Titans Battle for Tourney Seeding Up North
March 1, 2010
FULLERTON, CA -
TIP OFF: The race for seeding in next weekend's Big West Conference Tournament enters the home stretch as the regular season for the Cal State Fullerton women's basketball team (13-15 overall, 7-7 in the Big West) will come to an end on the road in Northern California. The Titans travel to take on Pacific on Thursday (March 4) at the Spanos Center and second-place UC Davis on Saturday (March 6) at The Pavilion with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m. at both venues.
CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? GOOD!: There will not be a Cal State Fullerton originated broadcast for this weekend's contests in Northern California. Please visit pacifictigers.com or ucdavisaggies.com to access the home team's live broadcasts.
I SEE YOU: For the fourth consecutive season, video for all of Cal State Fullerton's home regular season contests and selected road games will be streamed live over the Internet (on a subscription basis) courtesy the Big West TV platform. For a monthy 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 BigWestTV.org.
I NEED STATS, STAT!: For the first time this season, Cal State Fullerton men's and women's basketball will feature live stats via CBS College Sports' Gametracker for all of the Titans' home games and select road contests. Links will be available on both the men's and women's basketball schedule pages at FullertonTitans.com.
A LOOK AT THE BIG (WEST) PICTURE: Cal State Fullerton currently sits in sixth place in the Big West standings heading into the final weekend, one-half game behind fourth-place Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara (8-7) and one game ahead of seventh-place UC Irvine. The Titans can finish as high as fourth place and earn a first-round bye with two wins this weekend and a loss by the Gauchos at UC Irvine on Wednesday. Even if the 49ers were to win their lone contest this week at UC Riverside, Fullerton holds the tiebreaker with the 49ers by virtue of their regular season series sweep, however, UCSB holds the tiebreaker with Cal State Fullerton by virtue of its two wins over the Titans should those two end up tied. If all three schools finish at 9-7, seeding would depend on tiebreakers with who wins the regular season championship which features three teams separated by one game.
SERIES RECORDS: Pacific leads the all-time series with Cal State Fullerton, 32-21, but the Titans have won the last three-straight in the series (and eight of the last 12) following their 82-65 win back on Jan. 4 at Titan Gym... a win on Thursday would give Fullerton a regular season sweep of the Tigers for the second-straight year and its longest winning streak in the history of the series since the Titans won five in a row from March 5, 1998 to Feb. 15, 1990... Cal State Fullerton is only 5-19 in Stockton against Pacific, losing its last four in a row (and 16 of its last 17) since an 80-59 victory on March 3, 2005... the Titans narrowly lead the all-time series against UC Davis, 6-5, posting a 68-57 win over the Aggies earlier this year on Jan. 2 at Titan Gym... Fullerton is 3-2 against UC Davis on the Aggies' home floor, winning last season, 71-59.
SCOUTING THE TIGERS: Pacific enters the week with a 5-21 overall record and clinging onto the final spot for next week's Big West Tournament with a 3-11 mark in league play - one game ahead of ninth-place Cal State Northridge... the Tigers snapped a three-game losing streak with a 77-67 victory over Long Beach State on the road to close out last weekend, but they have lost 13 of their last 15 dating back to their 17-point loss to Cal State Fullerton... Pacific is 3-9 at home this season... Christina Thompson leads the team offensively, averaging 11.1 ppg and 4.0 rpg, coming off the bench in 22 of her 24 games this season... the lone Tiger in double figures this season, Thompson is shooting .495 from the field... Pacific is averaging just 61.9 ppg and shooting .372 from the field while opponents are averaging 72.0 ppg and shooting .435 from the floor.
