Big West Tourney Kicks Off Tonight at Cal Poly
March 8, 2011
FULLERTON, CA -
2011 ampm Big West Conference Women's Basketball Tournament
Tuesday, March 8, 2011 - 7 p.m.
Cal State Fullerton at Cal Poly
Mott Gym (3,032) | San Luis Obispo, CA
Gametracker | Live Audio | Big West TV
OTHER FIRST ROUND GAMES:
No. 5 UC Irvine at No. 4 UC Davis (Gametracker)
No. 7 Pacific at No. 2 UC Santa Barbara (Gametracker)
No. 6 Long Beach State at No. 3 UC Riverside (Live Stats)
TIP-OFF: The Cal State Fullerton women's basketball team (9-20 overall, 5-11 in the Big West Conference) opens its second season on Tuesday (March 8) as the eighth-seeded Titans hit the road to open the 2011 ampm Big West Conference Women's Basketball Tournament in San Luis Obispo against top-seeded Cal Poly at 7 p.m. at Mott Gym.
SAME GREAT TOURNAMENT, NEW EXCITING FORMAT: Under the new format adopted for the 2010-11 season, the first round games will be played on the campus sites of the top four seeds (Cal Poly, UC Santa Barbara, UC Riverside, and UC Davis) with the winners advancing to the semifinal round at the Honda Center in Anaheim on Friday (March 11). The championship game will be played on Saturday afternoon (March 12) at 1 p.m. and televised on Fox Sports Prime Ticket. Complete tournament information can be found on the Big West website at: http://www.bigwest.org/sports/mbball/info/champs/.
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 San Luis Obispo.
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.
HOW'D WE GET HERE: Cal Poly in this year's tournament's top seed after sharing the regular season title with Central Coast rival and second-seeded UC Santa Barbara. The Mustangs edged out the Gauchos for the top spot despite losing their season finale against UCSB by virtue of their 1-1 record against fourth-seeded UC Davis while the Gauchos were swept by the Aggies this season. UC Santa Barbara will open the tournament against No. 7 Pacific, No. 3 UC Riverside hosts No. 6 Long Beach State, and UC Davis opens against No. 5 UC Irvine.
TITANS IN THE TOURNEY: Cal State Fullerton will be making its 10th consecutive appearance in the Big West Conference Tournament and its 21st overall berth since the 1985-86 season. The Titans are 14-21 (.400) in the conference's postseason event, having won at least one game in tournament play in each of the last four seasons and gaining the semifinal round twice in that span. Tuesday will mark Head Coach Marcia Foster's second appearance in the Big West Tournament as a head coach after making three trips as an assistant/associate head coach at Cal Poly from 1999-02 and six times as an assistant coach with the Titans. Tuesday's game against the Mustangs will mark the first meeting between the two schools in the Big West Tournament. The Titans are 1-2 all-time against Long Beach State, 1-6 against UC Santa Barbara, 1-3 against UC Riverside, 2-1 against Pacific, 1-1 against Cal State Northridge, and 3-2 against UC Irvine.
SCOUTING THE MUSTANGS: Cal Poly enters tournament play with a 16-11 overall record and a 12-4 mark in conference play, struggling a bit over the final three weeks of the season, losing three of its last five ... in the Mustangs' only game last week, UC Santa Barbara posted a 78-64 road victory to end Cal Poly's seven-game home winning streak... the Mustangs were 8-3 at home overall this season and 7-1 against conference opponents... Rachel Clancy leads the team offensively, averaging 16.3 ppg to go with 5.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game... she is shooting 45 percent from the field and just under 40 percent from three-point range... Abby Bloetscher is also in double figures, averaging 11.6 ppg and 7.4 rpg while shooting 50 percent from the floor.
WAIT A MINUTE... WEREN'T WE JUST HERE?: It's somewhat of a quick turnaround for the Titans, who return to San Luis Obispo for the second time in 10 days for a third meeting with Cal Poly this season. Mott Gym has not been very hospitable for Cal State Fullerton in recent years as the Titans fell to the Mustangs, 78-58, two weekends ago and they have lost their last six trips to San Luis Obispo dating back to a 64-57 victory in 2005. Overall, Fullerton is just 7-12 on the road against Cal Poly and 3-11 at Mott Gym since the Mustangs became members of the Big West Conference during the 1996-97 season.
