March 2, 2011
FULLERTON, CA -
TIP-OFF: With home court advantage already decided for next week's ampm Big West Conference Tournament, the battle for seeding and the four remaining tournament berths comes down to the final week. The Cal State Fullerton women's basketball team (9-19 overall, 5-10 in the Big West Conference) closes out its regular season with just one game on Saturday afternoon, hosting fourth-place UC Davis at 3 p.m. in Titan Gym. The Titans' senior class of Ashley Richie, Katie Avila, Lyndsey Grove, and Jenna Breite will be honored prior to tip-off.
BE A FOLLOWER: Fans can keep up with the latest in Titans athletics by following us on Facebook (CSUF Athletics), Twitter (@CSUFAthletics) and Vimeo.com (vimeo.com/fullertontitans). In addition, the women's basketball team has established its own official Facebook fan page (search for Cal State Fullerton Women's Basketball).
CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? GOOD!: Thanks to a partnership with Arizona-based Stretch Internet, select Cal State Fullerton women's basketball contests will be broadcast live over the Internet at FullertonTitans.com. To access the links, click on the headphones icon in the upper right-hand corner of FullertonTitans.com. Patrick Alog will have the call live from Titan Gym.
I SEE YOU: For the fifth consecutive season, live streaming video for all of Cal State Fullerton's home regular season contests and selected road games will be available (on a subscription basis) live over the Internet courtesy the Big West TV platform. For a monthly 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 BigWest.org/TV. Live video will be available for this weekend's game.
I NEED STATS, STAT!: For the second consecutive season, Cal State Fullerton men's and women's basketball will feature live stats via CBS College Sports' Gametracker interface for all of the Titans' home games as well as select road contests. Links will be available on both the men's and women's basketball schedule pages at FullertonTitans.com.
THE BIG (WEST) PICTURE: The bottom five teams in the standings this week are separated by a total of three games, while the seventh- through ninth-place teams are just a game apart as they battle to not be the odd-team out. Cal Poly, UC Santa Barbara, UC Riverside, and UC Davis have all locked in home court advantage and await their first round match-ups. The Titans currently hold on to seventh place in the standings, one-half game ahead of Cal State Northridge in eighth and a game ahead of Pacific in ninth, but could finish as high as sixth or be left out of the event entirely depending on results of the other conference matches this week.
UC DAVIS BRIEFLY: The Aggies enter the weekend with the best overall record in the Big West Conference at 19-8, but are just 8-6 in league play for fourth place... UC Davis, which has already clinched home-court advantage for the ampm Big West Tournament and could finish as high as third place with a pair of wins and two losses by UC Riverside, has struggled a bit as of late, losing three of its last five, including a split last weekend against the Highlanders (L, 72-64) and UC Irvine (W, 83-67)... Paige Mintun and Vicky Deely are both in double figures offensively, averaging 14.0 ppg and 11.6 ppg, respectively, and shooting better than 40 percent as well at 46 and 47 percent, respectively... one of the top offenses in the league, the Aggies are averaging 70.0 ppg as a team and shooting just under 42 percent from the floor while holding opponents to just 61.7 ppg and 41.5 percent shooting from the field.
SERIES NOTES: With its win earlier in the year, Cal State Fullerton took the lead in the all-time series with UC Davis, 7-6, as the two programs have alternated wins and losses in each of the last five meetings... the Titans are 3-3 all-time against the Aggies at home, winning the last meeting in Titan Gym, 68-57, last season... Since UC Davis joined the Big West Conference, the Aggies have won four of the seven meetings... Fullerton's two-point win earlier in the season marked the smallest margin of victory for either team in the history of the series and the first in single digits since the Titans' nine-point, 62-53, win in 2007.
