FULLERTON – Four Matadors scored in double figures as CSUN Women’s Basketball won for the second-straight night, eliminating UC Santa Barbara 72-63 from the Big West Tournament on Wednesday evening.
Tessa Boagni led the Matadors with 16 points to go with seven rebounds and four assists while Destiny Brooks tallied a career-high 15 points on 5-of-11 shooting from 3-point range. Channon Fluker posted her 20th double-double of the season, recording 10 points and 13 rebounds.
The Matadors will face No. 2 seed Cal Poly in a Big West semifinal game on Friday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. at the Honda Center in Anaheim.
“I’m extremely proud of our group and how they came out and competed as a group,” said head coach Jason Flowers. “Hats off to Bonnie [Henrickson] and the job she does and they did tonight in preparation. They obviously had a game plan to make us do some things that we don’t normally do. Great teams do difficult things together, and I think our group is starting to do that at the right time. So extremely proud of our young women, and looking forward to another challenge on Friday.”
The Matadors tied a season high with nine 3-pointers (on 22 attempts) to go with a 44.1 field goal percentage and 84.6 free throw percentage (11-for-13). The Gauchos finished with a 39.1 field goal percentage but a 31.6 3-point percentage (6-for-19). The teams registered 12 second chance points and six points off turnovers while the Matadors’ bench narrowly outscored the Gauchos 20-19.
In the first quarter, CSUN missed its first five shots and fell into an early 8-2 hole. The Matadors though would fight back into the game thanks to strong shooting from 3-point range. CSUN went on an 8-2 run of its own, capped off a 3-pointer from Claudia Ramos to pull even at 10-10 with 2:16 left to play. The last two minutes though belonged to the Gauchos as they scored the final five points to lead 15-10 after one period.
The Matadors fell behind by as many as seven points in the second period (20-13) but quickly closed the gap on back-to-back 3-pointers from Brooks. Eliza Matthews hit consecutive jumpers including converting on a traditional 3-point play to tie the game at 24-24 with 1:51 on the clock. After Drew Edelman put UCSB back on top, Brooks knocked down another trey to give CSUN its first lead of the night. Ramos hit another shot from 3-point range near the end of the half to give the Matadors a four-point lead but Sarah Porter hit a jumper in the final seconds to make it a 30-28 game at the break.
After going scoreless in the first half, Fluker scored the Matadors’ first four points of the third period. The teams went back-and-forth in the quarter as Edelman gave UCSB a 43-42 lead but the Matadors responded with four consecutive points to lead by three. However, UCSB closed another quarter scoring the final points. Tal Sahar hit a jumper with 39 seconds left to play to put the Gauchos ahead 47-46 after 30 minutes.
The teams changed leads three more times in the fourth quarter. Ramos hit another long range shot to put the Matadors ahead 53-51 with 7:07 left to go. Sarah Bates evened the game on the ensuing possession, but it would be the Gauchos last bucket for over four minutes. Meanwhile, the Matadors went on an 11-0 run, capped off by jumpers from Boagni and Fluker. After UCSB went on a 7-2 run to trim the CSUN lead to six, the Matadors earned a key defensive stop with a minute to play. The Matadors would knock down six free throws in the final minute to seal the victory.
Ramos scored 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting including three 3-pointers. Hayley Tanabe added seven assists and three points while Meghann Henderson finished with eight points and four assists.
Fluker’s double-double was her 52nd of her collegiate career. Now sitting on 1,544 career points, Fluker has moved into third place on the Matadors’ all-time career scoring list, ahead of Jasmine Erving (1,536, 2008-12).
With the victory, CSUN has secured its second-straight trip to the Big West Conference semifinals at the Honda Center and the team’s fourth in the last five years.
The winner of the Matadors and Mustangs on Friday will advance to the Big West Championship game on Saturday at 4 p.m. Friday’s semifinal game will be aired live on ESPN3.