RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The Titans started the game with the hot hand, but too many turnovers led to a 63-50 loss. For the game, Fullerton turned the ball over 22 times matching the most in a game this season and resulted in 27 points just off turnovers for the Highlanders.
"We just got outplayed today, plain and simple," said head coach Jeff Harada. "I think we were excited for this game and I expected us to have the focus and desire necessary to win a conference game on the road, but our effort was way too inconsistent."
Harada continued, "I know their size and length bothered us, but we were within five points late and if we make our layups it's probably a different game. Unfortunately, our missed assignments defensively combined with their 27 points off our turnovers were tough to overcome. We have to have more pride in those areas and hopefully we learned that today."
Junior Hannah Thompson led the Fullerton offense putting up 17 points on 5-10 shooting (4-6 from beyond the arc). Junior Jade Vega put up eight points in the fourth quarter and finished with 13 for the night. The 13-point effort for Vega gives her 700 for her career. Carolyn Gill pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds, marking her third double-digit rebounding game of the season.
The Highlanders were led by Lauren Holt, who put up 22 points as she never came off the floor playing all 40 minutes. The only other double-figure scorer for UCR was Marina Ewodo who finished with 10 points.
The Titans took control straight out of the gate and had a hot hand early on. As a team, they shot 53.3% from the field and 57.1% from beyond the arc. Led by H. Thompson's nine first quarter points, Fullerton had a seven-point lead going into the second quarter.
The second quarter was not so good for the Titans. Defensively, they allowed UCR to put up 19 points on 8-18 from the field as the Highlanders took control of the game. Offensively, Fullerton shot just 1-9 (11.1%) from the field and only scored five points. They also turned the ball over eight times and Riverside capitalized on it with 16 points off turnovers. CSF went into the break trailing it 32-25.
Fullerton got off to a quick start in the third with five unanswered points in the first minute and a half. However, that would end as UCR responded with a 10-0 run and put their lead into double-digits. For the quarter, the Titans shot just 3-15 from the field and turned the ball over six more times.
A couple of three's from Vega led the Fullerton offense as they started to bring the game back. However, it wouldn't last as five more turnovers in the fourth allowed the Highlanders to extend their lead to as many as 15 points at one point. For the Titans, the 50-point mark is the fewest they have scored in a game since the loss against Oral Roberts back on Dec. 2nd.
"Carolyn really stepped up on the boards and Hannah and Jade hit some shots to keep us close, but we need others to step up, especially those we are counting on to be factors. I'm confident we will learn from this game and be ready for the new challenges that await us next week."
The Titans will play their second of three straight road games next week as they travel to CSUN for a game against the Matadors on Thursday, Jan. 18 at 7:00 p.m.
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