LAST MEETING - TITANS EDGE AGS: Lauren Chow's jumper with 41 seconds remaining gave the Titans the lead for good and Lyndsey Grove led four starters in double figures as Fullerton rallied and held on for a 58-56 win over UC Davis in the Big West opener for both teams at The Pavilion on Dec. 31. The win snapped a 13-game home winning streak for the Aggies and ended a six-game road skid for Fullerton. Fullerton rallied back from a four-point deficit with just 1:25 remaining in the game after UC Davis came back from 10 points down in the second half to grab its first lead of the game with four minutes to play. Grove drained a three-pointer out of a timeout and Chow's jumper off an Aggies' miss regained the lead for the Titans, 55-54, with 41 seconds to play. Following a turnover, Chow sank a pair from the free throw line to extend Fullerton's lead to three points, but Paige Mintun scored inside after two offensive rebounds, cutting the deficit back to a single point with 11 seconds to play. Forced to foul, UC Davis sent junior Megan Richardson to the line off the inbounds pass, but she could convert only 1-of-2, setting up the final play. The Aggies came back down the court with at least a chance to tie, but Hana Asano's contested lay-up bounced out and the Titans ran out the clock to secure victory.
NINE IS FINE, BUT TITANS WANT 10 AGAIN: Last week, Cal Poly denied the Titans their 10th victory of the season - leaving Fullerton still one win shy of extending their streak of seasons with double-digit victories to six straight. A 10th victory this season would give the Titans' their longest such streak since Fullerton went 12 consecutive seasons with 10-or-more victories from 1980-92.
SENIOR DAY SUCCESS: The Titans have won seven of their last eight "Senior Night" events, avenging a loss in 2009 to UC Riverside with a victory over first-place Cal Poly last season. Fullerton and UC Davis have met on "Senior Night" on one other occasion as the Titans posted a 62-53 win over the Aggies in 2007. Overall, the Titans are 26-15 in their final regular season home contest dating back to the 1969-70 season.
MAYBE WE NEED MORE GAMES: Cal State Fullerton's loss to Cal Poly last week marked the fifth time this season that the Titans have suffered defeat during a week in which they play only once. Fullerton, which fell to the Mustangs by the score of 78-58, also lost its first four single-game weeks this season by an average of 30.8 points to the likes of Bowling Green (L, 91-51) on Dec. 4, Pepperdine (L, 80-52) on Dec. 18, Gonzaga (L, 101-52) on Dec. 23, and Cal State Northridge (L, 71-65) on Feb. 12 - all four also on the road. Bad news for the Titans? Their final regular season game of the season - this week at home against UC Davis - is another one-game week.
RICHIE MAKES HISTORY: Senior Ashley Richie made history against Pacific on Feb. 19, becoming the school's all-time leader in games played by appearing in her 119th career contest, breaking a record that had stood since 1991. Richie surpassed Genia Miller's mark of 118 career games played from 1987-91 with one more regular season contests remaining and any possible Big West Tournament or postseason games ahead. Richie (now at 120 career appearances) beat teammate Lyndsey Grove to the mark as Grove stands tied for third with 117 career games played after becoming a member of a select group of 33 players in the history of the program to have appeared in 100 career games.
JINX? WHAT JINX?: What, us worry? After merely mentioning Megan Richardson's streak of 20 consecutive free throws and Ashley Richie's 12 consecutive makes, you would have thought we were dangerously tempting fate. Well someone must have not been listening as both went without an attempt at Cal Poly last week to prolong their streaks heading into the final weekend of the regular season. Richardson, who has been perfect from the line 14 times this season, has the longest active streak from the line of any Titan, ahead of Richie's string. Let's hope the fates aren't listening again.
TURNOVER HAPPY: According to a list compiled by Kentucky Associate Media Relations Director Susan Lax, the Cal State Fullerton defense enters the final week of the regular season with 215 consecutive games of double-digit turnovers forced - the second-longest active streak in the nation (among those schools that replied) behind only East Tennessee State and its 299-straight games entering this week. The last time a Titan opponent had fewer than 10 turnovers was in 2004 when Idaho finished with just nine miscues en route to a 78-69 victory on Feb. 19.
NEWS AT 11: Despite just four points last week at Cal Poly, junior Megan Richardson continued to move ever closer to the top 10 on the school's all-time scoring list. Richardson, who enters this week's contests with 1,243 career points, needs just 16 more points to match Marlene Kline (1979-83) for 10th all-time and 48 more points will place the junior into ninth place, passing Andrea Thieme (1995-99).
ELSEWHERE ON THE SCORING LIST: Lyndsey Grove, who became the 20th player to reach 1,000 career points earlier this season against Long Beach State, enters the weekend with 1,069 career points - just 10 points away from jumping both Terri Withers (1981-85) and Amber Pruitt (2002-06) for 17th on the school's all-time scoring chart - while 41 more points will jump her past six players into 13th all-time. Lauren Chow is also closing in on the 1,000-point mark, needing just 61 points to become the 21st player to make the milestone in school history.
