For the first time in its Big West Conference history, the Cal State Northridge Women's Basketball team (18-14) is headed to the NCAA Tournament. The Matadors scored a 73-58 victory over Cal Poly in the Big West Championship Saturday, Mar. 15 at Honda Center. Ashlee Guay, the tournament's Most Valuable Player, led CSUN with 25 points.
The regular season champion of the Big West as well, CSUN will now wait for Monday, Mar. 17 to see where they are headed for the NCAA Tournament. The selection show is slated for 7 p.m (ET) and 4 p.m. (PT) and will air on ESPN.
Northridge jumped all over the Mustangs from the opening tip, building a 30-10 lead with 5:20 to play in the first half. Cal Poly responded with a run to close the half, but CSUN carried a 32-20 advantage into the halftime.
In the second, the Matadors mainatained a double-digit advantage for most of the 20 minutes. Cal Poly had one final push and cut the lead to six with 4:23 to play (62-56), but CSUN closed the game on an 18-2 run to claim its first Big West Conference title.
Guay, the Big West Player of the Year, finished 9-of-18 from the field and 3-of-6 from 3-point territory. She had six assists to zero turnovers and added six rebounds and four steals in 39 minutes of action.
Janae Sharpe and Camille Mahlknecht also earned all-tournament team honors for Northridge. Sharpe finished with 17 points, two assists and four rebounsd in 31 minutes of action. Mahlknecht finished with six points, three rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 20 minuts of work.
Cinnamon Lister finished with nine points, Bernadette Fong added eight and Rand Friess posted four points in the victory. As a team, CSUN committed just five turnovers in the contest and forced 17 Mustang miscues.
CSUN shot 41.4 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from 3-point range. The Matadors held the Mustangs to just 33.9 percent from the field, including a 19.4 percent clip in the first half. Ariana Elegado led the Mustangs with 23 points.
This will be CSUN's second appearance in the NCAA Tournament since moving up to Division I. The 1998-99 squad captured the Big Sky Conference Championship and played Colorado State in the opening round.