SCOUTING THE AGGIES: UC Davis enters the week with an 18-9 overall record and a 10-4 mark in conference play - one-half game behind league-leading UC Riverside... the Aggies had their three-game winning streak snapped last week with a four-point loss to UC Riverside, but have won 11 of 14 since falling to the Titans back on Jan. 2 in Fullerton... UC Davis will host Cal State Northridge on Thursday night before welcoming in Cal State Fullerton... Paige Mintun (11.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg) and Heidi Heintz (10.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg) are averaging double figures for the Aggies, who are shooting 42 percent from the field as a team and are averaging 64.9 ppg... opponents are averaging just 60.5 ppg (tops in the league) against UC Davis this season, but are shooting at a .401 clip in 27 games.
CONFERENCE CALL: Should Cal State Fullerton take two wins this weekend on its trip to Northern California, the Titans will post their first winning conference season since the NCAA-bound 1990-91 squad finished 14-4 for third place. Even one win this weekend would guarantee Fullerton a .500 record in league action - the fourth such season in the last five years (the Titans finished 7-7 in both the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons and was 8-8 following the 2007-08 campaign) - and the nine league victories would be the most since that 1990-91 squad.
A SENIOR MOMENT: Cal State Fullerton sent its two departing seniors - Jasmine Scott and Toya Fontenot - out in style last week against Cal Poly, winning its "senior night" game for the sixth time in the last seven seasons, with the only loss in that stretch coming against UC Riverside last year by the score of 65-55.
LUCKY 13: Fullerton's win over league-leading Cal Poly last week gave the Titans 13 victories on the year - the most since they finished 16-16 overall during the 2006-07 season. The six non-conference wins are also the most since that season when Fullerton finished 9-9 in that category.
DOUBLE UP: Fullerton's 13 wins thus far this season continue a run that has seen the Titans post double-digit victories in each of the last five seasons - the longest since Cal State Fullerton accomplished the feat in 12 consecutive years from 1980-92.
FOSTER AMONG THE BEST: With 13 wins in her first season at the helm of the Titans' program, first-year head coach Marcia Foster has posted the most victories for a rookie women's basketball coach at Cal State Fullerton since former Fullerton great Nancy Dunkle coached the Titans to a 16-9 mark in the first of her two seasons as head coach. The mark was set by Hall of Fame Head Coach Billie Moore, who was 17-1 in her first season at the helm of the Titans in 1969-70.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A POINT MAKES: Cal State Fullerton reached the 70-point mark for the 13th time this season in its win over Cal Poly - the most since the Titans had 14 such contests in 2005-06 en route to a 11-17 overall record. It has been a magic number once again for Fullerton this season, which is 10-3 this season when scoring at least 70 points compared to just 3-12 when scoring 69 points or fewer.
LET'S GO HALVSIES: Freshman Alicya Crisp's three-pointer at the buzzer lifted the Titans to a 35-32 lead at the half against Cal Poly last week and the Fullerton squad rallied in the end to hand the Mustangs a seven-point defeat and improve the Titans' record to 12-3 overall this year when leading after the first 20 minutes of play. Contrast that record to just a 1-13 mark this season when they trail after the first half, losing their last six straight and posting it's only come-from-behind win at Long Beach State on Jan. 7 at the Walter Pyramid.
STRENGTH IN NUMBERS: Cal State Fullerton is 12-8 this season when it has three or more players reach double figures, including a perfect 7-0 mark when the Titans have four (or more) score at least 10 points. However, when Fullerton's offense is held in check and only two (or fewer) players reach double figures, the Titans were 0-7 in those contests until last week against Cal Poly as Fullerton's Megan Richardson and Jasmine Scott finished with 19 and 13 points, respectively, en route to the win.
SPONSORED BY IN-N-OUT: It's what a basketball victory is all about. Cal State Fullerton is 3-1 overall this season when the Titans have a player post a double-double and are even better at 4-1 when you include Jasmine Scott's triple-double against Long Beach State on Feb. 4. Junior Jenna Breite (11 points, 10 rebounds vs. Portland State), freshman Mya Olivier (10 points, 11 rebounds vs. UC Santa Barbara and 14 points, 14 rebounds at Cal State Bakersfield), and Jasmine Scott (26 points, 12 rebounds vs. Seattle and 11 points, 16 rebounds, 11 assists vs. Long Beach State) have all accomplished the feat for the Titans this season.
