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Small Colleges / Alan Drooz : Cal State Northridge's Women's Team Reaching New Heights

January 14, 1986|ALAN DROOZ

The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team is ranked 10th in the nation this week, but the Lady Matadors will face the acid test Saturday, when they play host to No. 1 Cal Poly Pomona.

They will play at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo tonight, taking an 11-2 record and a 1-0 conference mark into the California Collegiate Athletic Assn. game.

The Northridge women won only nine games last season but are on an upswing, with Coach Leslie Milke coaching full time after two years as a part-timer. This year, he is directing a deep, balanced team.

The omens for the Pomona game are mixed. Pomona is 19-1 lifetime against the Northridge women and hasn't lost to them since 1976. The defending national champions have won six straight games. Northridge teams, however, haven't lost a game this season in the Matador gym in any sport. The volleyball team went undefeated, the men's basketball team is 7-0 at home and the Lady Matadors are 6-0.

FOR THE RECORD - Small Colleges / Alan Drooz Northridge Job Keeps New Coach on Run By ALAN DROOZ
Los Angeles Times Wednesday January 29, 1986 Home Edition Sports Part 3 Page 7 Column 1 Sports Desk 28 inches; 972 words Type of Material: Correction
Bob Burt has hardly had a moment to catch his breath since being named football coach at Cal State Northridge a little more than a week ago.
"It's really an interesting experience to start new, try to pick a staff, meet with your players, get them on an off-season program, get familiarized with the neighborhood," the 44-year-old coach said.
Then there's been the matter of recruiting, with several junior college players enrolling this week and the high school signing date approaching in two weeks. And, of course, meeting with reporters and putting the school's best new foot forward. He's been getting to his new office at about 6 a.m.
It has been hectic and it has been time-consuming, but it has also been fun, Burt said. "I really love it. The people here are super. The reception I've had has been very positive."
Burt was most recently defensive coordinator a Cal State Fullerton. He has also been an assistant at Hawaii and UCLA, and served a brief stint as head coach at U.S. International University in San Diego.
Although defense-oriented--his Fullerton units ranked among national leaders in several categories and led the nation in interceptions one season--Burt said that he hopes to maintain Northridge's reputation for good offense as well. He plans, however, to discard the run-and-shoot look Coach Tom Keele used last season on the way to a 4-7 record. The Matadors have had only five winning seasons in the last 16.
"We'll try to be balanced on both sides of the ball," Burt said. "I really think you've got to be balanced. We'll also work hard on the kicking game. You win if you do all three well, or at least do two of the three."
Burt is aiming his high school recruiting at San Fernando Valley players, and said he hopes to build a strong association between the football program and the community. Mark Banker and Rich Lopez, the lone holdovers from Keele's staff, have done much of the preliminary work.
Burt's most immediate concern is filling his staff. On Tuesday, he named Pat Degan, an assistant at Mesa College in Colorado, as an assistant coach. Burt said the demand for the assistants' openings strengthens his feeling that Northridge is an attractive spot on the sports map.
"I've had more than 50 calls from across the nation from guys who want coaching jobs," he said. "It's amazing. I'm excited about the (staff) possibilities here."
Those who have worked with Burt stress his personality and ability to work with young players as his strongest attributes. Burt said that his relationship with the Fullerton players made it hard to leave, but they understood his desire to run his own program.
Burt, who has coached athletes on nearly every college level, said he

Balance appears to be the key for Milke this year. Junior forward Denise Sitton, who redshirted last year, is the leading scorer at 12 points per game, with forward Regan O'Hara and center Tara Flanagan also in double figures.

All 10 women on the roster play. Rene Loch, not considered the point guard, averages 4.4 assists. Flanagan came up with 16 points and 8 rebounds as Northridge opened CCAA play with an upset of Chapman College last week.

Defense is stressed, as evidenced by the team's numbers: 23 opponent turnovers a game, 13.5 of them on steals, and opponents' 37% shooting compared to Northridge's 45%.

None of that may hold up against Pomona, which has a 13-3 record and a six-game winning streak. Pomona apparently is on track again to win the CCAA title and challenge for national honors, but Northridge may have established itself as the top contender and a good bet to make the postseason tournament, which will match the top four teams and probably send more than one to the NCAA tournament.

Smith College of Northampton, Mass., the nation's largest women's private college and the birthplace of women's collegiate basketball, is making a four-game swing through California.

The trip has a dual purpose. It gives the team a week in Southern California and the school a chance to recruit West Coast students. The Unicorn roster includes Georgianna Streeter of Hollywood.

Smith is recognized for its academics, but the women manage to combine schoolwork with athletics. Leading scorer Hilary Fink, ECAC rookie of the year last season, is an academic All-American and is majoring in Russian literature. She averages 16.7 points.

Another junior, Marcella Zalot, was ninth in the nation in rebounding last season and is averaging 13.9 rebounds this year while majoring in economics.

Streeter, a junior from Marlborough School, is also on the rowing team and is majoring in philosophy. Her family will be seeing her play for Smith for the first time.

Smith began playing basketball in 1882, shortly after the game was originated down the road in Springfield. It was introduced on campus by the physical education director, Senda Berenson, who was one of the first three women inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame last July. Thus, Smith claims to be the oldest women's basketball program in the country.

A survey by the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., shows Azusa Pacific basketball Coach Cliff Hamlow eighth among active coaches--regardless of division--with 537 victories through December. Ahead on the list is Norm Sloan of Florida with 548. Right behind Hamlow is Ed Martin of Tennessee State at 513.

Hamlow, who has been at Azusa Pacific for 28 years after starting out at Pacific Bible College, ranks first among NAIA coaches. He's 25 victories ahead of Duane (Moose) Woltzen of Lakeland College near Sheboygan, Wis.

Cal Poly Pomona will inaugurate its athletic hall of fame Saturday, honoring its first five inductees in ceremonies before the men's basketball game against Cal State Bakersfield.

The inductees are Don Hogan, a three sport star and small college football All-American, 1957-60; Stan Jackson, a small college All-American quarterback, 1957-60; Roger Folsom, three-sport star from 1959-61; Lorelee Miller, who was women's most valuable player in six sports from 1961-65; and Sue Gozansky, the woman athlete of the year from 1964-68 and current volleyball coach at UC Riverside. Ceremonies are scheduled for 7:15 p.m.

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