Tourney Time! Road to NCAA Bid Begins This Week in Anaheim with Big West Tournament

March 8, 2006

FULLERTON, CA -

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TIP-OFF
The road to the NCAA Tournament begins on Wednesday at the "Happiest Place on Earth" - well, at least across the street from it - as the No. 3-seeded Cal State Fullerton women's basketball team (11-16 overall, 7-7 in the Big West Conference for third place) opens play at the 2006 Big West Women's Basketball Tournament at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif. Thanks to its seediing, Fullerton received a first round bye and will meet the lowest remaining seed on Thursday (March 9) at noon after Wednesday's first round contests.

JEREMIAH MATCHES MOORE'S RECORD
Cal State Fullerton Head Coach Dr. Maryalyce Jeremiah reached her second coaching milestone of the season last Thursday at UC Davis as she recorded her 140th win as the Titans' head coach - matching Hall of Famer Billie Moore as the school's all-time winningest coach. Jeremiah improved her all-time Cal State Fullerton record to 140-149 (.484) matching the win total of Moore, who won 140 of her 155 games as head coach of the Titans from 1969-77.

THOMAS NAMED LEAGUE'S TOP ROOKIE
Cal State Fullerton freshman forward Toni Thomas became the third Titan - and the first Fullerton rookie in 13 years - to be named the Big West Conference Freshman of the Year as the league released its postseason honor roll on Monday. Thomas, who was also named to the all-conference second team, ranked among the league's best in scoring (9th) at 12.2 points per game, rebounding (5th) at 7.0 rebounds per game, field goal percentage (5th) at .476, and free throw percentage (3rd) at .788.

PRUITT EARNS FIRST ALL-CONFERENCE HONOR
Cal State Fullerton senior forward Amber Pruitt earned her first career all-conference honor when the league announced its honor roll on Monday, earning a spot on the All-Big West Second Team after being named the conference's "Sixth Woman of the Year" as a junior. Pruitt ranked in the top 10 in scoring (10th) at 12.1 ppg, rebounding (t9th) at 6.2 rpg, field goal percentage (9th) at .422, and defensive rebounds (6th) at 4.48 per game.

ANOTHER HONORS FIRST
In 2005-06, Cal State Fullerton had two players earn all-conference honors in the same season for the first time since Dee Braxton (First Team) and Andrea Thieme (2nd Team) accomplished the feat in 1996-97.

TITANS AT THE BIG WEST TOURNAMENT
Cal State Fullerton is 8-16 (.333) all-time in the Big West Tournament and is 1-5 in its last six trips dating back to the 2000-01 season. The Titans defeated UC Riverside, 71-56, in the first round in 2004, snapping a five-game losing streak in the conference's postseason event.

THE WINS ARE COMING
The 11 overall wins for the Titans were the most in a single season for the women's basketball program since the 1994-95 squad went 14-15 overall. In addition, the third place finish in the Big West standings for Cal State Fullerton is the highest non-divisional finish for a Titans' team since the NCAA Tournament-bound 1990-91 team finished third with a 14-4 mark.

STREAK SNAPPED
Fullerton's .500 record in conference play snapped a streak of 14 consecutive losing conference records for the Titans dating back to the 1990-91 squad's 14-4 record in league action.

LIVE AND IN LIVING COLOR...
Live audio for all of Cal State Fullerton men's and women's basketball games can be heard over the Internet via www.FullertonTitans.com. Thanks to a partnership between the Big West Conference and CSTV, all the games (with the exception of the championship game) from the Anaheim Convention Center will be webcast live as part of the March Madness Video Streaming Package over the Internet by visiting www.bigwest.org/tv. Fans who joined back in January for the \$24.95 fee can catch all the action as part of their existing package. New subscribers can join for only \$9.95 to see all 10 men's and women's games leading up to the championship games.

SERIES NOTES
Cal State Fullerton holds winning records in the all-time series with Cal Poly (21-11 since 1969-70), Cal State Northridge (26-4 since 1970-71) and UC Riverside (16-11 since 1969-70)... Long Beach State (24-56 since 1969-70), Pacific (15-29 since 1981-82), UC Irvine (23-28 since 1980-81), and UC Santa Barbara (22-32 since 1970-71) all hold the advantage over the Titans in the all-time series.

