Northridge, Calif. - Ta' Rea Cunnigan had a career-high 16 points and Brittany Johnson extended her double-digit scoring streak to 10 games, but the San Jose State Spartans lost 85-55 to the Cal State Matadors (5-4) on Wednesday night.
"I have been working on my shooting with (assistant coach Brannon Hays) and it's paying off," Cunnigan said. "Every day I'm getting better. I'm trying to find my place on this team and at this level. I have been playing with more confidence in the last couple of games."
That confidence showed in the second half when she scored 11 of her game-high 16 points. Cunnigan shot 3-of-6 from the floor and hit 5-of-6 from the free throw line.
"Ta' Rea really played well tonight," head coach Tim La Kose said, "but, I also have to point out the outstanding first half that Rachel (Finnegan) had for us."
Finnegan was a perfect 4-for-4 from the field, including a 3-pointer, and made two of her three attempts from the free throw line as she led all scorers in the first 20 minutes with 11 points.
Finnegan gave the Spartans their only lead of the night when she hit a 3-pointer one minute and 30 seconds into the game. Cal State Northridge (CSUN) center Jasmine Erving, who was one of three Matadors to score 14 points on the night, picked up six points in a 10-0 run over the next three and a half minutes to give the Matadors a 10-3 lead.
San Jose State (1-8) battled back and after a Brittany Johnson layup with 10:09 to play in the half, the score was 14-12 for CSUN. The Matadors pushed their lead back to nine, but by the 5:22 mark the Spartans had again closed the gap to two points, 24-22. CSUN closed the half on a 16-to-7 run and took a 40-29 lead in to the locker rooms.
The Matadors opened the second half on an 18-to-6 six run to push their lead to 23 points, 58-35 with just over 14 minutes to play. A pair of Cunnigan free throws and a layup got the deficit to 19, but the Spartans would get no closer and Northridge cruised to an 85-55 win.
Johnson finished the night with 12 points and nine rebounds. She has scored in double digits in each of the team's nine games this season, as well as in the last game of last season.
San Jose State was outrebounded 34-to-16 in the first half and 60-to-35 for the game.
"They were big across the front line and off the bench and we just didn't have an answer for their size," La Kose said.
The Matadors starting front line was Erving (6' 2"), Camille Mahlknecht (6' 2") and Jessica Duarte (5' 11'). Those three along with Violet Alama (6' 2") combined to score 46 of CSUN's 85 points and grab 35 of the team's 60 boards.
The Spartans look to get back in the win column in their next game, Saturday, December 17, when they travel to Bay Area rival Santa Clara for a 5:00 p.m. tipoff in the Leavey Center.