California State University, Northridge women’s basketball (2-8) begins Big West play with two home games in the Premier America Credit Union Arena. The opener will be against Cal Poly on Thursday, Dec. 28, at 6 p.m. The Matadors’ next conference match will be going head-to-head with Long Beach State on Saturday, Dec. 30, at 2 p.m. Both games will be broadcast on ESPN+.
ABOUT LAST WEEK
The Matadors dropped a 70-53 decision to San José State on Dec. 18 at Premier America Credit Union Arena. CSUN trailed 46-43 after three quarters before the Spartans took control in the fourth quarter by outscoring the Matadors 24-10. A total of three Matadors scored in double figures led by Kaitlyn Elsholz scoring 17 points off the bench. Erica Adams had 12 and Talo Li-Uperesa had 10.
CSUN dropped a tight home decision to the LMU Lions, 77-74, on Dec. 21 to close non-conference action. Li-Uperesa registered a new career high as she scored 18 points. Two other Matadors scored in the double digits: Amiyah Ferguson’s 12, and Laney Amundsen’s 10. The Matadors outscored the Lions 24-21 in the fourth period but could not catch LMU down the stretch. Ferguson would miss a game-tying three as time expired.
FRESHMEN DUO LEADING OFFENSIVELY
CSUN’s true freshmen duo of Kaitlyn Elsholz and Amiyah Ferguson have been a force for the Matadors in the early going this season. Elsholz has shared or led the team in scoring five times while Ferguson has topped the team in scoring four times and led in assists six times. Elsholz, who was named Big West Player of the Week on Nov. 13, is leading the team in scoring at 10.8 points per game to go with averaging 2.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists. Ferguson is third on the team in scoring average at 10.5 points while dishing out 3.7 assists per game.
SPRIGGS MANAGING THE BOARDS
Junior forward Kayanna Spriggs has topped CSUN in rebounding in five games this season as she has averaged 5.4 per game in nine starts. Spriggs has pulled down double-figure rebounds in two games this season after previously accomplishing the feat just once in her career. She has also led the team in steals per game (1.6) while averaging 7.6 points per game.
NEWCOMERS MAKING AN IMPRESSION
A Pacific transfer, junior guard Erica Adams holds the second-highest scoring average for CSUN at 10.7 points and is shooting 42.2 percent with 3.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game. Another new face this season, junior forward Talo Li-Uperesa is second on the team in rebounding at 4.8 per game to go with averaging 7.5 points. Li-Uperesa, a transfer from the City of College of San Francisco, is shooting 45.9 percent in 29.6 minutes per game.
MATADORS ON THE BIG WEST CHARTS
Kayanna Spriggs is ranked 11th in The Big West in rebounds per game (5.4) and 10th in steals per game (1.6). Talo Li-Uperesa is fourth in blocked shots per game (1.1), while Kaitlyn Elsholz is seventh in the conference in blocks per game (1.0) and 10th in 3-point field goals per game (1.7). Amiyah Ferguson moves up to third place in assists per game (3.7) and is in 13th place for 3-point field goals per game (1.5). Erica Adams is fifth in free throw percentage (78.3).
SCOUTING CAL POLY
The Mustangs’ record is 4-6 as they come off a win against Sacramento State, 72-55. Last season, Cal Poly made it to the first round of the Big West Championship before being eliminated by UC Riverside with a score of 63-54. Cal Poly welcomes seven to its roster, two of which are freshman. Annika Shah leads the team in scoring at 12.7 points while Natalia Ackerman averages 10.9 points. Ackerman is also the top rebounder at 8.0 per game. The Mustangs are led by Shanele Stires, who is in her second season as head coach.
Series History: CSUN leads Cal Poly 44-42 in the all-time series. The teams split two meetings last season with the Matadors coming out on top 65-55 at home. CSUN has won six of the last nine meetings.
SCOUTING LONG BEACH STATE
Long Beach State’s record is 5-5 and is coming off a 85-77 loss to No. 6 USC. The Beach will play Cal State Fullerton on the Dec. 28 before meeting CSUN. Last season, the Beach made it to the second round of the Big West Championship before falling to Hawai’i 67-62. Long Beach State also made it to the WNIT but was eliminated by San Diego in the first round 75-57. The Beach welcome two newcomers to the team this season. Savannah Tucker leads the team in scoring at 14.6 points while Cheyenne Givens is averaging 11.0 points and Sydney Woodley is scoring 10.9 points. Long Beach State is led by Amy Wright, who is in her first season as head coach.
Series History: Long Beach State leads CSUN 44-23 all time. The Matadors had their four-game win streak snapped in the series last season when the Beach won 87-76 at Premier America Credit Union Arena. The teams split the season series last season.