Titans Look to Snap Skid vs. 49ers, Highlanders
Jan. 28, 2009
FULLERTON, CA - The Cal State Fullerton women's basketball team (6-11 overall, 3-3 in the Big West Conference for fifth place) looks to break out of a recent funk this week as the Titans return to Big West Conference play with a pair of games against local rivals. Fullerton hosts Long Beach State on Thursday (Jan. 29) at 7 p.m. to close out a three-game homestand before opening a three-game roadtrip on Saturday (Jan. 31) at 5 p.m. at UC Riverside.
CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?: Both of this week's contests will be broadcast live over the Internet at FullertonTitans.com. Patrick Alog will have the call live for both contests from Titan Gym and Riverside's Student Recreation Center.
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 49ERS: Long Beach State, picked to finish seventh in the Big West this season according to a vote of the league's coaches, has struggled during its 2008-09 campaign, posting a 3-15 overall record and remains winless in conference play with an 0-6 mark... the 49ers have lost their last eight in a row, including a 57-41 defeat at UC Riverside last week in their only game... Whitney Fields leads the team offensively, averaging 12.2 ppg and 8.3 rpg while shooting 41 percent from the floor... Courtney Jacob is also in double figures for Long Beach State, averaging 10.6 ppg and 5.7 rpg to go with 24 blocks.
THE SERIES: The 49ers lead the all-time series by a 58-27 count... The Titans have won four of the last seven after splitting the season series in each of the last three years and posting an 18-point win in the Big West Tournament last season... Each team has won on its home court in each of the last three years, including a 75-66 win for Fullerton last season... The Titans have won three straight against Long Beach State at home and over half of their wins in the series (14) have come at Titan Gym (14-25 overall).
SCOUTING THE HIGHLANDERS: Preseason conference favorite UC Riverside enters the week with a 9-9 overall record and an almost perfect 5-1 mark in conference play to stand second behind UC Santa Barbara's 7-0 record... the Highlanders, who host UC Irvine on Thursday night, have not lost at home in five chances this season... UCR has won its last four straight dating back to its only Big West loss of the year on Jan. 4 at UC Santa Barbara - three of those victories coming at home... Kemie Nkele leads the team offensively, averaging 16.9 ppg and 8.2 rpg to go with 24 blocks and shooting 40 percent from the floor... Seyram Gbewonyo is also averaging double figures, posting 10.4 ppg and a team-high 24 steals.
THE SERIES: Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series with UC Riverside, 17-15, but has lost the last two straight to the Highlanders in the series... The Titans are 6-6 at home against UCR with the location of four games unknown... The two schools split the season series last year, each winning on the others home court... Fullerton won by eight points in Riverside before the Highlanders edged the Titans by six points in Fullerton.
THOMAS REACHES 1,600 POINTS: Already entrenched in fourth place on the school's all-time scoring list, senior Toni Thomas became the fourth player in school history to reach 1,600 career points, using her 37 points last weekend to give her 1,625 for her stellar four-year career. Thomas continues to inch up the school's scoring chart, needing a very manageable 106 points over the last 10 regular season games (10.6 ppg) to tie Robin Holmes (1,731 career points) for third on the all-time list and 109 points to match Shayla Bradshaw (1,734) for second. The all-time school record is held by Eugenia Miller-Rycraw, who scored 2,415 career points in her four-year career from 1987-91.
STILL NOT BAD: While her assault on the Cal State Fullerton record books continues, reaching the 2,000-point, 1,000-rebound milestone may be just out of reach for Thomas, who needs 214 more rebounds (an average of 21.4 rpg over the last 10 regular season games) to become only the second player in Fullerton men's or women's basketball history to reach that milestone (Eugenia Miller-Rycraw). However, with 20 more rebounds this year, Thomas would move past Terri Withers (805) for second place on the women's basketball all-time list and become only the fourth player in men's or women's basketball history at Fullerton to surpass the 800-rebound mark, joining Miller-Rycraw (1,162), Tony Neal (1,115) of the men's team, and Withers.
MIGHTY MEGAN: Since being held scoreless for the first time in her brief Titan career on Jan. 3 against UC Irvine, freshman Megan Richardson has herself quite a start to 2009, reaching double figures in five of the last six games and averaging a team-best 15.7 ppg in that stretch. She also tallied her first two career 20-point games against Pacific (21) and Cal State Bakersfield (a career-high 22 points) and is shooting .514 (37-for-72) from the field in that stretch.
