Jan. 3, 2009
FULLERTON, CA - Toni Thomas and Lyndsey Grove scored a team-high 14 points while Ashley Richie added 10 points off the bench to help lift host Cal State Fullerton to a 76-49 victory over UC Irvine in the Big West Conference opener for both teams on Saturday evening at Titan Gym.
The victory snapped a three-game losing skid for the Titans as they improved to 4-7 overall and 1-0 in league play, posting its largest margin of victory in the all-time series with the Anteaters (3-11, 0-1).
Grove hit 5-of-6 from the floor and added six rebounds to go with three steals in 29 minutes while Thomas, playing in only her second game back from injury, had another efficient night, scoring 14 points and grabbing eight rebounds in 15 minutes off the bench.
Richie finished in double figures for the first time since scoring 13 points at UNLV on Nov. 29, 2008, and finished in double digits for the sixth time this season.
Rebecca Maessen scored a game-high 17 points on 5-of-11 shooting and grabbed five rebounds to finish as the only UCI player in double figures.
Fullerton won its conference opener for the third straight year, but fell behind early, trailing by three points on two separate occasions in the opening half. However, an 11-0 run over a four-minute span gave the Titans an eight-point advantage and they never looked back.
The lead would grow to as many as 17 points en route to a 39-23 halftime advantage as Fullerton shot a blistering 52 percent in the opening period. The Titans led by as many as 29 points in the game, holding UC Irvine to just 33 percent shooting - including a 28 percent clip in the second half.
Thomas' eight boards helped the home team to a 44-31 advantage in the glass - only the second time this season that Fullerton has outrebounded an opponent.
Cal State Fullerton returns to the court next week as the Titans play host to Cal Poly on Thursday (Jan. 8) at 7 p.m.