that makes it all go for the Aggies is junior guard Jackie Turpin. Turpin plays a team-leading 35 minutes a game, averages slightly less than nine points, six rebounds, a team-high 4.9 assists and team-leading 2.2 steals per game.
After the road trip, CSUN will return home to close out its regular season with games against UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton.