It’s for real now. For the first time since falling a bucket short of a national title, Arizona women’s basketball will face an opponent in a game that ends in an actual win or loss. The Wildcats’ opponent—the Cal State Northridge Matadors—will be back after an even longer absence from the court.
What to expect
The 2020-21 season was tumultuous for everyone, but few teams had a season as disruptive as CSUN in 2020-21. Their longtime head coach Jason Flowers resigned in April 2020 after just the third losing season in his 10-year tenure at the helm. He was not permanently replaced. Instead, interim head coach Lindsey Foster took over.
It turned out that Foster didn’t coach the Matadors in any games. CSUN canceled its season after six players opted out, leaving them with only six available players. The players voted not to play the season with the support of their medical staff.
Nearly 18 months later, the Matadors still don’t have a permanent head coach. They come to Tucson led by interim head coach Carlene Mitchell who took over in late July after Foster “stepped away.”
Despite the turmoil of multiple coaching changes, Mitchell might have been the best possible option, especially for a Big West team. She was a finalist for the WBCA’s Spaulding Maggie Dixon Rookie Coach of the Year Award back in 2011, the first of four years when she led UC Santa Barbara. She also led the Gauchos to the NCAA Tournament that season as her sixth-seeded team won the Big West conference tournament. That was undoubtedly under better circumstances, though.
One of the better circumstances was that she wasn’t facing Arizona, a team that’s ranked either No. 15 or No. 22 based on whether you believe the WBCA or the AP. The Wildcats have run two teams out of the building in exhibition play. Those teams were an NAIA team and a Division II team, admittedly, but Arizona left no doubt that its lineup was light years better even when its upperclassmen were on the bench.
Now it’s on to the next step.
When and where is the game?
The game tips off at 5 p.m. MST on Friday, Nov. 9. It will be played in McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz.
The Arizona men’s basketball team will play NAU in the second half of the doubleheader just after this game.
What did each team do the last time they played?
Cal State Northridge: The Matadors did not play last season, but they went 12-19 overall and 7-9 in the Big West in 2019-20.
Arizona: The Wildcats went 21-6 last season. The advanced to the first Final Four in program history, losing to Stanford by the score of 54-53 in the national title game.
How can you watch?
The game will not be televised, but it is available via Arizona Live Stream.
How can you listen on the radio?
The game is available on the radio at 1400 AM (KTUC). Brody Dryden is on the call.
How can you find stats?
Stats are available at Arizona Live Stats.