Titans Finally Home to Host UC Irvine, UC Riverside

Jan. 4, 2011

FULLERTON, CA -

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THIS WEEK...
UC Irvine at Cal State Fullerton
Jan. 5, 2011
7 p.m.
Titan Gym (4,000) | Fullerton, CA
Gametracker | Live Audio | Big West TV

UC Riverside at Cal State Fullerton
Jan. 8, 2011
3 p.m.
Titan Gym (4,000) | Fullerton, CA
Gametracker | Live Audio | Big West TV

WHERE EVERYBODY KNOWS YOUR NAME: Time to give the luggage a break. After competing 11 of its first 14 contests on the road to start the season, the Cal State Fullerton women's basketball team (5-9 overall, 1-1 in the Big West Conference) will play more home games in the next two weeks as it has all season, finally returning to Orange County for its longest homestand of the season. The Titans tip-off four-straight games at Titan Gym on Wednesday night (Jan. 5) at 7 p.m. against UC Irvine before closing out the week on Saturday afternoon (Jan. 8) at 3 p.m. as they host UC Riverside in league play.

BE A FOLLOWER: Fans can keep up with the latest in Titans athletics by following us on Facebook (CSUF Athletics), Twitter (@CSUFAthletics) and Vimeo.com (vimeo.com/fullertontitans). In addition, the women's basketball team has established its own official Facebook fan page (search for Cal State Fullerton Women's Basketball).

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? GOOD!: Thanks to a partnership with Arizona-based Stretch Internet, select Cal State Fullerton women's basketball contests will be broadcast live over the Internet at FullertonTitans.com. To access the links, click on the headphones icon in the upper right-hand corner of FullertonTitans.com. Patrick Alog will have the call live from Titan Gym for both games this week.

I SEE YOU: For the fifth consecutive season, live streaming video for all of Cal State Fullerton's home regular season contests and selected road games will be available (on a subscription basis) live over the Internet courtesy the Big West TV platform. For a monthly subscription of \$9.95 or an annual subscription of \$79.95, fans can catch all the exclusive action from the comfort of their home computers. For more information, please log on to BigWest.org/TV. Live video will be available for both of this weekend's games.

I NEED STATS, STAT!: For the second consecutive season, Cal State Fullerton men's and women's basketball will feature live stats via CBS College Sports' Gametracker interface for all of the Titans' home games as well as select road contests. Links will be available on both the men's and women's basketball schedule pages at FullertonTitans.com.

UC IRVINE BRIEFLY: The Anteaters enter the week with a 9-4 mark overall and winners of their Big West Conference opener, 53-46, over UC Riverside on New Year's Eve in the Inland Empire... UC Irvine has won three straight and nine of 10 after opening the season 0-3... the Anteaters are a perfect 6-0 at home, but just 3-4 away from the Bren Center... the nine wins matches the team's entire total from all of last season (9-21 overall), putting UCI just one win shy of double-digits for the first time since 2002-03 (17-12)... junior Mikah Maly-Karros is averaging a double-double on the season, leading the Big West Conference in scoring (18.2 ppg) and rebounding (10.1 rpg) while shooting .470 from the floor and blocking 20 shots... reigning Big West Player of the Week, Jade Smith-Williams, is also in double figures at 14.7 ppg, and scored a season-high 28 points on 62 percent shooting from the floor in the win over the Highlanders... UCI is averaging 65.8 ppg and shooting .410 from the floor this season while holding opponents to 60.6 ppg and just 38 percent shooting from the field... the Anteaters have held opponents to under 60 points in six of their nine wins this season.

