Tigers, Aggies Invade Titan Gym in Big West Play
Feb. 11, 2009
FULLERTON, CA - Currently in the midst of a seven-game losing streak, the Cal State Fullerton women's basketball team (6-15 overall, 3-7 in the Big West) hopes that some home-cooking is the cure for what ails them as the Titans host Northern California opponents Pacific and UC Davis at Titan Gym this weekend. Thursday's contest with the Tigers will tip-off at 7 p.m. before the Titans and Aggies celebrate Valentine's Day on Saturday evening at 5 p.m.
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.
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 TIGERS: Pacific enters the week with a 12-10 overall record and a 6-4 mark in Big West play for fourth place... the Tigers split their two conference contests last week, falling to UC Riverside (74-55) and downing Long Beach State (98-92) in a double-overtime thriller... Pacific is riding a three-game road losing skid heading into Thursday's game at Titan Gym and is just 1-9 away from home - a mark that includes two neutral site contests - compared to 11-1 at the Spanos Center this season... Reigning Big West Player of the Week Amber Simmons, who had 33 points against the 49ers, leads the conference in scoring at 18.6 ppg and ranks fifth with 6.9 rpg to go with 20 blocks... Janae Young (10.8 ppg, 7.7 rpg) and Gretchen Tiernan (10.0 ppg) are also averaging double figures for the Tigers this season.
THE SERIES: Pacific leads the all-time series with Cal State Fullerton, 32-18, including a 72-66 win in Stockton on Jan. 17 that started the Titans' current seven-game losing skid... Fullerton is 11-12 all-time against the Tigers at home, having won the last three straight meetings at Titan Gym, including a 94-83 shootout last season on Jan. 19.
SCOUTING THE AGGIES: UC Davis enters the week with a 7-14 overall record and a 3-7 mark in Big West games to stand tied with Cal State Fullerton in fifth place... The Aggies will travel to UC Irvine on Thursday before meeting the Titans on Valentine's Day Saturday... UC Davis has lost five straight dating back to a 14-point win over the Anteaters on Jan. 17 and dropped both of its games last weekend to Long Beach State (68-64) and UC Riverside (47-44 in overtime)... Paige Mintun (13.4 ppg) is the lone active Aggie in double figures with the loss of Haylee Donaghe (11.6 ppg in seven games) to injury, and is averaging 6.6 rpg while shooting 43 percent from the floor.
THE SERIES: Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series with UC Davis, 5-4, following its 71-59 victory over the Aggies on Jan. 15 in Davis... The Titans are 2-2 all-time against Davis on their home floor, last winning by nine points (62-53) on March 1, 2007.
ROSES, CHOCOLATE, AND BASKETBALL?: Saturday's game against UC Davis will mark just the 10th time in the 40-year history of the Cal State Fullerton women's basketball program that the Titans will play on Valentine's Day as they have posted a 4-5 record on the holiday and will be looking to snap a three-game losing streak in Valentine's Day games. Fullerton lost last season's "heartbreaker" in Stockton, falling to Pacific by the score of 76-72 in overtime. The Titans last celebrated Valentine's Day with a victory in 1997, downing the Tigers, 78-55.
SWEET 16: Senior Daviyonne Weathersby celebrated her weekend on the Central Coast with a big night against Big West Conference leader UC Santa Barbara, netting a career-high 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting to go with six rebounds to lead the Titans against the Gauchos. The eight baskets were also a career high for Weathersby, who reached double figures for the fourth time this season (eighth time overall in her career) and the first since the UNLV game on Nov. 29.
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 11 of the team's last 12 games and averaging 14.8 points and 8.6 rebounds per game in that span. Thomas, who ranks fourth overall in the league in scoring entering the week at 14.1 ppg, is shooting .403 (56-for-139) from the field and .924 (61-for-66) from the free throw line over the last 12 games.
MISS ACCURACY: Sophomore forward Lyndsey Grove has established herself among the league's most accurate shooters this season, hitting on just under 49 percent from the floor (.488) - a percentage that would rank third in the Big West, but she doesn't meet the league's minimum number of field goals made to qualify. Grove has shot 40 percent or better from the field in 13 of the team's last 14 games, but has struggled to find the basket since sitting out the Titans' game against Cal State Bakersfield due to illness, scoring just 14 points over the last four games after averaging 14.5 ppg in a four-game stretch prior to her illness.
"AND THOMAS WITH THE REBOUND...": Broadcasters have said that a lot over the past month as Toni Thomas has been a monster on the boards for the Titans. The senior forward has either led or co-led Cal State Fullerton in rebounding in each of the last eight games, averaging 9.3 rebounds per game in that stretch which included three straight double-doubles against Cal State Northridge, Cal State Bakersfield, and Long Beach State. Thomas enters the week ranked fourth in the league with 7.4 rpg behind only Long Beach State's Whitney Fields (8.4 rpg), Pacific's Janae Young (7.7 rpg) and UC Riverside's Kemie Nkele (7.7 rpg).
