California State University, Northridge women’s basketball guard Serafina Maulupe has been on a scoring spree during the month of January, putting up 53 combined points in the past two games alone. After putting up 25 points against Cal Poly on Jan. 21 and a career-high 28 points in a win against UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 25, the senior was named the Big West Player of the Week.
Maulupe — averaging 13.1 points per game and leading the team with 50 three-pointers as of Jan. 25 — and Channon Fluker, last season’s Big West Conference Freshman of the Year, have provided the Matadors with an explosive one-two punch this season, combining for more than 40 percent of the team’s scoring output.
“Serafina is one of the best shooters in the conference and provides balance to Channon being on the inside,” said Jason Flowers, head coach for the Matadors. “With [Serafina] on the perimeter, we are really able to stretch the defense.”
Maulupe, who transferred to CSUN after spending one season at Virginia Tech, sat out the Matadors’ most recent Big West championship in 2014-15 because of NCAA transfer rules, which states that transfer students must sit out one full season.
“It’s one thing to sit back and watch that group win the Big West championship and do what they did, but it’s a completely different deal when some of those responsibilities fall on your shoulders,” Flowers said. “Now she’s in a position where she has a voice on the team and can help younger players as they grow and develop as well.”
Now playing a vital role, Maulupe’s goal is to help capture another Big West championship — and to win at least one game in the NCAA “March Madness” tournament.
Just like her goals on the court, Maulupe also has big plans off the hardwood.
Maulupe, who expects to complete her bachelor’s degree in journalism in May, said she plans to pursue a master’s in humanities at CSUN and then begin a career in sports broadcasting.
“I love playing basketball because of the competition and the fact that so much is happening on the court at one time, but I know basketball won’t last forever,” Maulupe said. “My body can’t handle playing forever, so I decided it’s important to prepare for my future.”
Maulupe, who is of Samoan and Filipino heritage, credited her parents and coaches for motivating her throughout her academic journey.
“My father did not [get a] college degree, so growing up, he wanted me to be better than he was — and my mom put it in my head, [I’m] a minority woman and that I’d have to work harder,” Maulupe said. “I’ve grown so much since I’ve been here. Coach [Flowers] doesn’t just coach us on the basketball court, he tells us he wants to prepare us for life after college.”
On Dec. 17, 2016, Maulupe got her first taste of life as a sports broadcaster when she was given the opportunity to go to the Fox Sports studio and “shadow” many of the show’s staff, including former UCLA men’s basketball coach Steve Lavin.
Lavin, who coached Flowers as a player in 2000-01, is now a studio analyst and broadcaster for Fox Sports and the Pac-12 Network.
“[Lavin] told me that to be a sports broadcaster, you have to know your stuff and be confident,” Maulupe said. “When I was at the studio, I was able to make a lot of connections and also got to meet [former NBA player] Jimmy Jackson.”
Playing overseas, especially in Europe or Australia, is something Maulupe hasn’t ruled out, but the 21-year-old said she wants to keep her options open.
“The sky’s the limit for Serafina,” Flowers said. “She’s a bright young woman who’s a person of character and works hard. Any time you have those characteristics, you have the potential to be successful in anything you do. Serafina fits right into that mold.”