NORTHRIDGE, Calif.— Cal State Fullerton shot just 16-of-59 from the field and 9-of-20 from the free throw line, as Cal State Northridge cruised to 72-44 win over the Titans Thursday night at the Matadome.
For Fullerton (9-20, 5-12 Big West), the loss marks its second straight defeat after it won two straight. However UC Irvine (9-20, 5-12 Big West) lost to Cal Poly earlier in the day to keep the Titans and Anteaters tied for the eighth and final Big West Tournament spot with just one game to play.
Despite the loss tonight, due to tiebreaker rules, Fullerton can still clinch a spot in the Big West Tournament with either a win outright at Hawai'i or a UC Irvine loss at UC Santa Barbara on Saturday.
For Northridge (14-15, 8-9 Big West), the win snaps what was a three-game losing streak and marks just its second win in its last seven tries.
Janae Sharpe went 5-of-9 from the field for a game-high 16 points for the Matadors. Ashlee Guay also chipped in with 15 points, five assists, and four rebounds, while Randi Friess presented problems down low, finishing the game with 10 points and nine rebounds in the winning effort.
The Matadors jumped out to a 6-0 lead before the Titans could even blink and it only got worse from there, as Fullerton failed to find a rhythm offensively, connecting on just 8-of-18 first half field goal attempts, as well as missing all nine of its first half three-point attempts.
At one point the Matadors commanded a 26-12 lead with 1:52 left to play in the half after a Sharpe made free throw. However, Fullerton outscored Northridge 6-2 the rest of the way to make it a manageable 28-18 deficit at the half.
However, Fullerton was never able to get closer than 10 points, as Sharpe opened up the second half with a trey for Northridge, and the Matadors eventually built up their lead as high as 72-39 with 1:16 to play in the contest.
Tonight marked just the third time this season where Fullerton has failed to have a lead at any point in a game, as well as the team's second consecutive 25-plus point defeat.
Fullerton now heads to Honolulu where it'll take on Hawai'i in the team's regular season finale Saturday at 9:00 p.m. PT.