Strong Second Half Propels Mustangs Past Titans on Senior Day
FULLERTON, Calif.—Cal State Fullerton trailed just 33-32 at halftime, but the Titans connected on just 5-of-23 field goals in the second half, as Cal Poly eventually cruised to a 72-47 victory Saturday afternoon at Titan Gym.
For Fullerton (9-19, 5-11 Big West), the loss snapped what was a two-game win streak. However the Titans didn't lose any ground in the conference standings, as UC Irvine, UC Riverside, and UC Davis all lost earlier in the day. Fullerton and UCI are currently tied for the eighth spot in the conference, while UCD leads both teams by 1.5 games for the seventh seed and UCR sits in the conference cellar, as it trails both the Titans and Anteaters by one game for the eighth seed.
The win for Cal Poly (18-9, 12-4 Big West) marks its fifth straight win, as it stays just a half-game behind Pacific for the conference lead.
Chante Miles poured in a team-high 14 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the field. Alex Thomas was the only other Titan to score in double-figures, as she put up 10 points on 2-of-5 shooting from three-point land in the loss.
Molly Schlemer scored a game-high 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds. Ariana Elegado also chipped in with 11 points and six assists for Cal Poly in the win.
The first half was closely contested throughout, as the half featured eight lead changes and five ties with no team owning more than a four-point lead until two Thomas free throws capped-off an 8-2 Titans scoring run to give Fullerton a 29-23 advantage with 2:58 left in the first half.
However, Cal Poly closed out the half on a 10-3 scoring run, including an Jonae Ervin steal and score at the buzzer, to give the Mustangs a slim 33-32 lead at intermission.
The Titans shot just 10-of-28 from the field for 35.7 percent in the half, but knocked down 9-of-11 first half free throws to keep Fullerton in the game up to that point.
The Titans came out ready to compete in the second half, as Kathleen Iwuoha immediately converted a three-point play to vault Fullerton back in front at 35-33 with just under a minute gone by in the period.
But the offense suddenly went ice cold for the Titans, while the Mustangs conversely shot 5-of-8 from three-point land and 14-of-30 overall in the second half to eventually take control of the game.
Cal Poly owned a lead as large as 28 points with 1:07 left to play in the game after Ale Kristen knocked down two free throws.
Even with the loss, Cal State Fullerton controls its own destiny as far as playoff aspirations are concerned. The Titans will close out the 2013 regular season with games Thursday at Cal State Northridge at 5 p.m. and Saturday at Hawai'i at 9 p.m.
Game Notes: With two made free throws tonight, Chante Miles extended her free throw conversion streak to 17 straight free throws…She's scored in double-figures in three straight games…Lauren Bushong blocked two shots in her final home game to bring her career block total to 71.