HOME, SWEET HOME: Cal State Fullerton concluded the home portion of its schedule with an 8-5 mark at Titan Gym - the most home victories since the Titans finished 10-4 in 2006-07. Fullerton is 38-27 (.585) at home over the last five years, posting a .500 record or better at Titan Gym in four of those seasons.
UP, DOWN, AND ALL AROUND: Cal State Fullerton's roller coaster ride to the end of its season continued last weekend with a victory over Cal Poly. The Titans have alternated wins and losses over its last nine contests, averaging 67.2 ppg (to the opponents' 66.0 ppg) and shooting .376 from the floor (to the opposition's .394). In the five wins, Fullerton is averaging 76.4 ppg and outscoring opponents by 8.2 ppg while shooting .421 from the floor. In the four losses, however, the Titans are averaging just 55.8 ppg and are being outscored by 7.4 ppg while shooting just .317 from the field.
SUPER SOPH: Sophomore Megan Richardson continues to build on her spectacular freshman season in 2009-10, surpassing her point total from a season ago with 430 points (she scored 329 as a freshman) - the most points for a Titan in a single-season since Toni Thomas finished with 512 points as a junior in 2007-08. Richardson is averaging better than five points more than her rookie campaign when she averaged 11.0 ppg (she is averaging 15.4 ppg this season - good for third in the league) while her 759 career points are the most among active Titans.
AS GOES MEGAN, SO GO THE TITANS: It seems that opponents have figured out a way to slow down the Titans - slow down high-scoring Megan Richardson. Fullerton is an up-and-down 5-4 in its last nine games and, in the Titans' last four losses to UC Irvine, UC Riverside, Cal State Northridge, and UC Santa Barbara, Richardson has been held to 8.8 ppg in those contests and shooting just .289 (13-of-45) from the field. In the four wins, however, against Seattle, Long Beach State, UC Irvine, Cal State Bakersfield, and Cal Poly, Richardson has hit the jackpot, averaging 21.4 ppg and shooting .468 (36-of-77) from the field.
CLOSE SHAVES: Cal State Fullerton's two-point win over UC Irvine on Feb. 10 at Titan Gym marked its eighth game decided by three points or fewer, improving the Titans' record to 3-5 in those contests. In all, 17 of Fullerton's 28 contests have been decided by nine points or fewer, including nine of the team's 15 losses. Eight of the Titans' last 10 losses have been by single digits (two of those decided in overtime), including a pair of two-point losses and a one-point defeat.
MY-OH-MYA... WHAT A START: Since first moving into the starting lineup on Jan. 4, freshman Mya Olivier has provided some punch down low for the Titans, averaging 6.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game while shooting just over 55 percent (38-for-69) from the floor. She has scored double figures five times in her 14 starts, including a pair of double-doubles. Over her last six contests, she has hit double figures four times, averaging 9.5 ppg (third on the team) and 6.3 rpg while shooting .611 (22-of-36) from the field.
DOWNRIGHT OFFENSIVE: And we mean that in a good way. The Fullerton offense, which averaged 62.5 ppg last season (third-best in the league), has kept the momentum going in 2009-10, entering the week ranked tied for second in the league in scoring offense at 67.7 ppg (No. XX in the NCAA) bouyed by 13 games of 70 points or more and a season-high 90 points in a win over Sacramento State on Nov. 15. Fullerton's 1,895 points thus far are tied for the second-most in the league, trailing first-place Cal Poly (1,947) by 52 points.
"POINT"-ING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION: Fullerton's 1,895 points this season mark the fifth consecutive year that the Titans have scored more than 1,800 as a team after going seven consecutive seasons under that mark. With its 70 points against Cal Poly last week, Fullerton sclipsed last season's total and stands just 188 points shy of matching the 2006-07 squad which scored 2,083 points. Fullerton has topped 2,000 points in a season only eight times in 40-plus seasons, setting a school record with 2,455 points in 1990-91.
