NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – Chattanooga used shooting and defense to edge Cal State Northridge in the consolation final of the Woodland Hills Holiday Inn Basketball Classic 2010, 74-68.
Both teams started out slow offensively, taking turns missing baskets. But then Whitney Hood ignited the Mocs with three consecutive baskets. The junior forward, who sat out last year after transferring from Clemson, averages 20 points per game so far this season.
Matador center Jasmine Erving fired back with three baskets of her own over the next several minutes, and the two teams were neck and neck until halftime, when Chattanooga lead 34-29.
CSUN point guard Janelle Nomura went on a scoring frenzy in the second half, putting up 20 of her career-high 24 points for the game. That included a total of 6-9 shooting and 13-14 free throws.
A Paige McIntyre three-pointer tied the game up at 45 with just under 15 minutes to go, but Lady Moc Tenisha Townsend answered with a trey of her own. For the next 12 minutes, the Matadors fought and scrapped and were within four points of Chattanooga. But the Mocs went on a run and topped CSUN 70-60 with 2:05 to go. The Matadors weren’t able to catch up.
Hood led all scorers with 27 points, and Kylie Lambert added 21 for Chattanooga.
Erving put up 16 points and had 13 boards – her second double-double in as many nights. It was also the second consecutive night she tied her personal rebounds record. Forward Violet Alama was just shy of a deuce-deuce, with nine points and 10 rebounds.
Jason Flowers, in his first year as head coach at CSUN, said the team has been working a lot on defense and will continue to do so. Though winless so far, four out of the six losses have been relatively close ones, and to quality teams. Flowers said things are coming along.
“The kids have a much better understanding now of how hard they have to work than they did when we first started,” he said. “Now it’s a matter of consistency for them.”
Coaches asked Erving to step up recently, and she has responded.
“It’s really shown in her rebounding and ability to get on the glass in the last two games,” Flowers said.
Despite the loss, CSUN out-rebounded Chattanooga 39-32.
Flowers said the team and coaching staff remain optimistic and focused on the progress they are making.
“The team can taste how good they can be,” he said. “We’re getting close; it’s just a matter of getting over the hump.”