NEW YORK CITY, NY - Cal State Fullerton came out with a 61-58 victory after trailing by as many as 11 early on to move to 5-4 on the year. The victory extends their win streak to three straight games.
"Really proud of how we responded after a slow start," said coach Harada. "It would have been easy to make excuses and blame the long travel, time difference, and early tip time, but we didn't let any of those things hinder our performance today. I know the players also really wanted to win for Jade so that made it extra special."
Bronx native and hometown hero Jade Vega played her first Fullerton game back in New York and put up a game-high 19 points to go along with four rebounds and four assists. Hannah Thompson finished with 17 points and was 4-7 from beyond the arc including a pair of huge three's in the final quarter. Raina Perez came up clutch down the stretch collecting six of her 10 points in the final minute. She also had four rebounds, and a game-high five assists.
The Titans struggled in the first quarter shooting a very poor 20% from the field and falling down early on by as many as 11 points in the second. Meanwhile, the Lions had it going in front of their 2,000-plus home crowd as they led for the entire first half while shooting just shy of 40%.
Fullerton came out of the break a different team though hitting four of their first five shots and totaled 45% in the second half. In a tight game, it all came down to the fourth quarter.
Trailing by one with just under two minutes left to play, Vega made an open lane for herself and finished with the left to give Fullerton the lead. The teams battled back-and-forth as time wound down until the 30 second mark.
With 23 seconds left and holding on to a two-point lead, Perez came up to the wing and drained a three to put the lead at five.
Columbia did not throw in the towel though as they came up with an offensive board and a short-range jumper before sending Fullerton to the free throw line. With six seconds on the clock, Perez missed her second free throw and it gave the Lions a chance to tie it at the buzzer. The shot would come up short though and the Titans would hang on for a huge road win extending their win streak to three straight.
"Big plays in big moments of the game by so many players and we needed every one of them. It's a great start to this trip, so we'll have some fun and celebrate tonight then turn our focus to St. Peter's," Harada finished.
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