March 3, 2012
NORTHRIDGE, CA - Janae Sharpe scored a game-high 19 points while teammate Jasmine Erving added 12 points and nine rebounds on Saturday night leading Cal State Northridge to a 60-51 victory over Cal State Fullerton to close out the regular season for both teams at The Matadome.
The Titans (11-18 overall, 4-12 in the Big West Conference) will be the No. 8 seed and travel north to San Luis Obispo to take on top-seeded Cal Poly on Tuesday (March 6) at 7 p.m. It will be the second consecutive year that the two programs will meet in the first round after the Mustangs posted a 73-70 win at Mott Gym to end Fullerton's season last year.
Cal Poly swept the regular season series from Fullerton in 2011-12, winning 76-69 in Fullerton on Jan. 5 and 66-48 on Feb. 11 in San Luis Obispo. The Mustangs have won the last five consecutive meetings overall with the Titans.
The Matadors improved to 17-12 overall and 11-5 in conference play and will be the tournament's No. 2 seed, hosting No. 7 Long Beach State on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Senior Megan Richardson finished with 15 points while Mya Olivier added 11 points and seven boards for the Titans, who shot just under 32 percent from the floor for the game and were held to just 24 percent shooting in a sluggish second half for both teams.
Fullerton rallied from a three-point halftime deficit to take a one-point lead, 40-39, with five minutes gone in a tight second half, but a 10-1 run by the Matadors rebuilt their lead to eight points at 49-41 and they never looked back. Northridge's lead grew to as many as 14 points with two minutes to play as a pair of three-pointers from Tailer Butler and Chante Miles and a free throw by Alex Thomas cut the deficit to single digits at the final horn.
The Titans held the early advantage and led by as many as four points at the first media timeout. The two teams remained within three points of one another before six straight points by Sharpe put Northridge back in front, 16-15, with 10:12 left in the first.
Four straight free throws by Richardson, who hit 6-of-9 from the line on the night, and a lay-up by Olivier gave Fullerton a three-point advantage two minutes later, but a 13-2 run put the Matadors up eight with a minute to play in the period. Richardson then scored inside and finished the half in style with a three-pointer off a turnover at the buzzer to draw the Titans within three points, 31-28, at the break.
Northridge outrebounded Fullerton, 47-35, and shot just under 54 percent in the first half en route to the win.
Other Big West Tournament match-ups include No. 5 Pacific at No. 4 UC Davis and No. 6 UC Santa Barbara at No. 3 UC Irvine. The semifinals will be held on Friday (March 9) at the Honda Center in Anaheim with the championship game to be held on Saturday (March 10) at 2 p.m. on Fox Sports Prime Ticket.