Central Coast Rivals Up Next for Titans

Jan. 7, 2009

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FULLERTON, CA - Fresh off a victory in its Big West Conference opener, the Cal State Fullerton women's basketball team (4-7 overall, 1-0 in conference play) closes out a four-game homestand this weekend against a pair of foes from California's Central Coast. The Titans tip off on Thursday night (Jan. 8) at 7 p.m. against Cal Poly before welcoming UC Santa Barbara to Titan Gym on Saturday (Jan. 10) at 5 p.m.

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?: For those fans who won't be able to make it out to historic Titan Gym this week, both contests will be broadcast live over the Internet at FullertonTitans.com. Patrick Alog will have the call live for both contests.

I SEE YOU: For the third consecutive season, video for all of Cal State Fullerton's home women's basketball games and selected road contests will be streamed live over the Internet (on a subscription basis) thanks to Big West TV. For a monthly subscription of \$9.95 or an annual subscription of \$79.95, fans can catch all the exclusive action from Titan Gym and points beyond. For more information, please log on to www.BigWest.org/TV.

SCOUTING THE MUSTANGS: Cal Poly enters the week with an 8-5 record and a 1-1 mark in Big West play after splitting its opening weekend contests with UC Riverside (L, 66-48) and Long Beach State (W, 74-66)... The Mustangs are 3-2 away from home this season, winning three of their last four after a season-opening loss to Pepperdine on Nov. 14... Kristina Santiago leads the way offensively, averaging 14.7 points and 4.8 rebounds per game while shooting 55 percent from the field... Megan Harrison and Lisa McBride are also in double figures, averaging 12.7 and 10.8 ppg, respectively, with the latter averaging a team-best 5.8 rpg.

THE SERIES: Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series with the Mustangs, 23-13, and is 13-4 against Cal poly all-time at home... The two teams split the season series last year with each team winning on its home court... Fullerton posted a 70-55 win on Feb. 9 with Cal Poly emerging victorious, 55-54, on Jan. 10... The Titans are 6-4 in their last 10 games against the Mustangs.

SCOUTING THE GAUCHOS: UC Santa Barbara enters the week with a 6-6 overall record and a perfect 2-0 mark in league play under first-year head coach Lindsay Gottlieb, who took over for long-time head coach Mark French after 20 years at the helm of one of the league's most successful women's basketball programs... UCSB has won its last three straight games following a three-game losing streak, sweeping its conference openers against Long Beach State (66-48) and UC Riverside (47-40)... All six of the Gauchos' victories this season have come at home as UCSB is 0-5 on the road in 2008-09 heading into its Thursday night match-up at UC Irvine... Reigning Big West Player of the Week Lauren Pedersen leads the Gauchos offensively at 12.8 ppg and is also the team's leading rebounder at 4.9 rpg... Senior Jenna Green, who missed all of last season due to injury, is averaging 9.1 ppg to rank second on the team in scoring while shooting 49 percent from the floor to go with 24 blocks.

THE SERIES: UC Santa Barbara leads the all-time series with the Titans, 37-22, and has dominated the series as of late, winning the last 30 consecutive meetings - the longest such active streak of any such opponent in the history of the program... Fullerton hasn't defeated the Gauchos since a 97-86 victory in the second round of the Big West Tournament on March 8, 1995... the gap is narrowing, however, as the Titans' last six losses have all come by nine points or fewer aftera string of 22 consecutive double-digit defeats... UCSB escaped with a one-point 59-58 win in overtime last season in Santa Barbara before handing the Titans a 72-63 loss at Titan Gym.

TITANS SUCCESSFULLY OPEN LEAGUE PLAY: Thanks to a 27-point victory over UC Irvine last week, Cal State Fullerton won its Big West Conference opener for the third consecutive season (the second straight against UC Irvine) and the fifth time in the last seven years. The Titans improved to 9-15 all-time in league openers dating back to the 1985-86 season and 5-6 on their home floor.

"ROUT" 27: Yes, we know it's misspelled. Cal State Fullerton's 27-point victory over UC Irvine last weekend extended the Titans' winning streak over the Anteaters to six and marked the largest margin of victory over UCI for Fullerton in the 55-game history of the season. It was also the sixth-largest margin of victory by either school in the series and the biggest since a 29-point Anteater win on Jan. 9, 2003 (72-43 at UCI). UC Irvine holds the record in the series with a 38-point victory (84-46) on Jan. 27, 2001, at Fullerton.