CHOW IN A GROOVE: Junior Lauren Chow has struggled a bit offensively coming off a serious injury that took all but seven games away from her in 2009-10 but, as this season winds down, the junior has shown flashes returning to form, scoring in double figures in five of the team's last seven contests and averaging 11.0 ppg in that span compared to just 7.2 ppg overall entering this week. Chow scored a team-high 14 points last week against Cal Poly and is averaging 14.0 ppg over her last three games while shooting 42 percent (14-for-33) from the field after being held to just one point on 0-of-13 from the floor in her previous two contests. Chow has 10 double-digit scoring performances this season, including a season-high of 20 points against Long Beach State on Jan. 29 at Titan Gym.
KRYPTONITE: Cal Poly's defense proved to be kryptonite to Fullerton's dynamic duo of Megan Richardson and Lyndsey Grove as they were held to a combined five points on just 2-of-18 shooting from the field in the Titans' loss. It was the third time this season that the pair has been held to single-digit points in the same game as Fullerton has struggled to an 0-3 mark in those contests against Pepperdine, UC Santa Barbara, and Cal Poly - all three of those games on the road - while Richardson (5.0 ppg) and Grove (3.7 ppg) have been held to a combined 26 points while shooting .179 (10-for-56) from the floor.
BLOCKED FROM BLOCKS: Cal State Fullerton did not tally a blocked shot at Cal Poly last weekend, ending a streak of 10 consecutive games with a swat dating back to the first meeting with the Mustangs on Jan. 13 at Titan Gym. Overall, it was only the third time this season that the Titans' defense was not credited with a blocked shot, the first coming at Eastern Washington in the season opener on Nov. 13 in Cheney, WA.
TITANS REMAIN SIXTH AMONG BIG WEST TEAMS IN LATEST RPI: It was a big week for the Big West in the latest RPI released on Feb. 28, as six of the league's nine teams gained spots in the rankings this week. Cal State Fullerton remained sixth among league schools at No. 282, falling two spots from a week ago and standing as one of only two teams to drop this week (UC Santa Barbara fell one spot while Cal State Northridge went unchanged). UC Riverside is the highest-ranked Big West team according to the RPI, entering the week at No. 110 (up seven spots), and closely followed by the Gauchos (No. 112) and UC Davis (No. 120). UC Irvine (No. 170) and Cal Poly (No. 175) follow in fourth and fifth with the Titans, Pacific (No. 288), Long Beach State (No. 300), and the Matadors (No. 312) rounding out the conference.
YOU'RE INVITED TO THE BLOCK PARTY: Cal State Fullerton isn't one of the conference's best teams when it comes to blocked shots (ranking 8th at 2.57 bpg entering the week), but this year's Titans squad has held its own compared to recent Fullerton teams. The 72 blocked shots this season rank eighth on the school's single-season list and are the most for a Titans' squad since the 1998-99 team finished with 80 blocks. Only five teams in school history have finished with 100 blocks in a season, the last coming in 1990-91 when Fullerton set a school record with 171 blocks that year - including a Big West record 146 blocks from all-time great Genia Miller.
BUSHONG BLOCKS BUNCHES: Sophomore Lauren Bushong enters the week with 26 blocked shots and ranks 10th in the Big West Conference with 0.96 bpg. She is the first Titan with double figures in the category since Toni Thomas (22 blocks) in 2007-08 and her 26 swats are the most for a Titan since Rochelle Ortega (2001-04) finished with the same number following the 2003-04 campaign and one more block this season will give Bushong the most blocks in a season since Dee Braxton swatted 39 shots in 1996-97.
POINTS... FOR FREEEEEEEEE!: Cal State Fullerton continues to lead the Big West Conference and rank No. 18 in the nation in free throw percentage, hitting .758 from the line thus far this season - 17 points better than second place Cal Poly (.741) - led by Megan Richardson's (.833) and Lyndsey Grove's (.769) stellar seasons from the line which stand tied for fourth and eighth in the league, respectively. Should the Titans remain atop the category at the end of the year, Fullerton will become only the second school in the history of the Big West Conference to lead the league in free throw percentage in three consecutive seasons joining the 1991-94 Hawaii squads. Overall, the Titans have led the Big West in free throw percentage five times, including three of the last four seasons.
