Northridge, Calif.– Following a 2015-2016 campaign that saw the Matadors go 7-24 (5-11), CSUN will look to turn the page and regain their winning ways of the years prior.
At the helm is Coach Jason Flowers in what will be his seventh season. During his time at Northridge, Flowers has completely changed the culture and identity of the program. He inherited a team that went 4-24 the year prior to his arrival and transformed them into a Big West power. But Flowers is no stranger to winning in basketball, as he played for the UCLA Bruins.
Coming off back-to-back Big West titles, the Matadors knew they would be a young team entering the 2015-2016 season as they had graduated their entire starting five. Chief among the losses was guard Ashlee Guay, who set a school record 1,761 career points during her time as a Matador.
Flowers said he knew last season would be a time of rebuilding with a young team.
“We took it as a learning experience,” he said. “You’ve got to go through different things in order to grow and get better, and obviously last year was one of those years for us.”
“We needed to do a better job in our preparation and just learning how to work in our daily work habits. Understanding that the process is the most important part of all of this and that if you take care of the process, then the results will take care of itself.”
This year’s Matador squad will return four starters, with Emily Cole being the sole senior on the squad. Sophomore center Channon Fluker, who had a breakout year as a freshman, is poised for a repeat performance this season. She averaged 13.6 points per game last year en route to being named the Big West Conference Freshman of the Year. She was also named to the 2016-17 Preseason All-Big West Conference Team.
Accompanying Fluker down low will be junior Tessa Boagni, who is no stranger to basketball fanfare after having suited up for her native New Zealand in the 2015 FIBA Oceania Series. Much like Fluker, Boagni is also a presence in the paint, recording three blocked shots in three separate games a season ago.
The Matadors will also welcome five freshman to the team this season in addition to welcoming a new face on the bench. Coming to Northridge following stops at USC and Arizona will be new assistant coach Brandy Manning.
CSUN begins their season tonight, hosting Portland State. They will also face Fresno State, Stanford, and Washington before beginning Big West play Jan. 5 against Cal State Fullerton.