THIS WEEK (All Games Broadcast on GoMatadors.com - Play-by-Play: Sam Farber)
Friday, Nov. 24 • Saint Mary’s • Moraga, Calif. • McKeon Pavilion • 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 25 • Alabama/Missouri • Moraga, Calif. • McKeon Pavilion • 5:05 p.m.
NORTHRIDGE SPENDS HOLIDAY IN NOCAL
The Matadors conclude a four-game road trip this weekend when they travel to Moraga for the Hilton Concord Thanksgiving Classic. Northridge (2-2) will face host Saint Mary’s (1-1) on Friday at 7:05 p.m. and either Alabama (3-1) or Missouri (3-0) on Saturday at 5:05 p.m. Both games can be heard live on GoMatadors.com with Sam Farber at the call. Coverage begins 15 minutes prior to tip-off with the pre-game show.
Northridge opens a three-game homestand and a stretch of eight of nine at The Matadome starting Tuesday, Nov. 28 when it hosts Pepperdine at 7 p.m. The Matadors also host Santa Clara on Saturday, Dec. 2 at 2 p.m. and Hawai’i on Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. during the homestand.
FOLLOW THE MATADORS ONLINE
All Matador women’s basketball games can be heard live over the internet at GoMatadors.com with Sam Farber at the call. Coverage begins 15 minutes prior to tip-off with the pre-game show. For the second straight season, the Matadors have partnered with CSTV and the Big West Conference to present live video streaming of all league games and non-conference home contests. Click on the Big West TV banner on the front page of GoMatadors.com for more information.
SCOUTING THE GAELS
Saint Mary’s is coming off a 69-68 victory over previously undefeated Miami last Friday. The Gaels came back from a 33-21 halftime deficit to record the win. Sophomore Jontelle Smith led four players in double figures with 17 points. In its first game of the year, Saint Mary’s lost at 21st-ranked California, 71-56. Through two games, junior Monica Mertle leads the team at 14.0 points per game, while junior Maija Lahde (11.5) and Smith (11.0) are also averaging in double figures. The Gaels return nine letterwinners from last year’s squad that went 12-16 and placed fifth in the West Coast Conference. Smith led the team in scoring last year at 11.9 ppg, while Mertle was second at 10.5. Paul Thomas is in his first season at the helm of the Gaels. Saint Mary’s leads the all-time series over Northridge 6-1, having won six straight since the Matadors took the first matchup in 1981 (95-63) in Santa Barbara. In the last meeting on Nov. 23, 2003, the Gaels recorded a 51-45 victory at The Matadome. Ofa Tulikihihifo led the Matadors with 22 points and 14 rebounds. Northridge is 0-4 all-time at McKeon Pavilion against the Gaels and 0-5 overall including a neutral site loss to Brigham Young in 1993. The last game in Moraga between the two teams came on Dec. 18, 2002 when the Gaels posted a 67-59 win.
SCOUTING THE TIGERS
Missouri enters this week’s play with a 3-0 record and travels to 11th-ranked Stanford on Tuesday before taking on Alabama in the first round of the Hilton Concord Thanksgiving Classic. The Tigers won at Southern Illinois, 71-60, to start the season, which was followed by home victories against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (89-60) and Arkansas State (74-53) last Friday. Senior Tiffany Brooks is one of four Tigers averaging in double figures in points at 18.7. Sophomore Alyssa Hollins is next best at 14.0 ppg, followed by seniors Carlynn Savant (13.3) and EeTisha Riddle (11.3). Riddle and Savant each posted a double-double against Arkansas State, while Riddle also had one against Southern Illinois. The Tigers lost their top two scorers from a year ago, but still returned 10 letterwinners from last year’s team that went 21-10, finished fourth in the Big 12 Conference and lost to Virginia Tech in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Ninth-year head coach Cindy Stein has a 136-107 record in eight-plus seasons at Missouri. The Matadors have never faced the Tigers and are 0-4 against the Big 12 following their 80-64 loss to Colorado Sunday. Northridge has also fallen to Nebraska (85-53, 1992), Kansas (79-66, 1997) and Texas A&M (76-52, 2005).
