Done in by sloppy turnovers and lack of execution, the Matadors (10-5, 0-1 Big West) lost to the UC Davis Aggies (6-7, 1-0 Big West) 60-49 on Thursday night, making them the last team in the Big West conference to lose at home this season.
A fast-paced first half featured both teams shooting lights out from the field. The Aggies were 47.8% on 11-23 shooting and 45.5% from the three-point line on 5-11 shooting. They were also 71% from the free-throw line on 5-7 shooting. The Matadors were 37.9% from the field on 11-29 shooting and 50% from the three-point line on 6-12 shooting. CSUN shot 66.7% from the free throw line on 4-6 shooting. The offensive fireworks ended with a 32-32 tie at halftime after freshman guard Katelin King made two free throws.
“I didn’t think we played well at all in the first half at all,” head coach Jason Flowers said. “We were lucky to be in the position to have a tied basketball game because I thought that they kind of did the things that wanted to do. They controlled things in the second half. The lack of execution on the offensive end, giving them open looks, it wasn’t anything that surprised us.”
Senior guard Ashlee Guay led all scorers at the half with 11 points on 3-5 shooting from the 3-point line and 4-9 overall. Fellow senior guard Cinnamon Lister was 2-2 from the three-point line and senior center Camille Mahlknecht scored six points on 2-7 shooting. Senior Janae Sharpe added three points, an assist, a block, and a steal. Senior forward Randy Friess lead the Matadors with six rebounds.
“I feel like we had a lot of open chances that we didn’t capitalize on” Guay said. “We missed a lot of layups so that’s where we struggled. When we did things right we scored correctly.”
Guay led all scorers with 19 points on 7-15 shooting, 4-6 from the three-point line and 1-3 from the free-throw line in addition to 3 assists, and 2 steals. Senior Aggies forward Sydnee Fipps went 5-6 from the three-point line for 15 points which helped the Aggies pull away in the second half. Fipps hit three three-pointers in the second half.
“We just had mental lapses where we didn’t finish or we didn’t hit the open person,” Guay said. “It was more execution. I don’t think their size really hurt us. It’s anyone’s game.”
Mahlknecht picked up her fourth foul with 11:06 left in the second half and finished with 6 points on 2-8 shooting with five rebounds, an assist, an a steal. Junior center Bernadette Fong subbed in for Mahlknecht and played 23 minutes. Junior Aggie junior forward Alyson Doherty had 16 points and 11 rebounds while going 6-7 from the free-throw line.
“I just think we didn’t do a good job of finishing in general,” Mahlknecht said. “Doherty is a big inside presence but she’s not a shot blocker. The guards did a good job of finding the post players and we just couldn’t capitalize on it.”
In the second half the Aggies were 34.8% from the field on 8-23 shooting while shooting 5-8 for 62.5% from the 3-point line. They shot 7-8 for 87.5% of the free-throw line. The Matadors were 20.8% from the field on 5-24 shooting while shooting 1-6 for 16.7% from the 3-point line. They shot 6-9 for 66.7% from the free-throw line.
“Regardless of who our opponent is, we feel if we do what we’re supposed to do and execute then we’re a tough team to beat,” Flowers said.
The Aggies defense locked down on the Matadors and UC Davis ended the contest on a 20-2 run. The Matadors extended their lead to 47-40 with 8:51 left as Lister found Fong in the low post for a lay-up. That was the last field goal for the Matadors. Sharpe made two free throws in the closing seconds of the game.
“I take full responsibility” Flowers said. “I have to do better job of getting the team ready and prepared to play in our next game. Davis, hats off. They made plays and their kids played well. They came in here and got off to a great start for their conference season.
For the game, the Aggies shot 19-46 for 41.3% from the field and 10-19 for 52.6% from the 3-point line. They also shot 12-15 for 80% from the free-throw line. For the game, the Matadors shot 16-53 for 30.2% from the field and 7-18 for 38.9% from the 3-point line. They also shot 10-15 for 66.7% from the free-throw line.
“We just need to be disciplined and do what we’re supposed to do” Guay said. “Every single time you’re getting everyone’s best shot.”
The Matadors play Hawai’i, who lost at Cal Poly Thursday evening, on Saturday at 4 p.m. in the Matadome.