March 11, 2010
Box Score | Photo Gallery
ANAHEIM, CA - UC Riverside's Alyssa Morris scored a game-high 16 points to lead a balanced Highlander attack and help lift them to a 73-54 victory over Cal State Fullerton in the quarterfinals of the Big West Conference Tournament on Thursday afternoon at the Anaheim Convention Center.
The loss ends the Titans' season at 15-17 overall while UCR improved to 15-15 overall and advanced to the tournament semifinals against either top-seeded UC Davis or second-seeded Cal Poly on Friday afternoon.
It is the third time that Riverside has ended Fullerton's season at the Big West Tournament following wins in 2005 and 2008, improving the Highlanders to 3-1 against the Titans in conference tournament play.
Freshman Mya Olivier led Fullerton with 11 points on the afternoon as the Titans were held to just 33 percent shooting on the afternoon. Sophomore Megan Richardson finished with 10 points while junior Britt Peters came off the bench to add 10 more for Fullerton, which won the battle on the boards, 38-34, including a 16-5 advantage on the offensive end.
Brittany Waddell and Rheya Neabors finished with 14 and 10 points, respectively, for the Highlanders, who shot 49 percent from the floor, including a 54.5 percent clip in the second half to pull away.
The two teams traded baskets to open the first half, but an 11-4 run by UC Riverside broke open a four-point game, giving the Highlanders an 11-point advantage at 27-16 with just over five minutes to play in the opening period. Four quick points by Richardson and Lyndsey Grove would cut the advantage to seven points but the Titans would get no closer as UCR took a 32-24 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Highlanders continued to pour it on in the second half, using a 13-4 run to break the game wide open, building a 17-point lead they would never relinquish. Riverside's lead would grow to as many as 23 points with just over six minutes to play as Fullerton never got closer than 17 points the rest of the way.
Head Coach Marcia Foster
"Well, it seemed like one of those games. Kind of how our season has been. Yesterday we were sharp, focused and today it wasn't the same. When you play a team like Riverside, a very talented team, a very long, athletic team, you need to be sharp from the beginning. It's not that our players didn't want to win, of course they did, I think Riverside was sharp and we weren't from the start. We could never get on track."
On UC Riverside "I thought Coach Margaritis had his team well-prepared and they were aggressive from the beginning of the game. My hats off to him. I thought he did a great job today and I think my kids played hard and represented what this program is all about."
On foul trouble of Jasmine Scott "Well anytime one of your starters gets in foul trouble early on it changes the game plan. They were very, very aggressive. Losing Jasmine definitely changed the momentum."
Sophomore Megan Richardson
On the difference between this game and the previous two vs. UCR
"I don't think it was as much as they did anything differently. As coach said, they were just sharp and we came out kind a little flat. That is what hurt us. We weren't knocking shots down and they got a lot of points in the paint. We didn't execute as well as we should have."