SCOUTING THE CRIMSON TIDE
Alabama improved to 3-1 on the season following a 60-57 victory over Southeastern Louisiana at home on Sunday. The Tide also have home wins over Samford (62-53) and Tennessee Tech (71-56), while losing to Arkansas State on the road by a score of 73-56. Senior Kate Mastin leads the team in scoring at 14.3 points per game, while senior Navonda Moore is also in double figures at 11.3 ppg. Moore is the team’s top returning scorer at 12.7 ppg from last year’s squad which went 9-18 and placed 11th in the 12-team Southeastern Conference. Stephany Smith is in her second year as the head coach of the Crimson Tide and has a career mark of 165-108 in nine-plus seasons. Just like Missouri, the Matadors have never faced Alabama and are 0-4 against the SEC. The Matadors have lost twice to Mississippi State, 98-64 in Northridge in 1999 and 75-61 in 2000 in Albuquerque, N.M. Northridge also dropped home decisions to Kentucky (74-52 in 1994) and LSU (70-52 in 1990).
MATADORS RUN TOUGH WITH BUFFALOES
Ofa Tulikihihifo scored a team-high 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting, while Jamie McCaa posted her third career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, but the Matadors dropped an 80-64 decision to Colorado on Sunday in Boulder.
Ashley Blake also scored in double figures for the Matadors, pouring in 12 along with four assists. Colorado was led by Jackie McFarland’s 21 points and 14 rebounds, while Jasmina Ilic (18) and Bianca Smith (14) also scored in double figures.
The first half was a series of runs for both teams. Colorado (2-1) made the first run, going on a 9-2 spurt in the first three minutes. Northridge (2-2) responded with a run of its own, scoring seven straight to tie up the game at nine. Tulikihihifo scored on three straight shots to even the contest.
The Matadors took their first lead at 13-12 with 13:34 left and also led at 18-16 with 11:27 remaining before the Buffaloes scored 11 straight to take a 27-18 advantage with 8:29 left. Following a 6-0 Northridge run which cut the deficit to three, Colorado netted 10 in a row to go back up 37-24 with 4:27 remaining.
During the end of that run, the Matadors suffered a huge loss when LaJoyce King fouled out. After picking up her third foul on the offensive side, the senior was called for her fourth on the ensuing possession and incurred a frustration technical for her fifth. Overall, the Buffaloes completed the first half on a 21-6 run to take a 48-30 lead to the locker room. McCaa had a strong first half, recording nine points and six rebounds, while Tulikihihifo added seven in the first six minutes.
Northridge came out of intermission with a run and cut the deficit to 11, going on a 9-2 run to open the second. Tulikihihifo scored nine of the Matadors’ first 11 points of the second half, including seven during the run. The Buffss would bring the lead back to 18 though over a four-minute span, scoring 10 of the next 13.
Colorado got its lead to as high as 20 at 64-44 with eight minutes left. The Matadors were within 13 on two occasions down the stretch, but ultimately fell by 16.
The Matadors shot almost the identical percentage in both halves, shooting 39.3% for the first half and 39.4% for the second. Northridge also recorded 4-of-18 (22.2%) from three-point range and went 12-for-20 (60.0%) from the free throw line.
Colorado made 30-of-65 (46.2%) from the floor, also making five three-pointers. The Buffaloes also won the battle of the boards 46-35.
MATADORS SNAP LOSING STREAK TO SPARTANS
Jamie McCaa led the Matadors with 17 points, while LaJoyce King added 14 and six rebounds, as Northridge beat San Jose State for the first time in seven tries with a 66-63 victory over the Spartans on Friday at The Event Center.
The Matadors move to 2-1 on the season, their first 2-1 start since the 1999-2000 season. Northridge also breaks a six-game losing streak to San Jose State (0-2) and wins its first road opener since 1998.
