Jan. 4, 2008
IRVINE, CA - Sophomore Jasmine Scott's three pointer snapped a 58-58 tie to give Cal State Fullerton the lead for good and the visiting Titans held tough down the stretch, snapping its nine-game losing streak with a thrilling 69-66 victory over host UC Irvine in the Big West Conference women's basketball opener for both teams on Friday night at the Bren Events Center in Irvine, Calif.
With the victory, Fullerton won for the first time since Nov. 17 in improving to 2-10 overall and 1-0 in league play while claiming its first victory away from home this season in eight tries. UCI lost its sixth straight in falling to 4-10 overall, 0-1 in Big West play.
Three Titans finished with a game-high 16 points on the night as junior Toni Thomas and freshmen Lauren Chow and Ashley Richie all accomplished the feat. Senior Allison Bennett led the team with eight rebounds on the night to go with six points.
Stephanie Duda (10 points and 10 rebounds) and Kelly Cochran (14 points and 13 rebounds) each finished with double-doubles for UCI, which had two other players in double figures in Miranda Forry and Annie Mai, who finished with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Rebecca Maessen's game-tying three-point attempt from the left elbow drew back iron as time expired after the Anteaters gained the ball on an alternating possession following a jump ball with 17 seconds remaining - UCI's only shot on the final possession of the game.
Scott's three-pointer with 9:47 remaining came with Thomas on the bench with four fouls after the Anteaters used an 8-2 run capped by a three-point play by Duda to battle back from a six point deficit with just over 10 minutes remaining in the game.
The Titans then clamped down on both ends of the court, answering each Irvine bucket and never letting the Anteaters to get any closer than a single point.
Richie's jumper with 4:24 to go gave the Titans a 67-64 lead and Bennett added her third basket of the contest to put Fullerton up by five at 69-64 with 2:07 left in the game.
Duda responded with a bucket inside to pull her team to within three points, but that would be as close as UCI would come.
Fullerton shot 41 percent in the second half and finished shooting just under 46 percent from the field for the game.
Both teams traded baskets to open the game, but a brief 5-0 spurt by the Anteaters, including the go-ahead three-point play by Mary Has, gave UCI the 13-12 lead. A basket by Haley Tull gave the Anteaters a three-point lead, but Fullerton clawed its way back, exploding for an 8-0 run over the next three minutes to take a 20-15 lead with just over 10 minutes to go.
Early foul trouble hampered the Titans, who were whistled for 12 infractions in the first half, and the Anteaters took advantage, using a 9-0 run over the next four minutes to regain the lead at 25-22 with just over five minutes remaining.
Fullerton, which shot 50 percent from the floor in the period, would answer with a 13-4 run of its own to build its largest lead of the period at 35-29 to set up a frantic final minute that saw the two teams combine for 12 points in the final 45 seconds.
Five straight points by Annie Mai brought the Anteaters to within a single point during that flurry, but Daviyonne Weathersby capped the first half with a bang, sinking a three-pointer from the left elbow as time expired to give the Titans a 40-36 lead heading into the locker room.
UC Irvine held a 41-34 advantage on the boards, but hit just 3-of-13 from three-point range and 11-of-19 (.579) from the free throw line.
Cal State Fullerton closes out its longest road trip of the season next weekend with a pair of league games at Cal Poly on Thursday (Jan. 10) at 7 p.m. and UC Santa Barbara on Saturday (Jan. 12) at 2 p.m.