Second Half Rally Lifts Titans Over Matadors

Feb. 2, 2008

Box Score

FULLERTON, CA - Cal State Fullerton freshman Ashley Richie scored a game-high 20 points and junior Daviyonne Weathersby tallied her first career double-double as the host Titans used a 13-0 run late in the second half to defeat Cal State Northridge, 59-55, in a Big West Conference women's basketball game on Saturday night at Titan Gym.

With the victory, Fullerton (7-13 overall, 5-3 in the Big West) extended its season-best winning streak to five games - the longest such streak since the Titans won eight in a row late in the 1990-91 season. The Matadors fell to 0-18 overall and 0-8 in league play with the loss.

After falling behind, 26-18, at the break, Fullerton trailed by as many as 10 points in the second half before chipping away at Northridge's advantage with just over six minutes to go. Back-to-back jumpers by Richie with six minutes remaining jumpstarted a 13-0 Titan run and a three-pointer by Lauren Chow with 5:22 left gave Fullerton its first lead at 48-47 since the four-minute mark of the first half.

Trailing by seven, the Matadors, who haven't won a game since March 1, 2007, didn't go away quietly, however, as a 6-2 spurt brought them back to within three points after Katie Holloway converted inside following a Fullerton turnover to make it 56-53 with :34 remaining.

Now in quick foul mode, Northridge sent Richie to the line for a one-and-one, and looked to capitalize when she missed the front-end, but junior Toni Thomas beat the Matadors' defense to the ball on the baseline for her 10th rebound of the game and drew a foul on the put-back attempt.

Thomas opened the door a bit when she hit only 1-of-2 from the line, but made up for it when she grabbed a loose ball on defense and hit Richie streaking back up the court for an uncontested lay-up and a six-point advantage with nine seconds remaining to ice the game.

The two teams played tight through the first 20 minutes, both struggling to find their shooting touch. Cal State Northridge hit on just 30 percent of its shots while Fullerton shot 23 percent from the field and turned the ball over 13 times.

Tied at 8-8 with 12:11 remaining, the Matadors used a 7-1 run to jump out to a 15-9 lead with 8:06 remaining. The Titans responded with an 8-0 run of their own to regain the lead at 18-15, but that would be the last time they would score as Cal State Northridge closed out the final four-plus minutes with an 11-0 run to cruise to the eight-point halftime advantage.

Weathersby had the most well-rounded line on the night for the Titans, scoring 10 points and grabbing a career-high 10 rebounds while tying a career-high with six assists and setting a new career-best with five steals in 34 minutes.

Richie hit on 8-of-18 from the field while grabbing five rebounds in 30 minutes and was joined in double figures by freshman Lyndsey Grove, who had 10 points off the bench in 11 minutes. Thomas, who had scored in double figures in eight straight, was held to just five points.

Holloway and Analee Viena-Lota each logged double-doubles for Cal State Northridge in the loss. Holloway finished with a team-high 18 points and 10 rebounds to go with three blocks while Viena-Lota added 10 points and 13 rebounds.

Fullerton outrebounded Northridge, 46-42, and shot 45 percent from the field during its second-half comeback while committing only two turnovers in the final 20 minutes.

The Titans close out their four-game homestand next week, hosting UC Santa Barbara on Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. and Cal Poly on Feb. 9 at 5 p.m. in Titan Gym.

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