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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CSUN puts up season lows in loss to BYU

It was rough on the road for the Cal State Northridge women’s basketball team, setting new season lows in shooting percentage (27.9 percent) and points (48) in its 55-48 loss to Brigham Young University at the Smith Fieldhouse in Provo, Utah on Dec. 9.

“BYU took away shots that we were looking for and forced us to have people taking shots in the positions that we don’t normally do,” head coach Staci Schultz said. “They took away our strengths, actually, and we were settling for off-balance shots or shots that are not part of the offense.”

The Matadors, slipping to a 3-7 record, made only 17 of 61 shots from the floor and nine of 16 free throws for 56.3 percent. BYU did not shoot much better, making 21 of 61 shots for 34.4 percent from the floor. From the free throw line, BYU made only eight of 17 shots, for 47.1 percent.

“We shot the ball pretty poorly. For two games in a row now we’re shooting 27 percent,” Schultz said. “We either shoot it really well or shoot it really bad and we can’t seem to find a happy median.”

Senior guard Jamie McCaa scored her second double-double of the season and led the Matadors with 14 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. Senior forward Ofa Tulikihihifo followed with 11 points and is now only 10 points away from breaking CSUN’s all-time scoring record. The Matadors set a new season-low 14 turnovers and matched a season-high 11 steals, led by Tulikihihifo and Jazelle Burries, both with three steals each.

BYU’s junior guard Mallary Gillespie led all players in points with 16, including four three-pointers. Junior center Lauren Riley followed with nine points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Senior guard Jennie Keele also contributed nine points.

The Matadors were playing without two of their key players: sophomore guard Ashley Blake, who has started every game this season, and senior forward LaJoyce King, who has scored double-doubles in the last three games she has played. According to Schultz, the athletic trainers held Blake from playing and King did not make the trip to Provo due to a violation of team rules.

“It’s one of those tough things that we have to make decisions about and at the same time we have to do it,” Schultz said regarding King’s not making the trip. “We can’t wait to have her back next week.”

CSUN got on the scoreboard first with a jump shot by McCaa in the first two seconds of the game. This would turn out to be CSUN’s biggest lead of the game as the BYU Cougars immediately tied the game with a lay-up by Melinda Johnsen and then went ahead 4-2 on a layup by Dani Wright. Tulikihihifo tied the game at four with a jump shot. The game remained close until BYU went up 12-7 on a three-pointer by Mallary Gillespie. Kristin O’Rourke made a jump shot to put the score at 12-9 and neither team would score for nearly five minutes. A pair of free throws by the Cougars’ Shawnee Slade brought the score to 14-9 and BYU started to stretch out their lead. A jump shot by Keele gave the Matadors a nine point lead at 22-13. CSUN made its own run, launched by a jump shot by Burries and capped by a jump shot by O’Rourke, to put CSUN ahead 26-25 at the half.

In the second half, the Cougars went up 27-26 on a lay-up by Riley. A free throw by the Matadors’ Megan Ching tied the score at 27, but the Cougars came right back with a lay-up by Keele to go ahead 29-27. BYU continued to score and took their biggest lead of the game 48-35 on a lay-up by Cassie King. CSUN started to come back, helped by two three-pointers by Krisztina Fuleki that brought the score to 51-42. McCaa made a pair of free throws and BYU’s lead was cut to seven points at 51-44. Tulikihihifo made two free throws in the six seconds to bring the Matadors within six at 54-48, but the Cougars would score one more on a free throw and hold on to win the game 55-48.

While the Cougars had 20 turnovers to the Matadors’ 14, BYU did a better job of taking advantage of those, scoring 11 points on turnovers while CSUN scored only 4. BYU also did much better in the paint, scoring 24 points to only 8 by the Matadors.

“The post players that we do have are not traditional post players,” Schultz said. “They actually had to face up a little bit and the minute you face up in the post, then you don’t get them marked as points in the paint. They were a post-dominate team. That’s their bread and butter.”

The Matadors return home for their next five games and will play the University of Montana Grizzlies on Dec. 17 at 4 p.m. at the Matadome.

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