The CSUN women’s basketball team (7-23, 5-11 Big West Conference) starts its journey in March Madness Tuesday night with a Big West Conference Tournament Opening Round game against Cal Poly at approximately 8:30 p.m. airing live on ESPN3 from the Bren Events Center on the campus of UC Irvine.
Ghizal Hasan will be on the call on the CSUN Sports Network, live stats will be provided by the Big West Conference and the game will air live on ESPN3 with links for all available at GoMatadors.com. Fans are also encouraged to check with the CSUN Athletic Department’s official Twitter accounts (@GoMatadors, @CSUNCapeCrew and @_AlwaysFamily_) for updates throughout the weekend.
On Monday, Mar. 7, Channon Fluker was named the Big West Freshman of the Year and earned First Team All-Big West and Big West All-Freshman team honors. She is the first rookie in the league to earn First Team All-Big West honors since 2002.
The Matadors and Mustangs will meet in a rematch of the 2014 Big West Tournament Championship game, a contest in which CSUN prevailed 73-58. This year, the two teams enter the tournament as the No. 6 and No. 7 seeds and will play at 8:30 p.m. or 30 minutes after the conclusion of a match-up between UC Santa Barbara and UC Irvine.
Cal Poly won both games in the Big West season this year, although they needed a desperation 3-pointer at home to force overtime as the Matadors nearly orchestrated a fourth-period comeback. The Mustangs did a good job of containing Fluker in the two games, holding her to an average of 8.0 points and 7.5 rebounds.
Still, CSUN is confident heading into Tuesday. In each of the past two Big West Tournaments, CSUN has faced an opponent in its opening game that defeated the Matadors twice in the conference season. In 2014, it was the UC Irvine Anteaters and in 2015 it was the UC Davis Aggies.
If the Matadors advance to Wednesday’s quarterfinals, CSUN will face either the third-seeded Long Beach State 49ers or the fourth-seeded UC Davis Aggies at the Bren Events Center on the campus of UC Irvine with times to be determined.
CSUN Team Notes
- Freshman Channon Fluker is the third player in school history to be named Big West Freshman of the Year and the first since 2012
- Fluker’s career-high 15 field goals in games against UC Irvine and Long Beach State tie for the second-most in a single game in the program’s Division I history
- Fluker had a streak of eight-straight double-doubles during the Big West season
- Fluker was the only Big West player to total 30 points and 10 rebounds in a game this year and did it four different times
- Sophomore Tessa Boagni has scored at least 20 points three times this season, including a career-high 28 points at Portland State
- Boagni has scored in double-figures 12 times and led CSUN in scoring six times this season
- Freshmen Cheyenne Allen has dished out a career-high eight assists twice over the last four games
- Freshman Claudia Ramos knocked down a career-high five 3-pointers in the win at Cal State Fullerton, all coming in the first period
- Junior Emily Cole needs just two more 3-pointers to move into 10th in program history with 85 career 3-pointers
- Cole shot 39.4 percent (39-99) from the field in 16 conference games; averaged 6.8 ppg in Big West play
- Cole is tied for the team lead with 37 3-pointers on the season, shooting 30.6 percent (37-of-121) from downtown
- Senior Jasmine Johnson has scored in double-figures five times this year and set a new career high for points four different times
- Sophomore Serafina Maulupe is tied for the team lead with 37 3-pointers, shooting 35.6 percent (37-of-104) from downtown
Scouting Cal Poly
- The Cal Poly Mustangs enter Tuesday’s game with a 14-15 overall record after finishing 7-9 in league play
- The Mustangs lost at Hawai’i last week in their final game of the regular season
- Junior forward Hannah Gilbert earned Second Team All-Big West honors after averaging a team-high 12.8 points and 8.6 rebounds in the regular season
- Senior guard Beth Balbierz earned Honorable Mention All-Big West honors after averaging 12.6 points in the regular season
- Sophomore guard Dynn Leaupepe earned Honorable Mention All-Big West honors after averaging 11.6 points in the regular season
- In the two games against CSUN, Gilbert averaged 20 points and six rebounds while shooting 54.1 percent from the field
- Balbierz averaged 16.5 points and knocked down seven 3-pointers while shooting 58.3 percent from downtown in the two games
- For the season, the Mustangs averaged 39.1 rebounds, 13.1 assists and 17 turnovers per game
- Faith Mimnaugh is in her 19th season as the head coach of Cal Poly