UC RIVERSIDE BRIEFLY: The Highlanders enter Saturday's contest against the Titans with a 6-7 overall mark and an 0-1 record in Big West play following an 80-57 non-conference loss at Fresno State on Monday (Jan. 3)... the defending Big West Conference Tournament champions have lost five straight following the game against the Bulldogs - their longest of the season following a three-game winning streak from Dec. 3-14... guard Alyssa Morris is the lone Highlander in double figures, averaging team high's in points (12.0 ppg) and rebounds (5.3 rpg) while ranking second in steals (19), while shooting 47 percent from the floor... UCR is averaging 58.5 ppg and is shooting just under 40 percent from the floor while opponents are averaging 62.8 ppg and shooting just over 38 percent from the field.

SERIES NOTES: Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series with UC Irvine, 31-30, having won two straight and nine of the last 11 (including a pair of games in the Big West Tournament in 2009 and 2010) against the Anteaters... the Titans are 16-11 all-time against UCI at home, having won five straight dating back to 2006... Fullerton is 23-27 against UC Irvine since both have been members of the Big West, including a 14-11 mark at Titan Gym... UC Riverside leads the series with the Titans, 19-18, having won two straight and eight of the last 10; however, Fullerton is just 5-13 against UCR since the Highlanders joined the Big West in 2001-02 (3-6 at home)... Fullerton is 9-7 all-time against the Highlanders at home, winning the last meeting, 78-60, on Jan. 9 of last season.

TITANS IN MIDDLE OF BIG WEST PACK IN FIRST RPI RELEASE: The NCAA released its first RPI report (as of Jan. 2) and the Titans are in the middle of the Big West pack after the first two months of play at No. 250 out of 343 teams entering the New Year. This week's opponents, UC Irvine and UC Riverside, rank atop the Big West pack as the Highlanders stand at No. 79 and the Anteaters right behind at No. 87. The rest of the conference shakes out as follows: UC Davis (No. 124), UC Santa Barbara (No. 136), Cal Poly (No. 262), Pacific (No. 302), Long Beach State (No. 307), and Cal State Northridge (No. 313).

RICHARDSON ON THE VERGE OF HISTORY: Six points. That's all junior Megan Richardson needs to become the 19th player in the history of the Fullerton women's basketball program to reach the 1,000 career point plateau and the first since Toni Thomas joined the club in 2009. The Manhattan Beach native, who scored 13 points in each of last weekend's Big West Conference openers in Northern California, enters Wednesday's clash with UC Irvine with 994 career points and could move into 18th place on the school's all-time scoring list with 11 more points, surpassing Joey Ray, who scored 1,004 career points from 1988-92. Should she get those six points, Richardson would become the fifth Titan in the last eight years to reach the milestone, joining Thomas (2008-09), Charlee Underwood (2006-07), Amber Pruitt (2005-06), and Tamara Quinn (2003-04).

ALSO ON THE WATCH LIST...: There's also an outside chance that Fullerton could have three players reach the 1,000-point milestone this season as senior Lyndsey Grove and junior Lauren Chow are rapidly closing in on the mark. Grove enters the week with 895 career points and is averaging a career-best 13.4 ppg - which would equal eight games (give-or-take) to make up the difference if she hit her average in each contest during that span. Chow, who recently made her return to the starting lineup after playing the first 11 games of the year coming off the bench, has a little more work to do, entering the week with 824 career points while averaging just 6.1 ppg thus far this season.

RICHIE RICH: Senior Ashley Richie has come alive offensively as of late, providing Head Coach Marcia Foster with another scoring threat outside of the 1-2 punch of senior Lyndsey Grove and junior Megan Richardson. Richie, who hadn't scored more than nine points in a game entering the Titans' contest at Gonzaga, exploded for a season-high 13 points off the bench on 5-of-10 shooting earning her a spot in the starting five for the Titans' Big West openers last week. Richie didn't disappoint, taking advantage of the playing time to finish with her first career double-double of 10 points and a career-high 11 rebounds against league-leading UC Davis and followed that up with 10 points against Pacific. She is averaging 11.0 ppg and 5.0 rpg in her last three contests, shooting .452 (14-for-31) from the floor in that stretch.