Toni Thomas: DOUBLE-DOUBLE MACHINE
Cal State Fullerton freshman Toni Thomas tallied her fourth double-double in her last five games against UC Davis last week, giving her seven for the season and placing her second amongst her peers in the Big West Conference. Thomas narrowly missed the fifth double-double in that streak, which began on Feb. 16 at Pacific, by only two rebounds at home against Cal Poly on Feb. 25.

THOMAS MAKES IT FIVE-STRAIGHT TO END REGULAR SEASON
Thomas may just be one of the hottest players around entering this week's Big West Conference Tournament, scoring in double figures in each of her last five games to end the regular season. Beginning with her 12-point, 17-rebound effort against Pacific on Feb. 16, Thomas has averaged 16.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game during her most recent streak while shooting .541 (33-of-61) from the floor and .789 (15-of-19) from the free throw line.

QUARTET LIGHTING UP CONFERENCE FOES
Cal State Fullerton may just have one of the top offensive lineups in the Big West Conference this season - especially when it comes to facing conference opponents. The Titans, who rank third in the league in scoring in conference games, have four of the top 15 scorers in the league while no other school has more than two. Junior Charlee Underwood ranks fifth in the league at 13.8 ppg, freshman Toni Thomas ranks seventh (13.7 ppg), junior Andrea Adams ranks 10th (12.8 ppg), and senior Amber Pruitt ranks 12th (12.1 ppg).

POTENT OFFENSIVE TRIO
Fullerton's offensive trio of Charlee Underwood, Toni Thomas, and Amber Pruitt have all surpassed 300 points this season - marking the first time since the 1996-97 season that the Titans have had three, 300-point scorers in a single-season. The trio has made up just over half (53.4 percent) of Fullerton's offensive production in 2005-06 (with at least one more game remaining), much like the trio of Andrea Thieme (385 points), Dee Braxton (331), and Kris Sigg (330) made up 57 percent of Fullerton's offense nine years ago.

THOMAS CONTINUES TO BE OFFENSIVE
The reports of freshman Toni Thomas' slipping in the Big West offensive rebound category are "greatly exaggerated." Last week's notes had Thomas in second place behind Long Beach State's Jayme Connors in the category based on the stats in hand, but the Big West website had Thomas comfortably in first place. Well, neither matters now as both the paper and website stats have Thomas atop the category at 3.70 offensive rebounds per game with Connors trailing in second place at 3.56 per game. Of her 189 rebounds this season, 100 came on the offensive end (53 percent).

WELCOME BACK CHARLEE!
After missing two games at Pacific and Cal State Northridge, Fullerton junior Charlee Underwood has returned to the lineup in a big way, reaching the 20-point plateau for the fourth time in her first game back against UC Santa Barbara with 21 points and averaging better than 17 points per contest in her last three games to close out the season with the Titans going 2-1 in those games.

ADAMS STREAK COMES TO AN END
Junior guard Andrea Adams watched as her six-game double-digit scoring streak came to an end against UC Davis in Northern California last week as the Aggies held the junior sharpshooter to just three points on 1-of-9 shooting in Fullerton's five-point victory. Until that point, she had been averaging 18.5 ppg while shooting 41 percent (33-for-80) from the field while upping her season scoring average almost three points per game.

CAN'T WE ALWAYS PLAY AT HOME?
Cal State Fullerton finished the season 9-3 at Titan Gym - the most home victories for the Titans since the 1990-91 squad went 12-1 and secured the first winning record at Titan Gym for the women's basketball team since the 1997-98 team went 7-5.

GETTING THE FREE ONES
Cal State Fullerton continues to lead the Big West Conference in free throw percentage, hitting on just under 71 percent (.705) of its shots from the charity stripe this season. Should the Titans keep this pace up, the 2005-06 squad would post the fifth-highest percentage since the 1980-81 season and the best since leading the league in the category in 1994-95 (.717). The Titans have led the conference in free throw percentage only twice since joining the league - the first coming during its NCAA Tournament season of 1990-91 when Cal State Fullerton led the conference with a .725 free throw percentage.