"CHARITY" GROVE: Our apologies to The Doobie Brothers, but we had to tweak the title a bit. Junior Lyndsey Grove is putting together one of the finest free throw shooting performances in Big West Conference history, entering the week shooting 86 percent (101-for-118) from the line to rank second in the Big West behind only UC Davis' Heidi Heintz (.872). Grove's performance at the line this season ranks No. 33 in the NCAA and tops in the school record books, besting Toni Thomas' single-season record of .854 set last season and standing as the eighth-best mark in league history.
OR YOUR POINTS ARE FREEEEE: The Titans, who led the Big West in free throw percentage a season ago, have continued to be one of the most accurate at the line this season, leading the league once again entering the weekend at .747 on the year - six points better than second-place UC Davis (.741). Junior Lyndsey Grove (.856) is second in the conference while sophomore Megan Richardson is sixth in the Big West at .802 (97-for-121). On a national level, the Titans stand No. 28 in the nation as a team in free throw percentage behind Marist's nation-leading 80.9 percent.
IN THE LEAD: Should Cal State Fullerton keep up its prowess at the free throw line this season the Titans will lead the league from the stripe for the second straight year and the third time in the last four seasons. Fullerton shot a school-record .771 as a team in 2008-09 to lead the league and .724 from the line in 2006-07 to stand as the Big West's best. The Titans have led the league in free throw percentage only two other times since 1983-84, shooting .725 in 1990-91 and .714 in 1994-95.
THE FEW, THE PROUD: Senior Jasmine Scott's triple-double against Long Beach State on Feb. 4 puts her in select company as one of only 23 players in the nation this season to accomplish the feat. Louella Tomlinson (6-foot-4) of Saint Mary's and Brittney Griner (6-foot-8) of Baylor lead the nation with three apiece.
NOT IN A GIVING MOOD: Fullerton hasn't been one to just hand the ball over to its opponents this season, committing a Scrooge-esque 15.6 turnovers per game to rank No. 38 in the nation in that category and first in the Big West Conference. The 436 turnovers overall are the fewest in the league entering the week, Fullerton's +2.82 turnover margin (No. 47 in the NCAA) is second in the conference (UC Davis +4.74), and the Titans' 515 turnovers forced are fourth-best in the league.
GIMME A SECOND CHANCE: Fullerton's work on the offensive boards have done just that for its offense this season as the Titans rank atop the league entering the week with 436 offensive rebounds and leads the league averaging 15.57 offensive rebounds per game. Individually, freshman Mya Olivier (4th - 2.44 pg), junior Jenna Breite (6th - 2.3 pg), and senior Jasmine Scott (t9th - 1.93 pg) lead the way as Fullerton is the only school with three players listed among the league's top 10 on the offensive boards.
IT'S A BUMPY ROAD: With the final two regular season contests scheduled to be played on its opponents' home floor, Cal State Fullerton will have to work out some bumps in its game as the Titans have struggled away from home in 2009-10. Fullerton is just 4-9 in true road contests this season (compared to an 8-5 mark at home) and 1-5 in Big West play, averaging just 66.5 ppg and shooting .359 from the floor while allowing opponents to score 73.1 ppg and shoot .432 from the field in those 13 contests. The Titans have lost four of their last five on the road, snapping a four-game skid with their win over Bakersfield on Feb. 17.
TAKING THEIR SWINGS: The Titans' have not been cheated out of their shot attempts this season, averaging a Big West-high 63.57 field goal attempts per game and standing out as one of only two schools to average more than 60 attempts per game entering this week's contests (Cal Poly, 60.11). Fullerton has taken a season-low 42 shots twice this year against Wisconsin (Nov. 29) and Eastern Washington (Dec. 21) but has not taken fewer than 51 shots in the remaining 28 games - including a Big West-high 81 shots at Oregon on Nov. 27 and 80 attempts at Sacramento State on Nov. 15 while also taking 70 or more shots nine times.