NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Freshman Krisztina Fuleki poured in a game-high 17 points as Cal State Northridge broke a seven-game skid and picked up its first conference win with a 56-50 victory over UC Irvine Thursday in The Matadome.
With the win, the Matadors improve to 2-9 overall and 1-2 in the Big West, while the Anteaters drop to 1-10 overall and 0-3 in conference play.
Fuleki, who established a career-high with her 17 points, was 7-10 from the field, including 3-4 from three-point land. She also added four rebounds, three steals and two assists. Senior Brezya Rhodes was the only other Matador player to reach double figures with 12 points. The Anteaters held Northridge's leading scorers Ofa Tulikihihifo (five points) and LaJoyce King (two) to a combined seven points. Tulikihihifo did pull down a team-high nine rebounds.
For UC Irvine, Courtney Ferguson had a team-high 14 points, including four three-point baskets. Christina Callaway added eight points and eight rebounds, while Ashley Biggins had a game-high 11 boards.
The Matadors opened the game with a 6-0 run only to see UCI answer with a 10-0 run of its own. CSUN then scored the next 11 points to go top 17-10 with 8:32 left in the half. The Matadors would lead the rest of the half until the Anteaters came back to tie the score 26-26 on a Ferguson jumper. But Jazelle Burries made a short jumper to give Northridge a 28-26 halftime lead.
The Matadors opened up a five-point lead (33-28) just two minutes into the second half only to see UCI go on a 10-1 run to take a 38-34 lead with 14:51 left. After Northridge took a 43-42 lead with 7:56 remaining, Stephanie Duda made a layup and the free throw giving the Anteaters their last lead 45-43 with 7:05 left. CSUN's Kim Gildersleeve made a three-pointer to put the Matadors back on top 46-45 and Northridge would never give back the lead, settling on the six-point winning margin.
Cal State Northridge will travel to Long Beach State on Saturday for a 7 p.m. game in the Pyramid.