The Cal State Northridge women's basketball team lost three recruits before the season and two starters to knee injuries shortly thereafter. It also has lost its coach, who was fired after 10 games, and every game since Feb. 8 of last year.
But rarely have the Matadors been as down as they were after blowing a seven-point lead against Loyola Marymount on Thursday night.
The 54-48 setback dropped Northridge to 0-17 this season and marked the team's 21st consecutive loss, a school record.
"This was probably the hardest loss because we were in the game," said Christine Rumfola, a senior guard who led Northridge with 19 points.
Because the Matadors downed the Lions, 69-57, last season, they thought their losing streak might be at an end.
"We expected this to be our first win," Rumfola said. "We've played some ranked teams--UCLA, USC, and Arizona State--and we're not compatible with them. But (Loyola Marymount) we are compatible with."
Rumfola said that all the adversity has left the players vulnerable to further setbacks.
"We feel if we take one more step we'll run into a brick wall," she said. "Since the Christmas break we've tried to tell ourselves, 'What's done is done.' We can't change it. We have to play with what we've got and depend on each other."
The Matadors will return to the court tonight at San Diego State. On Tuesday, they face Cal State Sacramento in a 4:45 p.m. game at Matador Gymnasium that precedes a men's game against Montana State.
OVER THE TOP
Jeff deLaveaga, a senior guard at Cal Lutheran, led NCAA Division III players in scoring as of Jan. 5, according to NCAA statistics released Friday.
DeLaveaga averaged 30.8 points a game to put him at the top of the list. He moved past John Daileanes of Colby (Maine), who is averaging 29.6 points.
Cal Lutheran (3-8) has since played Bethany Bible and UC San Diego and deLaveaga's scoring average has dropped and is now 30.3.
DeLaveaga, who has scored 333 points, has made 47% of his field-goal attempts (107 of 226), 41% of his three-point shots (47 of 114) and 69.9% of his free throws (72 of 103). His season high was a 47-point game against Azusa Pacific, which the Kingsmen lost, 103-108, in overtime.
Pepperdine right-hander Derek Wallace, a junior from Chatsworth High, was a preseason All-American selection by Baseball America magazine.
Wallace was 4-0 with two saves, a 2.58 earned-run average and 35 strikeouts in 38 1/3 innings for the Waves last season, despite missing three weeks of action in April because of a sore shoulder. He is projected as the ninth choice of next June's amateur baseball draft in the February issue of Baseball America, in part because of his impressive performance in the Cape Cod Summer League.
Pepperdine will open the season Jan. 28 at home against Westmont. The Waves are ranked No. 4 by Baseball America and No. 7 by Collegiate Baseball in preseason polls.
Pete Cassidy's long-standing subscription to Sports Illustrated was a casualty of budget tightening at Cal State Northridge. The school no longer is picking up the tab for the Matador basketball coach's reading material.
So two of his coaching colleagues are.
After learning of the matter, football Coach Bob Burt and baseball Coach Bill Kernen decided to share the expense of a subscription.
In a preseason poll of Western Intercollegiate Volleyball Assn. coaches, Northridge is picked to finish in a tie for third in the DeGroot Division.
UCLA, runner-up to Cal State Long Beach as national champion last season, was the unanimous choice of coaches in the DeGroot Division, garnering 12 first-place votes and 72 points. Pepperdine was second with 57, followed by Northridge and UC Santa Barbara with 41, Brigham Young with 27 and UC Irvine with 14.
Long Beach was the choice to win the Wilson Division with seven first-place votes and 67 points, followed by USC (four, 57), Stanford (one, 52), San Diego State (30), Hawaii (28) and Loyola Marymount (18).
Northridge finished last season 22-7 and ranked third in the nation.
PERRY TO REDSHIRT
Chris Perry, the 1990 NCAA Division II champion in the men's long jump for Cal State Northridge, will redshirt this season.
Perry set a school record of 25 feet 10 1/4 inches as a freshman in 1990 but injured his knee in an indoor meet last year and underwent arthroscopic surgery shortly thereafter.
He came back from the surgery to compete for the Matadors, but his season best of 24-7 1/4 was disappointing.
"We felt at the time that it was best for Chris to compete for the team last year," Northridge Coach Don Strametz said. "This year, we feel that it's best for him to concentrate on building his base back up."
Perry will compete unattached this season and will have two years of collegiate eligibility remaining.
NEW POST FOR HIEGERT
Bob Hiegert, Northridge's athletic director, was elected Friday to the three-person NCAA men's volleyball committee.
Hiegert's three-year term runs until Sept. 1, 1995. He replaces UC Irvine's Robert Newcomb, who was not eligible for reelection. Hiegert has been athletic director at Northridge since 1977.
Staff writers Mike Hiserman, Theresa Munoz and John Ortega contributed to this notebook.