HOW BIG?: Cal State Fullerton's 27-point margin of victory over UC Irvine was its largest since an 84-54 win over Eastern Washington on Nov. 29, 1996.

LET'S "GROVE" TONIGHT: Sophomore Lyndsey Grove had, perhaps, the best weekend of her brief collegiate career this past week, leading the Titans in points (32) and co-leading the team in rebounds (10) and steals (5) while shooting better than 73 percent (11-for-15) from the field. Grove scored a career-high 18 points in Fullerton's narrow loss to Columbia and added 14 points and a career-high six rebounds a few nights later against UC Irvine. The performances marked the first time in her career that she has posted back-to-back double-digit scoring games as Grove set or tied career-highs in six other categories.

MS. EFFICIENT: Cal State Fullerton senior forward Toni Thomas made her return to the floor in both games last week against Columbia and UC Irvine after missing each of the team's previous three contests (and the better part of a fourth) due to a leg injury. Limited to just over 13 minutes per game last week, Thomas made the most of her time on the court, scoring 16 points in just 12 minutes against the Lions and adding 14 more to go with eight rebounds in 15 minutes off the bench against the Anteaters. The two performances also gave Thomas double digits in seven of the eight games she has played this season and her first since a 14-point outing against UNLV on Nov. 29.

MORE GOOD RETURNS: Junior Sabrina Gonzalez also made her return to the court this past weekend after recovering from a broken finger that has kept her sidelined since prior to the Titans' win over Saint Mary's on Nov. 21 (seven games). After being held scoreless in three minutes against Columbia, Gonzalez finally netted her first points at the Division I level, finishing with eight points, two rebounds and a steal in the win over UC Irvine. The UCI game marked only her third contest since the two-time Pacific Coast Conference Player of the Year transferred from Palomar JC.

YOU CAN PUT HER ON THE BOARD...: Chicago White Sox fans will appreciate that one. Freshman Jahne Williams also got into the scoring column on Saturday against UC Irvine, netting her first career points with a pair of baskets and three steals in seven minutes against the Anteaters.

40 MINUTES: Cal State Fullerton big first half against UC Irvine not only helped the Titans snap a three-game losing skid overall, but also a similar streak when it came to leading at halftime. Fullerton had gone into the lockerroom holding an advantage in each of its last three contests, only to fall victim to a second-half slump. With the win over the Anteaters, the Titans improved to 3-4 this season when leading at halftime.

BACK ON THE BOARDS: Fullerton outrebounded UC Irvine, 44-31, last weekend, marking only the second time in 11 games this season that the Titans have won the battle on the glass. The 44 rebounds are a season and are the most since they grabbed the same number in a win over Cal Poly on Feb. 9, 2008.

CHARITY CASE: Cal State Fullerton did well to capitalize on its chances at the line over the weekend, shooting a combined 89 percent (39-for-44) in its two games against Columbia and UC Irvine - just days after going to the line a season-low six times at San Diego on Dec. 20. The Titans hit all 16 of their free throws against the Lions - the second time this season Fullerton has been perfect at the line after going 8-for-8 against then-No. 16 Vanderbilt on Dec. 4 - and made a season-high 23 (in 28 attempts) free throws against the Anteaters. For the season, the Titans are shooting just over 73 percent from the line as a team - a percentage that ranks second in the Big West behind UC Santa Barbara (.753) entering this week's games.

Lauren Chow - THE GUARD THAT KEEPS ON GIVING: Sophomore guard Lauren Chow matched her career-high with six assists against UC Irvine last Saturday, marking the third time she has reached that total this season. Chow, who ranks fourth in the Big West Conference in assists (3.73 apg) entering the week, is averaging 4.00 apg over her last eight contests and has also done well to take care of the ball herself, leading the league in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.37 (41 assists to 30 turnovers) - one of only four conference regulars to have more assists than miscues thus far this season.

FOR DESSERT?: It's safe to say a basketball turnover probably wouldn't taste very good as a meal-ender, but on the court, it has been a sweet statistic for the Titans. Fullerton's defense has forced its opponents into 241 turnovers on the season (a league best 21.9 per game), turning them into 224 points for the "good gals." The Titans have forced 20-or-more turnovers in seven of their 11 contests this season with a pair of 19-turnover games to boot. On the other hand, the Titans have also done a great job of taking care of the ball themselves, committing only 191 turnovers (best in the Big West) and ranking first in the league in turnover margin (+4.55) while notching 104 steals to rank fifth overall and fourth in the league with 9.45 spg.