Nov. 23, 2007
EL PASO, TEXAS - Cal State Fullerton junior forward Toni Thomas became the 17th Titan to reach 1,000 career points on Friday night, scoring a career-high 32 points in Fullerton's 78-71 loss to host UTEP in the second game of the Miners' Thanksgiving Classic at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas.
The loss drops the Titans to 1-3 overall while UTEP improved to 2-1 overall.
Thomas, who needed just 23 points to break the 1,000-point barrier, hit on 11-of-17 from the floor and 10-of-17 from the free throw line to go with eight rebounds in 35 minutes of play.
She becomes only the ninth player in school history to reach the scoring milestone in her first three seasons, accomplishing the feat in only 64 games - just three shy of Claudette Jackson (1990-92), who needed only 61 games to reach the milestone.
It was Thomas' 25th consecutive double-digit scoring performance and her first career 30-point game.
She was joined in double figures by freshman Lauren Chow, who scored 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including six three-pointers. She has scored 20 points or more in each of her last three games. She added four assists and four steals in 30 minutes of play.
Freshman Ashley Richie was also in double figures, contributing 10 points off the bench, hitting on 5-of-9 from the field.
Trailing by six points late in the first half, UTEP used a 25-7 run over a seven-minute span to build a lead it would never relinquish.
Fullerton would battle back to tie the game at 26-26 with just under eight minutes to go, but a 16-4 run gave the Miners' a 12-point lead with just over two minutes remaining.
The Titans would remain close with Chow nailing a three-pointer just before time expired in the half cutting the deficit to 46-39 at the break.
A pair of baskets sandwiched around a UTEP free throw would shrink the gap to just four points, but that would be as close as the Titans would get.
A three-pointer by Natasha Lacy sparked a 9-0 run for the Miners, who led by 13 points at 56-43 with 14:33 remaining.
Fullerton's patient offense whittled the lead down to five points on three occassions in the ensuing minutes, but the Titans would come no closer than four points on a lay-up by Thomas with just 28 seconds remaining in the game.
Lacy, who finished with a team-high 19 points, would hit 3-of-4 from the line in that span to account for the final margin of victory.
Lacy was joined in double figures by teammates Izabela Piekarska, who finished with 17 points, and Kasia Krezel and Tasha Marisett, who each finished with 13 points.
UTEP finished shooting just under 48 percent from the field for the game, including a 63 percent clip in the first half, but was able to hit on only 31 percent after the break as the Titans made their comeback.
Fullerton shot a consistent 45 percent from the floor, 48 percent in the second half.
The Titans will now meet Stephen F. Austin in the consolation game of the tournament on Saturday afternoon (Nov. 24) at 3:30 p.m. PST. The Ladyjacks lost to Nevada in the tournament's first game, 64-55, on Friday evening.