Women’s Basketball: Matadors break records in rout of UC Santa Barbara

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Women’s Basketball: Matadors break records in rout of UC Santa Barbara

Brian Bernstein

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Junior center Camille Mahlknecht jumps back to score two points for the Matadors during their Saturday night game against the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos. Mahlknecht scored 21 points and had 22 rebounds to help secure a win for the Matadors. Photo credit: Trevor Stamp / Senior Photographer

 

CSUN (13-13, 9-3 Big West) never trailed the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (7-16, 2-8 Big West) and got the victory 78-54 for their first home win against UCSB since 1984 and their third total victory since 84, the first since 2007.

The Matadors started the season having lost 14 straight games to the Gauchos, and have now recorded their first ever season sweep in school history.

“We talk about the history of this program,” head coach Jason Flowers said. “Hopefully the young ladies and women who have played before take pride in this win as well. It is just a testament of the players in this locker room to show how hard they have worked.”

The Matadors saw a 15-point lead dwindle down to nine at 57-48 with seven minutes to play in the final half. Following a media timeout, CSUN exploded for an 11-0 run that would carry them all the way to the final buzzer.

They finished the game with a 17-6 run over the final seven minutes.

Junior center Camille Mahlknecht asserted her dominance by setting a CSUN single-game record 22 rebounds to go along with 21 points. 11 of Mahlknecht’s 22 rebounds came in the first half, and she secured 12 of the Matadors’ 25 offensive rebounds.

“It feels great (to set a record)” Mahlknecht said. “The win’s the most important thing, but I’m glad to have an extra bonus. I’m just glad we got the win.”

Mahlknecht’s presence down low was too much for the Gauchos to handle and her teammates continued to feed her the ball.

The advantage down low was a key for tonight’s victory Mahlknecht explained, and she found much of her success posting up and utilizing passes that came from the high post area.

CSUN saw yet another record set when junior guard Cinnamon Lister knocked down her second 3-pointer of the night to give her the most made threes in a single season with 67.

Lister came into the game with 65 3-pointers made and now sits atop the list. With every 3-pointer from here on, she adds to the record.

“My teammates have found me,” Lister said of her success. “ They draw two and dish it off to me and I’m wide open. It’s my teammates finding me in transition and I’m just sitting there spotting up.”

She ended the game with 10 points and five assists.

Flowers was happy for Lister and Mahlknecht to have something to show for all of the hard work his players have put in.

“At times this year it did not look like we were working, but for those kids who have worked hard, I’m just happy for them,” Flowers said. “It is just good for people who work hard to get rewarded.”

The Matadors started strong out of the gate grabbing a 17-point lead to pull ahead .  They hit three of their first five 3-point attempts. The early charge was led by the guard play of junior Ashlee Guay and Lister. Guay scored 10 of her 17 points in the first half.

CSUN dominated the glass in the first half behind Mahlknecht and did not let up, winning the rebounding battle 55-28.

With the victory, and a Long Beach State 49ers victory over the Cal Poly Mustangs (14-10, 8-3 Big West), CSUN now holds first place in the Big West with a slim lead in winning percentage with one more win than the Mustangs.

CSUN returns to action Saturday Feb. 22 at the UC Irvine Anteaters in a game that will be televised on ESPN3.