The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Matadors lose first of three-game homestand

It was Greek night Tuesday at the Matadome, where fraternities and sororities around CSUN were invited to a night of cheers and halftime fun while also cheering on the CSUN women’s basketball team against the Pepperdine Waves.

The fans were at their loudest and the Matadors did everything they could to feed off their energy and stay with the Waves, but in the end, Pepperdine was one better, as they led for all but the first two minutes of the game and weathered several CSUN threats and came away with an 84-66 win, giving the Matadors their fourth straight loss.

“We didn’t execute as much as we wanted to,” senior forward Ofa Tulikihihifo said.

Senior LaJoyce King had a double-double, scoring a team-high 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Two more seniors also scored in double figures. Krisztina Fuleki had 13 points and Tulikihihifo added 12. Sherriel Boyd and Teena Wickett both scored a team-high 17 points for the Waves, Daphanie Kennedy had 11 and Teiosha George added 10.

Kristin O’Rourke scored the game’s first bucket, but it would be five minutes before the Matadors scored their next one. Meanwhile, the Waves scored eight in a row to take an 8-2 lead. The Matadors answered with a 7-2 run to get within 10-9. Kennedy hit a three to stop the run, but scores by Fuleki and O’Rourke tied the game at 13.

A steal and layup put Pepperdine back in front. Fuleki tied the score again, but the Waves came out with a 13-3 run that put them ahead 28-18. The Matadors scored eight in a row to cut the Pepperdine lead to two, but the Waves again countered with an 8-2 run, highlighted by a Boyd jumper at the buzzer that gave Pepperdine a 36-28 lead at the half.

Blake opened up the second half with a coast-to-coast layup, but three-pointers by Shannon Johnson and Jessica Ross gave Pepperdine a 42-30 lead. A score by Miranda Ayim made it a 14-point game. Fuleki responded with a three, but Kennedy scored six in a row to give Pepperdine a 50-33 lead. Threes by McCaa and Fuleki cut the lead to 50-39, but Wickett converted a three-point play, which was actually the start of a 10-4 run that got the Waves’ lead back to 17.

Pepperdine continued to keep CSUN in its rear-view mirror throughout the second half. The Waves’ lead peaked at 21 on two occasions and Pepperdine had a 74-58 lead with 4:24 left to play, but CSUN made one last effort to stay in the game. Tulikihihifo made two free throws. Boyd then missed a jumper at the top of the key that actually went toward Boyd, but Tulikihihifo tipped the loose ball over her head, recovered it and went all the way for the easy score.

CSUN forced a turnover on the Waves’ ensuing possession and, following a timeout, worked the ball to King in front of the Matador bench. King quickly drove in and converted the easy layup to cut the Pepperdine lead to 10 at 74-64 with 3:09 left in the game.

Pepperdine, though, answered back on its next possession, as Boyd hit a jumper at the top of the key to raise the lead to 12. Then a Johnson score made it a 14-point game. Crystal Hahs cut the Waves’ lead back to 12 with a jumper from the left side that looked short, but got the friendly bounce. But on the Waves’ next possession, George missed a jumper, got her own rebound and scored with 1:26 to go and also drew the foul on Hahs. Though she missed the free throw, the damage was done, as the Waves got two more baskets to put the game out of reach.

“We shot the ball fine, we shot free throws fine, we got to the free-throw line more than they did, they just shot the ball 20 more times that we did, and we got to defend better,” head coach Staci Schulz said.

Both teams were pretty much neck-and-neck in shooting percentage. CSUN shot 44 percent from the floor while Pepperdine shot 47 percent. CSUN, though, shot itself in the foot by committing 31 turnovers. Pepperdine also shot 4-8 from the three-point line in the second half.

“A lot of our turnovers were unforced,” King said. “They were turnovers we made ourselves.”

CSUN’s recent struggles can also be traced to the absence of junior center Katie Holloway. According to Schulz, Holloway broke her right hand during practice prior to the Saint Mary’s tournament and is currently in a cast. Schulz said that Holloway will have a check up in five weeks, though she was told by the doctor that the injury could heal simply by sitting on it.

“The doctor said that if we padded it up, she could play, but it is her right hand, so I don’t know,” Schulz said.

The Matadors will attempt to pick up the pieces this Saturday afternoon when they host another West Coast Conference team, the Santa Clara Broncos, at the Matadome at 2 p.m.

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