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VALLEY/VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Matadors Hope to Grow Up Quickly

Big Sky: Northridge women, with four freshman starters, play Weber State in tournament opener.

March 05, 1998|STEVE HENSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The young and restless Cal State Northridge women's basketball team will try to knock off Weber State for the third time this season tonight in a first-round Big Sky Conference tournament game at Montana.

Four Northridge starters are freshmen, including the Big Sky freshman of the year, point guard Edniesha Curry, and the fourth-seeded Matadors are making their first appearance in the tournament.

But don't expect them to be intimidated, not after already having beaten the fifth-seeded Wildcats at Northridge, 54-43, and at Weber State, 62-60.

"We are confident and, although we ended the regular season on a down note, we feel we are ready to play well," Coach Michael Abraham said.

Northridge (13-13, 9-7 in conference play) lost to Northern Arizona and Idaho State last week but still finished with its best regular-season record since joining Division I in 1990.

Curry, the Big Sky's leading scorer with a 17.1 average, is the undisputed leader of the Matadors, but the supporting cast is improving rapidly.

Senior guard Tammie Mills, an honorable mention All-Big Sky choice, complements Curry well, averaging 8.1 points and playing strong defense. Freshmen post players Viveca Lof and Neda Milic are strong rebounders who don't shoot often, but make a high percentage from inside 10 feet.

Guard LaShaunda Fowler is making only her eighth start, but she has scored in double figures in three of the past four games.

The Matadors and Weber State (7-19, 7-9) play approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of a game between third-seeded Idaho State (15-11, 9-7) and sixth-seeded Montana State (11-15, 6-10).

Montana (22-5, 15-1) and Northern Arizona (21-5, 15-1) have first-round byes and are the tournament favorites, having lost only to one another in conference play.

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