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, giving Head Coach Dr. Maryalyce Jeremiah another offensive weapon in the lineup. Richardson, the only freshman (and one of only four underclassmen) to rank among the league's top 15 in scoring this season, has reached double figures in seven of the Titans' last 10 games and is averaging 12.9 ppg in that stretch. She tallied her first two career 20-point games against Pacific (21) and Cal State Bakersfield (a career-high 22 points) and is shooting .397 (48-for-121) from the field in that stretch.
A FREE DOZEN: Wouldn't it be great if Krispy Kreme offered one of those? But we digress... Toni Thomas made the most of her opportunities at the line against Cal Poly last week, converting all 12 of her free throw attempts and extending her streak to 15 consecutive free throws made dating back to the second half against UC Riverside on Jan. 31. Thomas is 40-for-42 (.952) from the line over her last six games and ranks second in the Big West with an .882 free throw percentage entering the week - one of only four players in the league to be shooting better than 80 percent for the season this week and trailing UC Santa Barbara's Lauren Pedersen by just .006 for the top spot.
WIN BIG OR GO HOME: Five of Cal State Fullerton's six victories this season have come by double digits, including a season-high 27-point victory over UC Irvine on Jan. 3 to ring in the New Year. The lone "blemish" was a three-point victory on the road at San Francisco on Dec. 10, 2008.
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 Poly dropped the Titans to 1-9 in "day games" (contests played before 6 p.m.) this season, having lost the last five straight games since a win over UC Irvine on Jan. 3. While averaging almost the same amount scoring-wise from night to day (63.4 ppg to 64.2 ppg, respectively), the Titans are shooting much better "under the lights," shooting .373 (255-for-683) from the floor at night to just .360 during the day (232-for-644), and .280 (49-for-175) from three-point range to .269 (53-for-197) beyond the arc in day games.
Lauren Chow - THE GUARD THAT KEEPS ON GIVING: Sophomore Lauren Chow enters the week as one of the league's top playmakers, ranking fourth in the league with 3.33 assists per game and fourth with 70 assists overall this season. She has also done well to take care of the ball herself, ranking second in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.52 (70 assists to 46 turnovers) - one of only six conference regulars to have more assists than miscues thus far this season.
SULTAN OF STEAL: Keep your eye on the ball or senior Daviyonne Weathersby just might make it disappear. Despite missing three games due to injury, Weathersby continues to rank second in the Big West Conference with 2.24 steals per game and is fourth overall with 38 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 2.56 steals per game over her last nine contests.
SHE'S \#2! SHE'S \#2!: Senior forward Toni Thomas became only the third women's basketball player to surpass 800 rebounds, grabbing nine boards against UC Riverside on Jan. 31 to move past Terri Withers into second place on the school's all-time rebounding list behind career leader Eugenia Miller-Rycraw (1,162). Thomas, who now has 822 career rebounds and ranks ninth with a career average of 7.6 rebounds per game, is only the fourth player (men's or women's) in school history to reach that plateau, joining Miller-Rycraw, Withers, and the career leader for the Titans' men's program, Tony Neal, who grabbed 1,115 rebounds in his illustrious four-year career.
STILL CLIMBING: Another big weekend has senior Toni Thomas poised to continue her march up the school's all-time scoring list as her 22 points last weekend against UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly inched her closer to yet another milestone in her illustrious career. Thomas, who enters the week with 1,680 points, needs a very manageable 51 points over the last six regular season games (8.5 ppg) to tie Robin Holmes (1,731 career points) for third on the all-time list and 54 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.
"FILL MY EYES WITH THAT DOUBLE-DOUBLE VISION...": No "Foreigner" to finding the basket, Toni Thomas' third straight double-double against Long Beach State Jan. 29 moved her into a tie for third place on the school's all-time list with 26, matching Claudette Jackson's total from 1990-92. Thomas needs just nine more to match Erin Whiteside (1996-00) for second place and stand behind only career leader Eugenia Miller-Rycraw, who amassed 61 double-doubles in her brilliant four-year career with the Titans. The Cal State Fullerton sports information office would like to thank intern Nick Longo for his thorough scouring (and updating) of box scores dating back to the early 1980's for his help in compiling this list.
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 436 turnovers on the season (a league best 20.8 per game), turning them into 401 points for the "good gals" - an average of 19.1 ppg. The Titans have forced 20-or-more turnovers in 13 of their 21 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 327 turnovers (fewest in the Big West) and ranking first in the league in turnover margin (+5.19) while notching 202 steals to rank first overall and tops in the league with 9.62 spg.