March 13, 2008
ANAHEIM, CA - Third-seeded UC Riverside used a 12-5 run at start the second half to break open a close game and the Highlanders held off a late run by No. 6 Cal State Fullerton as they defeated the Titans, 59-47, in a quarterfinal match-up at the 2008 Big West Conference Women's Basketball Tournament on Thursday afternoon at the Anaheim Convention Center.
Fullerton ended its season with an 11-19 overall record and finished tied for fifth in the Big West Conference with an 8-8 mark. UC Riverside improved to 14-15 overall and will meet second-seeded UC Davis on Friday at 2:30 p.m. in the tournament's second semifinal.
Freshman Lauren Chow led the Titans with 14 points on the day, standing as the lone Fullerton player in double figures. Junior Daviyonne Weathersby added nine points while junior Toni Thomas, who has battled the flu all week in Anaheim, and sophomore Jasmine Scott finished with eight points apiece.
UCR's Roney Friend tallied a double-double to pace the Highlanders, scoring a game-high 17 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Brittany Waddell also finished in double figures with 16 points to go with nine boards.
Trailing by five points at the break, the Titans closed the gap to just two points as Thomas hit a three-pointer just over a minute in to the second period to make it 22-20, but the Highlanders' offense responded.
Tainoisouti Lott's basket jumpstarted a 12-2 spurt as Fullerton went cold from the floor, going without a point for the next five minutes until a basket by Chow made it 34-24 with 12:54 remaining.
UC Riverside's lead would grow to as many as 15 points before the Titans began to claw their way back. A three-pointer by Chow started a 12-3 run by Fullerton to bring the Titans to within six points at 46-40, but the Highlanders, who made only one field goal attempt in the final 5:33, took advantage from the free throw line, hitting 10 of their final 12 attempts to close out the game.
Fullerton jumped out quickly thanks to three-pointers on back-to-back possessions by Chow and the Titans led by as many as six points on three occasions in the first eight minutes.
The Highlanders then clamped down on defense, holding Cal State Fullerton scoreless for the next five-plus minutes meanwhile exploding for an 11-0 run of their own to go up by five points at 17-12 with just under eight minutes to play.
A basket by Brittany Wadell built UCR's lead to as many as eight late in the period before Chow's third trey of the half with 13 seconds to go cut the deficit to 22-17 at the break.
Fullerton, which shot 47 percent from the field in its win over Long Beach State on Wednesday, was held to just 27 percent from the floor against the Highlanders. Riverside hit on 35 percent from the field and outrebounded Fullerton, 43-39.