March 7, 2007
ANAHEIM, CA - Cal State Fullerton sophomore Toni Thomas and senior Charlee Underwood each scored in double figures to help lift the Titans to a 69-58 victory over Pacific in the first round of the Big West Conference Women's Basketball Tournament on Wednesday afternoon at the Anaheim Convention Center.
The win evens Fullerton's record at 15-15 overall this season - marking the most wins for a Titans squad since the 1990-91 team finished 25-8 overall en route to the NCAA Tournament.
Cal State Fullerton won a game in the Big West tournament for the first time since defeating UC Riverside 71-56 in 2004 and avenged a second-round loss to the Tigers from that same season.
Pacific ended its year 8-22 overall.
Thomas tallied her eighth double-double of the season with 20 points on 6-of-17 shooting while also grabbing 10 rebounds while blocking two shots. The performance extended her double-digit scoring streak to 19 consecutive games dating back to mid-December.
Underwood added 19 points on 6-of-10 from the field, including a pair of three-pointers, and 5-of-5 from the free throw line. She also grabbed seven rebounds and had three steals in only 27 minutes.
Fullerton, which led by as many as 10 points in the first half, carried a five-point, 38-33 lead into the lockerroom at the half after Pacific closed out the half by scoring 14 of the period's final 23 points.
The Tigers then closed to within two points on a three-pointer by Wyvonne Jones to start the second half before a 9-2 run by the Titans rebuild their advantage to 47-38 with 15:10 remaining.
Fullerton then went cold from the field, going without a field goal for the next five-plus minutes while Pacific outscored Fullerton, 8-1, in the stretch to close to within just two points at 48-46 with 9:55 to go.
A 7-0 burst by the Titans gave thema nine-point lead once again, but the Tigers continued to chip away, using a 6-0 spurt to close back to within three points with just over six minutes remaining in the half.
That would be as close as Pacific would get as Fullerton hit 11-of-12 from the free throw line in the final 5:44 while making just one field goal - a three-pointer by Thomas with 5:05 remaining - in that span en route to the win.
Pacific, in that same stretch, made just 1-of-5 from the field.
The Tigers, which shot 42 percent from the floor in the first half, shot just 27 in the second half, but still outshot the Titans for the game 36 percent to 35 percent for Fullerton.
Pacific also held a 44-34 advantage on the boards, but the Titans' defense forced the Tigers into 24 turnovers, leading to 25 points for Fullerton in the game. The Titans hit 82 percent from the free throw line for the game - the ninth time they have hit 80 percent or better from the stripe this season.
Cal State Fullerton now advances to the second round of the tournament where it will take on No. 4 Cal State Northridge on Thursday afternoon at approximately 2:30 p.m. at the Anaheim Convention Center.
The Titans swept the regular season series from the Matadors this season, downing Northridge at The Matadome, 78-73, on Jan. 4 and defeating the Matadors, 86-79, at Titan Gym on Feb. 10.