TITANS ON THE OFFENSIVE: Despite losing both of its high-scoring contests this past week, Cal State Fullerton posted two of its highest point totals of the year against Cal State Northridge and Cal State Bakersfield, putting up 82 points against the Matadors and 76 points against the Roadrunners to help boost the Titans into the top spot in the Big West with an average of 66.2 points per game entering this week's games. Fullerton is powered by a trio of double-digit scorers who all rank among the league's top 15 entering the week: Thomas (3rd - 14.2 ppg), Lauren Chow (14th - 10.9 ppg), adn Megan Richardson (15th - 10.7 ppg).
DOUBLE-DOUBLE VISION?: Thomas posted back-to-back double-doubles in a player of the week type effort this past weekend against Cal State Northridge and Cal State Bakersfield, giving her 25 double-doubles for her career - a total that ranks fourth on the school's all-time list thanks to a thorough scouring (and updating) of box scores dating back to the early 1980's by sports information intern Nick Longo. Thomas stands just one double-double behind Claudette Jackson (26) for third place and 10 back of Erin Whiteside for second. The school record is held by Eugenia Miller-Rycraw, who accumulated 61 double-doubles in her brilliant four-year career at Cal State Fullerton.
THOMAS CONTINUES STREAKING: Thomas hasn't missed a beat since missing the first three games of her collegiate career due to injury, scoring in double digits in five of the team's last six games and averaging 15.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per game in that span. Thomas, who ranks third overall in the league in scoring entering the week at 14.2 ppg, is shooting .473 (43-for-91) from the field and .917 (33-for-36) from the free throw line over the last eight games.
Lauren Chow - THE GUARD THAT KEEPS ON GIVING: Sophomore Lauren Chow enters the week as one of the league's top playmakers, ranking second in the league with 3.76 assists per game and fourth with 64 assists overall this season. She has also done well to take care of the ball herself, leading the league in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.60 (64 assists to 40 turnovers) - one of only four conference regulars to have more assists than miscues thus far this season. Chow is averaging 4.13 apg (33 assists overall) over her last eight contests - a stretch that includes a career-high seven assists in a win at UC Davis on Jan. 15.
SHE'S (STILL) KIND OF A BIG (WEST) DEAL: Sophomore Lyndsey Grove has stepped up her game since the start of the Big West Conference season, ranking among the league leaders in several different categories - and besting her overall season averages in each. The sophomore stands tied for seventh in scoring (13.3 ppg) and sixth in rebounding (6.8 rpg) while leading the league in field goal percentage (.589) through six conference contests.
LET'S "GROVE" TONIGHT: Since the Titans rang in the New Year on Dec. 30 against Columbia, sophomore Lyndsey Grove has provided the Titans with a potent offensive threat in the paint, averaging 14.0 points and 6.4 rebounds per game over her last seven contests, shooting a spectacular 60 percent (39-for-65) from the field and an almost perfect 95 percent (19-for-20) from the free throw line. Last week against Cal State Northridge, Grove scored a career-high 20 points to go with nine rebounds to notch her first career 20-point game and narrowly miss her second career double-double. She has reached double figures in each of her last four games and six of her last seven contests.
TITANS STRUGGLING TO "GO GREEN": Cal State Fullerton continues to try and find ways to harness the power of the sun as Saturday's loss to Cal State Bakersfield dropped the Titans to 1-7 in "day games" (contests played before 6 p.m.) this season, having lost four of their last five. While averaging almost the same amount scoring-wise from night to day (66.7 ppg to 65.6 ppg, respectively), the Titans are shooting much better "under the lights," shooting .399 (220-for-552) from the floor at night to just .373 overall (199-for-533), and .316 (42-for-133) from three-point range to .283 (45-for-159) beyond the arc in day games.
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 355 turnovers on the season (a league best 20.9 per game), turning them into 331 points for the "good gals." The Titans have forced 20-or-more turnovers in 10 of their 17 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 274 turnovers (best in the Big West) and ranking first in the league in turnover margin (+4.76) while notching 170 steals to rank second overall and tops in the league with 10.00 spg.
SULTAN OF STEAL: Keep your eye on the ball or senior Daviyonne Weathersby just might make it disappear. Despite missing the last three games due to injury, Weathersby continues to rank second in the Big West Conference with 2.21 steals per game and tied for fifth overall with 31 swipes on the year. She has a steal in every game she has appeared in but one in 2008-09, including a season-high four steals in the season opener against Santa Clara, and is averaging 2.67 steals per game over her last six contests.