"400" - THE SEQUEL TO "300": Earlier this season, junior Megan Richardson became part of a select group in Cal State Fullerton women's basketball history, becoming the 11th player in the history of the program to have scored 300 points in three consecutive seasons. Now, with her 29-point effort last weekend against Pacific, Richardson ascended to rarer air, becoming only the ninth player in school history to reach 400 points in back-to-back seasons - the first since Toni Thomas in 2006-08. Richardson joined Nancy Dunkle (1975-77), Claudette Jackson (1990-92), Cheryl Peterson (1979-81), Joey Ray (1990-92), and Thomas among the group with back-to-back seasons while Shayla Bradshaw (1993-96), Genia Miller (1988-91), and Nancy Ratliff (1980-83) accomplished the feat in three consecutive seasons.
WHAT'S YOUR LINE?: Fullerton has shot 70 percent or better from the line in 23 of its 28 games and has hit 80 percent or better in 9 of its last 14 contests.
THIS IS GETTING TO BE A HABIT: Richardson logged her ninth game of 20 points or more (and her third in the last six games) this season against Pacific on Feb. 19, giving her 20 such offensive outbursts for her career in 90 career games, meaning she reached 20 points or more almost 23 percent of the time. In all, Richardson can be counted on to give you a double-digit scoring performance almost every night, leading all active Titans with 63 games of 10 points or more - or 70 percent of the time.
QUITE A 1-2 PUNCH: The Titans scoring duo of junior Megan Richardson (15.2 ppg) and senior Lyndsey Grove (12.9 ppg) is among one of the Big West Conference's top 1-2 scoring punches this season, accounting for 43 percent of the team's scoring (786 of 1,830 total points) and combining to average 28.1 ppg. They are one of the hardest working duo's in the Big West when it comes to sharing the scoring load, standing behind only UC Irvine's Mikah Maly-Karros and Jade Smith-Williams (who have combined to score 845 of the team's 1,904 points and are averaging a combined 34.4 ppg). Percentage-wise, the Titans' tandem ranks third in the conference behind the UCI duo, which contributes 44.4% of the team's scoring, and Cal State Northridge's Jasmine Erving and Violet Alama, who have combined to average 26.1 ppg and contribute 44.8% of the Matadors' 1,626 points this year.
MILESTONE FOR TWO: Thanks to Lyndsey Grove's performance against Long Beach State on Jan. 29, the Titans had two players reach the 1,000 career point plateau for the first time since 1991-92 when Claudette Jackson (1990-92) and Joey Ray (1988-92) accomplished the feat. Aside from those pairs, only two other duos and a scoring trio have reached the 1,000-point mark in the same season: Genia Miller and Jill Matyuch in 1989-90, Nancy Ratliff and Marlene Kline in 1981-82, and Robin Holmes, Meg Gallagher, and Terri Withers in 1984-85.
THIRTY-SOMETHING: For Megan Richardson, 33 is the new 20. The Manhattan Beach native went off for a career-high 33 points in a loss to league-leading Cal Poly on Jan. 13, becoming the first Titan since Toni Thomas in 2007 (32 points in a loss at UTEP) to reach the 30-point plateau and accomplishing the feat for the 75th time in school history. Richardson, whose previous career high was 29 points set last season as a sophomore against San Jose State, scored the most points in a single game by a Fullerton player since Natascha Stokely netted 36 points against Long Beach State on Feb. 22, 1998.
PERFECT DAY: En route to her highest scoring output of the season against Long Beach State on Jan. 29, junior Lauren Chow added her name to yet another category in the school's record book with her perfect showing from behind the arc. The La Palma native hit 6-of-6 from three-point range to match the school record for three-point percentage set by Shayla Bradshaw in 1993 at UC Irvine in a 96-91 victory. It added to a perfect day for Chow, who finished 7-for-7 from the field against the 49ers, and completed an almost perfect week for the junior, who missed only two shots in two games, going 10-of-12 (.833) from the floor and 8-of-10 (.800) from three-point range while averaging 14.0 ppg off the bench.