BUSHONG BLOCKS BUNCHES: Sophomore Lauren Bushong entered last weekend's Big West openers in Northern California with eight blocks on the season, but felt like that just wasn't enough. The second-year Yucca Valley native nearly equalled her entire season total in one game against Pacific, swatting down a career-high six shots in 13 minutes off the bench in the Titans' four-point loss to the Tigers - the most by a Fullerton player this season and the most since the great Genia Miller tallied seven blocks against Long Beach State in the 1991 Big West Conference Tournament Championship game. Bushong, who jumped past teammate Jenna Breite for the team lead, also jumped into the top 10 in the conference in the category, standing ninth overall with 14 blocks and 1.00 blocks per game.

RECORD-BREAKING Lauren Chow: Junior Lauren Chow continued her assault on the school's three-point records last weekend in Northern California, putting her name at the top of one list and standing just shy of a second mark. Chow, who hit on 5-of-9 from long distance against UC Davis and Pacific, broke Charlee Underwood's record for three-point attempts with 485 and stands just three trey's made of Underwood's mark of 164 from 2003-07. The La Palma native already ranks eighth with a .332 three-point percentage (just behind teammate Lyndsey Grove in seventh at .335).

IN OTHER RECORD NEWS: Chow's 246 career assists are just 69 helpers shy of the school's top 10 list (Chris O'Sullivan - 315) and her 113 steals are 40 back of that career top 10 list (Heidi James - 153).

CHOW FINDING HER STRIDE: After making her first start in more than a year against Gonzaga on Dec. 23, Chow finally found her stride in the Titans' Big West Conference openers against UC Davis and Pacific, averaging 12.5 ppg and shooting .533 from the field, including hitting 5-of-9 from three-point range as Fullerton finished the trip north with a 1-1 record. Chow, who averaged just 18.1 minutes per game coming off the bench in the team's first 11 games, averaged 22.7 mpg in her first three starts, including a season-high 29 minutes and the go-ahead basket against the Aggies. Her start against the Bulldogs prior to Christmas was her first since suffering a season-ending knee injury against San Diego on Dec. 7, 2009 - a string of 36 consecutive games.

THOMAS PUTS FORTH CAREER EFFORT: Freshman guard Alex Thomas came off the bench in a big way against Pacific last weekend, producing the best offensive game of her young career with a career-high 11 points - including 6-of-9 from the free throw line - and four steals in 21 minutes against the Tigers. Thomas, who entered the game averaging just 3.1 ppg, surpassed her previous career best of eight points set twice against Eastern Washington (Nov. 12) and Tulane (Nov. 28).

THE TITANS' SWISS ARMY KNIFE: Senior Lyndsey Grove has been a "jill of all trades" this season for the Titans, providing a lift on both ends of the court for Cal State Fullerton. Grove, who leads the team and ranks fifth in the Big West in scoring entering this week, has reached double figures in scoring in 12 of the team's 14 contests this season while also ranking second in the league in field goal percentage (.477), fifth in three-point percentage (.400), seventh in minutes (30.64 mpg), and 10th in three-pointers made per game (1.43 pg), while also standing first on the team in steals (20), third on the team in assists (32), and third in free throw percentage (.781).

PLANES, TRAINS, AND AUTOMOBILES: Eat your heart out Steve Martin. Following 11 games away from the friendly confines of Titan Gym to start the 2010-11 season, Cal State Fullerton has racked up a grand total of 12,020 miles traveled during the first two months of the season. When the regular season finally wraps up in March, Fullerton will have finished the season with 13,001 miles under its belt this season - not counting any trips the Titans may have to make during the conference tournament and any subsequent postseason jaunts.

