Feb. 25, 2009
FULLERTON, CA - The Cal State Fullerton women's basketball team (7-17 overall, 4-9 in the Big West Conference for sixth place) heads down the regular-season stretch in a battle for playoff seeding this week as the Titans battle two local rivals. Fullerton hosts a streaking UC Riverside club on Thursday (Feb. 26) at 7 p.m. in the final home game of the 2008-09 season before heading to long-time rival Long Beach State on Saturday (Feb. 28) for a 5 p.m. tip-off against the 49ers.
"IT'S SO HARD, TO SAY GOODBYE...": Prior to Thursday night's contest against the Highlanders, the Cal State Fullerton athletic department and the women's basketball program will bid farewell to its two departing seniors - Daviyonne Weathersby and Toni Thomas - in a pre-game ceremony. Festivities are scheduled to begin at approximately 6:45 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 and the Walter Pyramid.
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 HIGHLANDERS: UC Riverside enters the week on a school-record 11-game winning streak, improving to 16-9 overall and standing one-half game out of first place in the conference with an 11-1 mark (UC Santa Barbara is 12-1)... the Highlanders defeated Long Beach State, 64-48, last week... senior Kemie Nkele leads the offense, averaging 18.1 points and 7.9 rebounds per game while shooting 43 percent from the floor... Seyram Gbewonyo is also in double figures, averaging 10.3 ppg to go with a team-high 39 steals.
THE SERIES: Cal State Fullerton narrowly leads the all-time series with UC Riverside, 17-16, and will be looking to avenge a 69-56 loss earlier this season at the Student Recreation Center... the Highlanders have won the last three straight in the series and two straight (and three of the last four) at Titan Gym... Fullerton's last win in the series came on Jan. 23, 2008, with a 62-54 win in Riverside... the Titans haven't defeated UCR at home since a 68-62 victory on Jan. 14, 2006... Fullerton is 6-6 all time against the Highlanders at home with the location of four games in the series unknown.
SCOUTING THE 49ERS: Long Beach State enters the week with a 7-18 overall record and stands just a half a game back of Cal State Fullerton for seventh place in the conference standings... the 49ers will travel south to UC Irvine on Thursday before hosting the Titans on Saturday... Long Beach State has won two of its last three, but lost its only contest last weekend against UC Riverside... Whitney Fields leads the team offensively, averaging 12.1 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, standing as the only player averaging double digits in points among a balanced offensive attack.
THE SERIES: Long Beach State leads the all-time series with Cal State Fullerton, 59-27, winning the first meeting earlier this year by the score of 54-51 at Titan Gym... the Titans are just 7-30 all-time on the 49ers' home floor (with the location of one game unknown) and they have lost five straight (and nine of the last 10) on the road against Long Beach State dating back to a 77-74 victory on Feb. 13, 2003.
RACE FOR SEEDING BUNCHES UP: The Titans currently sit in sixth place in the race for one of the top eight spots for the Big West Conference Tournament, standing just one-half game back of UC Davis for fifth and a half a game ahead of seventh-place Long Beach State and Cal State Northridge, and one game ahead of ninth-place UC Irvine.
THOMAS HITS 1,700: Thanks to a big night against Cal State Northridge, senior Toni Thomas became just the fourth place in the history of the women's basketball program to top 1,700 career points, rapidly closing in on the top three. Thomas stands at 1,714 career points entering the final three regular season games, needing just 17 points to match Robin Holmes (1982-86) for third place on the school's all-time scoring list and 19 more points to tie Shayla Bradshaw (1992-96) for second all-time behind career leader Eugenia Miller-Rycraw (2,415). Thomas becomes the 14th player in the history of the Big West Conference to reach the 1,700-point plateau.
CHOW NETS SEASON BEST: After suffering through one of the longest scoring droughts of her career, sophomore Lauren Chow has found her stroke, hitting double digits in points in three of the last four contests, including a season-high 21 points against Cal State Northridge last weekend. Prior to her most recent streak that has seen her average 11.8 ppg over her last four contests (47 points total), Chow had scored only 41 points combined in the six games prior to that from Jan. 17-Feb. 5.
GONZALEZ SCORES CAREER HIGH: Junior Sabrina Gonzalez had the best offensive performance of her Division I career at Cal State Northridge, hitting all four of her shots en route to a career-high 10 points.
OR YOUR POINTS ARE FREEEEEEEEE: Senior Toni Thomas enters the week ranked second in the league in free throw percentage, hitting on just over 87 percent from the stripe this season and trailing leader Lauren Pedersen of UC Santa Barbara by .006 for the top spot. Thomas, who has hit a league best 101 free throws (in a Big West high 116 attempts), ranks second all-time in school history in free throws made (472) and attempted (578) and, if the season ended today, holds the school record with a .817 free throw percentage for her career which would also rank second all-time in Big West history behind only Pacific's Selena Ho (1998-02), who shot .823 from the line in her career.
NOT HALF BAD: Cal State Fullerton's 47 points in the second half against Cal State Northridge last weekend marked the second-highest single-half offensive performance for the Titans this season and the most points in a period since they scored a season-high 52 points in the first half of an 88-74 win over Saint Mary's on Nov. 21 in the third game of the year. After trailing by 19 at the break, the Titans outscored the Matadors, 47-39, during their second-half comeback attempt - only the seventh time in 24 games this year that Fullerton has outscored the opposition in the second period.
"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 11 games, averaging 8.9 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 7.5 rpg behind only Long Beach State's Whitney Fields (8.5 rpg) and UC Riverside's Kemie Nkele (7.9 rpg).
CHOW IN THE RECORD BOOKS AGAIN: Sophomore guard Lauren Chow has staked her claim to yet another Cal State Fullerton record despite having somewhat of an off year following her stellar freshman campaign. Chow, who already holds the school's freshman record for three-pointers made and attempted, is now the best sophomore sharpshooter in Titan history as her 47-for-157 (.299) performance beyond the arc this season set new records for three-pointers made and attempts, breaking Shayla Bradshaw's marks of 35 made and 114 attempted in 1993-94.
MOVIN' ON UP: Chow's three-point exploits also have her moving up the Fullerton career charts are her 124 career three-pointers, 371 attempts, and .334 percentage in 53 career games all rank seventh on their respective charts entering the week. Almost two-thirds of Chow's career field goal attempts have come from beyond the arc (371-of-614) in her brief Titan career.
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 UC Davis dropped the Titans to 1-11 in "day games" (contests played before 6 p.m.) this season, having lost the last seven straight games since a win over UC Irvine on Jan. 3. While averaging almost the same amount scoring-wise from night to day (63.2 ppg to 63.0 ppg, respectively), the Titans are shooting much better "under the lights," shooting .377 (273-for-725) from the floor at night to just .352 during the day (271-for-769), and .286 (53-for-185) from three-point range to .252 (61-for-242) 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 fifth in the league with 3.29 assists per game and fifth with 79 assists overall this season. She has also done well to take care of the ball herself, ranking third in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.41 (79 assists to 56 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 2.15 steals per game and is fifth overall with 43 swipes on the year. She has a steal in every game she has appeared in but two in 2008-09, including a season-high four steals in the season opener against Santa Clara and again against UC Davis on Feb. 14.
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 512 turnovers on the season (a league best 21.3 per game), turning them into 469 points for the "good gals" - an average of 19.5 ppg. The Titans have forced 20-or-more turnovers in 16 of their 24 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 390 turnovers (second fewest in the Big West) and ranking first in the league in turnover margin (+5.08) while notching 239 steals to rank first overall and tops in the league with 9.96 spg.