The Matadors led throughout the first half, but the game was tied at eight before Northridge went on an 8-1 run to take a 16-9 advantage at the 13-minute mark. After the Spartans cut the deficit to three, the Matadors went on another spurt, scoring six straight to go back up by nine at 22-13 with nine minutes left in the first half.
Northridge led by as many as 11 in the first half at 28-17 before San Jose State closed the first 20 minutes on a 14-6 run to trail by only three at 34-31 going into the locker room.
San Jose State, which went just 1-for-8 from three-point range in the first half, sank its first three attempts from beyond the arc to open the second half to take a 40-36 lead three minutes in. The Spartans would go on a scoring drought though for the next seven minutes, as Northridge went on an 8-3 run to re-take the lead at 44-43 midway through the second half.
The lead changed hands four more times over the next six minutes until the Matadors took the lead for good at 55-54 following a basket by Ashley Blake. After going 30 minutes without scoring a point, McCaa finished strong down the stretch, recording nine of the Matadors’ final 13 points to give Northridge the win.
Blake also finished in double figures with 11 points for the Matadors. Ofa Tulikihihifo added eight points and nine boards, Jazelle Burries posted nine points and Katie Holloway recorded three blocks. The Matadors shot 37.9% from the field (22-for-58) and struggled for the second straight contest from the free throw line, going 20-of-37 for 54.1%.
San Jose State was led by Natalie White’s game-high 21 points, while Brittany Helm added 11.
COUNTDOWN TO HISTORY
Senior Ofa Tulikihihifo moved into solo third on the all-time Northridge points list last weekend and now has 1,298 points for her career. Tulikihihifo remains just 104 points away from becoming Northridge’s all-time leading scorer. If the senior were to maintain her career average of 16.4 points per game, Tulikihihifo would break Denise Sitton’s record of 1,401 in the 11th game of the season against Montana on Dec. 17. The senior is also second on the field goals list with 524 and rebounds with 678.
HEAD COACH STACI SCHULZ
Staci Schulz became the 11th head coach in Cal State Northridge women's basketball history when she was named to the post on August 2, 2005. Last season, Schulz guided the Matadors to a 10-20 record and an appearance in the Big West Tournament semifinals in her first season. The Matadors posted big wins at Long Beach State and UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton in the Big West Tournament, along with non-conference victories over Eastern Michigan, Southeastern Louisiana and Portland. Three Matadors were also honored on postseason teams. Jamie McCaa earned honorable mention all-conference accolades, Katie Holloway was named Sixth Woman of the Year and LaJoyce King was selected to the All-Big West Tournament team.
In 2004-05 as the top assistant to head coach Tammy Holder, Schulz and the Matadors posted an overall record of 18-11, finished fourth in the Big West with an 11-7 conference record and made their first-ever trip to the Big West Tournament. Upon Schulz's arrival in 2002, the Matadors improved every season, going from three wins to six in 2003-04 to 18 in 04-05.
Prior to her days at CSUN, Schulz spent four seasons (1998-2001) at UNLV, where she worked with the guards and perimeter players on the court and was in charge of recruiting and scouting efforts off the court. After joining Regina Miller's staff in 1998, the Rebels posted a 76-41 record in Schulz's four seasons on the bench, including an NCAA Tournament berth in 2001-02. Schulz's previous coaching experience also includes stops at Western Illinois (1997-98) and her alma mater, Mount Marty College (1996-97). At WIU, she was an assistant under Miller and taught classes in activities and basketball before joining Miller at UNLV. At Mount Marty College, Schulz spent a year in the admissions office and assisted the women's basketball program with recruiting.
A native of Parkston, S.D., Schulz is a 1996 graduate of Mount Marty College in Yankton, S.D. She earned her bachelor's degree in education and was a four-year letterwinner for the Lancers from 1991-96 and a three-year starter and team captain, playing a variety of positions for the NAIA school. She prepped at Parkston High School, where she earned all-conference honors in basketball, but also competed in track and golf. Schulz is a member of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and the Black Coaches Association (BCA).
Schulz currently resides in Acton.