March 8, 2007
ANAHEIM, CA - Cal State Fullerton senior India McDaniel scored a game-high 19 points off the bench and led three teammates in double figures as the Titans advanced to the semifinal round of the Big West Conference Women's Basketball Tournament with a 75-65 win over Cal State Northridge on Thursday afternoon.
The win improves Fullerton's record to 16-15 overall and moves the Titans into the semifinal round for the first time since the 1994-95 season. The victory was also the third over the Matadors this season for Cal State Fullerton and avenged a quarterfinal loss to the Matadors in last season's conference tournament.
The Titans advance to meet No. 2-seeded UC Santa Barbara in Friday's second semifinal game at approximately 2:30 p.m. Fullerton has not defeated the Gauchos since the 1994-95 season, losing the last 27 consecutive meetings - including both regular season meetings this season (73-71 at Titan Gym and 70-64 at Santa Barbara).
Cal State Northridge ends its regular season 13-16 overall.
McDaniel hit 5-of-11 from the floor, including a pair of three-pointers in the final three minutes that helped the Titans close out the game on a 15-8 run. She also grabbed seven rebounds and dished out three assists in 32 minutes.
For Thomas, it was the 20th consecutive double-digit scoring performance this season dating back to mid-December as she hit on 6-of-8 from the field and 5-of-5 from the line.
Leading by 13 points at the break, the Titans came out of the lockerroom cold from the field as Fullerton missed its first six shots while Northridge went on an 8-0 run to close to within five points at 43-38 with 16:40 to go.
The Titans went scoreless for the first 5:54 in the period until Thomas hit a pair from the free throw line and Fullerton went without a field goal until the 13:39 mark on a jumper by Frias for a seven-point Titans advantage.
Fullerton's lead eventually grew to 10 points, but the Matadors continued to pressure offensively, going on a 7-0 run over a two and a half minute span to close to within three points at 51-48 with 7:56 remaining.
A jumper by Underwood and a three-pointer by Jasmine Scott put Fullerton back up by eight points a minute later, but Cal State Northridge cut the deficit back to three on a basket by Ofa Tulikihihifo and a three by Jamie McCaa with just over six minutes to go.
Northridge would cut the deficit to three points with just under four minutes to go and would trail by four points with 2:25 remaining, but McDaniel's fourth three-pointer of the game gave the Titans a seven-point lead at 68-61 they would not relinquish.
Fullerton would hit five of its last six free throws in the final 30 seconds of the game to ice the win - including 3-of-4 from McDaniel.
Tulikihihifo (16 points, 12 rebounds) and LaJoyce King (12 points and 16 rebounds) each notched double-doubles for the Matadors, who also got 12 points from McCaa.
Both teams shot just over 39 percent from the field with the Titans hitting on 40 percent of their three-pointers - including 7-of-16 (.438) in the first half. Fullerton's defense forced 21 turnovers, converting them into 19 points while Northridge outrebounded the Titans, 49-35, for the game.