Sports

Cal State Northridge women inspired by Mercer men's upset of Duke

Cal State Northridge's women's basketball team is focused on Sunday's NCAA tournament game against South Carolina. But when the Matadors arrived in Seattle on Friday, one of their topics of discussion was 14th-seeded Mercer's upset of perennial power Duke in the NCAA men's tournament.

"It lets you know that anything can happen on any given day," Northridge guard Ashlee Guay said during a phone interview. "It's motivational."

Northridge (18-14), the No. 16-seeded team, will try to knock off top-seeded South Carolina (27-4) in a first-round game of the Stanford Regional at Alaska Airlines Arena.

Guay, a junior from San Diego, is averaging a team-best 16.3 points a game for the Matadors, who won the Big West Conference tournament to earn their second NCAA tournament berth.

A 65 -64 victory over USC on Dec. 10 was a turning point for the Matadors, Guay said. Northridge had been 0-8 against the Trojans since moving to Division I.

Now the Matadors face a top-seeded opponent that won the Southeastern Conference regular-season title.

"It doesn't really matter to us what seed we are or who we're playing," Guay said. "We're just so happy to have this opportunity."

gary.klein@latimes.com

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