IRON WOMEN: Senior Lyndsey Grove played in her 100th career game at Pepperdine on Dec. 18, joining a select group of 33 Titans - including teammate Ashley Richie, who joined the club on Dec. 4 at Bowling Green - who have appeared in at least 100 career games. Barring injury and major catastrophe, both Richie (106 games) and Grove (103 games) both have a great chance to break the current career mark held by Genia Miller with 15 regular season games remaining plus any possible conference tournament and postseason contests. Miller played in 118 games during her illustrious career from 1987-91, and her mark could be matched by Richie as soon as Feb. 17 against UC Santa Barbara at Titan Gym.

THE COMFORTS OF HOME: With the rigors of bus rides and plane trips behind them (for now), the Titans return to Titan Gym for their longest homestand of the season beginning this week - truly a sight for sore eyes for a squad that has struggled to a 2-8 record in true road games this season (and 0-1 in neutral site contests). Fullerton is averaging 81.7 ppg in its three home contests this season (all victories) compared to just 60.9 ppg in its 10 road games (a difference of 20.8 ppg) and is shooting .467 (93-for-199) at Titan Gym to just .382 (224-for-586) on the road. Opponents, on the other hand, are scoring just 61.7 ppg at Titan Gym compared to 75.7 ppg on their own floors.

THE CURE FOR WHAT AILS YA: Just like mom's chicken soup, the cure for an ailing Titans team is apparently just a little home cooking. Cal State Fullerton's win over Sacramento State on Dec. 9 improved the Titans to 3-0 at home this season - their best home start since the 1991-92 season when they opened with wins over Gonzaga, Georgetown, and Pepperdine. A win on Wednesday against UC Irvine will move Fullerton, which has won 12 of its last 14 overall at Titan Gym (including four straight), to 4-0 at home for the first time since 1983-84.

BLOCKS A PLENTY: The Titans ranked last in the Big West Conference in blocked shots last season with just 38 swats in 32 games, but it looks as if Cal State Fullerton is out to buck that trend in 2010-11. Through 14 games this season, the Titans have already rejected 46 shots - already 33 more than they had through 12 games in 2009-10 and the most in a single season since they swatted 71 shots in 2006-07. Fullerton, which stands sixth in the league in blocks (3.29 bpg) entering the week, is led by the twin-tower duo of senior Lauren Bushong (14) and Jenna Breite (11), who have combined for just over half of the team's total. Already this season, 11 different players have tallied a blocked shot - the most since 12 Titans finished with at least one swat during the 2008-09 campaign.

NOT JUST FOR DESSERT ANYMORE: The Titans' defense has been serving up its fair share of turnovers this season, forcing the opposition into 239 miscues thus far and turning those into 229 points for the "good guys" through 14 games. Fullerton has forced 20-or-more turnovers in six of its 14 games, including a season-best 26 turnovers at Pacific on Jan. 2 in Stockton. The 239 turnovers forced are fifth in the league (UC Davis is tops at 344) and the Titans' stand third in the Big West with an +0.64 turnover margin (the Aggies are first at +7.71). On the offensive side of the ball, Fullerton is also one of the best, as its 16.3 turnovers per game are the best in the league (UC Irvine is second at 16.7 per game).

QUITE A 1-2 PUNCH: The Titans scoring duo of senior Lyndsey Grove (13.4 ppg) and junior Megan Richardson (12.6 ppg) is among one of the Big West Conference's top 1-2 scoring punches this season, accounting for 40 percent of the team's scoring (363 of 916 total points) and combining to average 26.0 ppg. They are one of the hardest working duo's in the Big West when it comes to sharing the scoring load, standing behind only UC Irvine's Mikah Maly-Karros and Jade Smith-Williams (who have combined to score 428 of the team's 856 points and are averaging a combined 32.9 ppg) and Cal State Northridge's Jasmie Erving and Violet Alama (who have combined for 41 percent of the team's 822 points for and are averaging a combined 24.1 ppg). Grove and Richardson rank fifth and tied for seventh, respectively, in the Big West in scoring this week and Fullerton is one of six schools with a pair of players in the top 15 in the league in scoring.