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Women's Basketball

CSUN Heads To South Bend To Start NCAA Journey

Links associated with this release:
2018 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Bracket


Big West Women's Basketball Weekly Release No. 19


Big West Tournament champion CSUN heads to South Bend, Ind., to begin its NCAA Tournament journey, squaring off against Notre Dame Friday in Purcell Pavilion.

The Matadors (19-15) were handed the No. 16 seed in the Spokane Region, pitting them against the top-seeded Fighting Irish (29-3) on their home floor at 2:00 p.m. PT live on ESPN2. Purcell Pavilion will also host the first round matchup pitting No. 8 South Dakota State (26-6) and No. 9 Villanova (22-8) at 5:00 p.m. PT, with the winners squaring off Sunday at a time to be determined.

CSUN is coming into the NCAA Tournament on a hot streak, having won four games in five days to claim its third Big West Tournament title. The Matadors are the first team in Tournament lore to win four games on the way to the title.

Notre Dame is the regular season champion of the Atlantic Coast Conference, earning at-large entry into the NCAA Tournament after falling in the ACC Tournament championship game.


CSUN completed a Cinderella run in the Big West Tournament, becoming the first team to win four games on the way to the title. The fifth-seeded Matadors are the second-lowest seed to win the Tournament and the first team under the current format to win four games in five days. CSUN is now 3-0 in Big West title games under Jason Flowers, having won in 2014 and ‘15.

The 2018 Tournament marks the first time since 2015 that the third and fourth seeded clubs lost their quarterfinal matchups. The first and quarterfinal host that year? Cal State Fullerton which is also where this year’s first two rounds were held. It is also just the second time since the league readopted the double-bye format in 2013 that neither No. 3 or No. 4 advanced to the semifinals.

The tournament hasn’t been kind to the top seed of late as the #1 hasn’t been crowned champion since 2014 and has only reached the championship three times in that span.

Excuse the Drake reference but UC Riverside’s Michelle Curry deserves it after her quarterfinal performance against UC Irvine. Curry dropped a career-high 40 on the Anteaters, becoming just the fourth player ever to score that many in a Big West Tournament game. She also is the first Highlander to score that many points in a Division I game and set Tournament records for free throws made (18) and attempted (21). The previous Tournament record for made free throws (14) was set back in 1985 and equaled in 1992, tying it for the oldest indivdual record in tourney history.

For the second consecutive season, UC Davis has clinched the outright Big West regular season title and the #1 seed at the Big WestTournament. The Aggies are the first back-to-back outright regular season champion since UC Santa Barbara did the same from 2007-09. UCD has a record of 28-4 in conference play over the last two seasons, the most the program has picked up over a two-season period in its Big West tenure and the most since the Gauchos went 30-2 over the 2007-09 campaigns.

CSUN’s Channon Fluker had a year to remember that was full of individual achievements. This season junior passed the 1,000 point barrier, recorded her 50th career double-double, picked up her 1,000th career rebound and set a single-game record. Fluker can become just the fifth player to lead the league in rebounding and blocks and just the second to have done so in consecutive seasons. Former UC Santa Barbara great Mekia Valentine was the first in the 2009-11 seasons. Fluker’s achievements led her to being named Big West Player of the Year for the second straight season, something that has only been done five times in the league annals.

UC Davis junior Morgan Bertsch, CSUN junior Channon Fluker, UC Riverside senior Michelle Curry, UC Davis senior Pele Gianotti, Hawai’i senior Sarah Toeaina, UC Davis senior Rachel Nagel, Cal Poly senior Lynn Leaupepe and CSUN senior Tessa Boagni became members 138-145 of the Big West 1,000-point club this season.


1 - UC Davis is the first team in Big West history to host a WNIT game.

2 - Postseason appearances by UC Irvine all-time (1995 NCAA, 2018 WBI)

12 - Player of the Week awards claimed by CSUN's Channon Fluker, one off tying the all-time Big West record.

20 - UC Davis reached 20 wins faster than any other team in program history this season.


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