SERIES NOTES AND MINUTAE: Despite their recent struggles, Fullerton still leads the all-time series with Cal Poly, 25-17, but were swept in the regular season series by the Mustangs for the first time since 2002.The Titans' last win in the series came in the first meeting between the two schools last season on Feb. 25, 2010, a Fullerton posted a 70-63 victory at Titan Gym.
DON'T GET CAUGHT LOOKING AHEAD: The players and coaches won't do it, so we'll do it for them. A Fullerton victory over Cal Poly would send the Titans up against the highest remaining seed after the semifinalists are reseeded following the first round. Fullerton swept the regular season series with Long Beach State while splitting regular season series with UC Davis, Pacific, and Cal State Northridge.
RICHARDSON, GROVE EARN BIG WEST HONORS: Cal State Fullerton junior Megan Richardson was named to the All-Big West First Team for the second straight season while senior Lyndsey Grove earned her first career all-conference honor as the league office announced its postseason awards on Monday morning.
Richardson and Grove have provided the Titans with a potent 1-2 punch, combining to average 27.7 ppg while standing as the only two Fullerton players to have started all 29 of the team's games this season. Richardson is averaging 14.8 ppg (5th in the league) and is shooting 37 percent from the field, ranking among the league leaders in five different offensive categories. Grove is currently experiencing a career year, averaging a career-best 12.9 ppg while shooting .427 from the floor and also ranking among the league's best in five different categories.
AN HONOR, INDEED: Richardson's first-team nod in 2011 makes her just the fourth Titan in school history to earn a pair of All-Big West First-Team honors in a career, joining Genia Miller (first-team selection from 1988-91), Claudette Jackson (1990-92), and Toni Thomas (2006-08).
NOT ANOTHER BUS RIDE!!!: Bad luck for the Titans that they will have to travel for their opening round game in the ampm Big West Conference Tournament as their hosts this season have been very inhospitable. Fullerton is just 3-13 in true road games this season (2-6 in conference play), averaging just 61.1 ppg and shooting .373 from the field while its opponents have enjoyed the benefits of home court advantage to the tune of 74.7 ppg and .444 shooting from the field. Compare that to what could have been for the Titans, who finished 6-6 at home in 2010-11, averaging 70.7 ppg and shooting .419 from the field while holding opponents to 66.8 ppg and .406 shooting.
SO YOU'RE SAYING THERE'S A CHANCE: Cal State Fullerton, as the eighth seed in this year's conference tournament, will attempt to do something no other school has done in the Big West Tournament - topple a No. 1 seed. According to the Big West Conference office, since seeds were included along with the tournament results beginning with the 1999 event, no other No. 8 seed has defeated a No. 1 seed in the opening round. The last time a No. 8 seed won on the first day of tournament action, however, was in 2009 when eighth-seeded Cal State Northridge upset No. 5-seeded UC Davis, 64-56, in a different tournament format that awarded first-round byes to the tournament's top four seeds.
NEWS AT 11: Despite just five points in last week's regular season finale against UC Davis, 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 1,248 career points, needs just 11 more points to match Marlene Kline (1979-83) for 10th all-time and 43 more points will place the junior into ninth place, passing Andrea Thieme (1995-99).
GROVE MOVES INTO 17TH PLACE: Lyndsey Grove, who became the 20th player to reach 1,000 career points earlier this season against Long Beach State, enters the weekend with 1,083 career points after her 14-point outing against UC Davis to close out the regular season. The performance lept her over both Terri Withers (1981-85) and Amber Pruitt (2002-06) for sole possession of 17th on the school's all-time scoring chart - just 12 points shy of moving past Brenda Martin (1975-79) for 16th all-time. Further, a big game (or games) beginning this week in San Luis Obispo from the Placentia native will rocket her up the charts as 27 more points will jump her past six players into 13th all-time.
RICHIE GOES OUT WITH A BANG: Playing in front of the hometown fans for the final time in her career, senior Ashley Richie went out with a bang in the regular season finale against UC Davis last weekend, matching her season-high with 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting to go with four rebounds and a season-best four steals in 23 minutes. It was the second-straight double-digit scoring performance for the senior (she finished with 10 points a week earlier at Cal Poly on Feb. 24) and the fifth of the season, matching the 2010-11 best of 13 points set at Gonzaga on Dec. 23. For her career, Richie has reached double figures in scoring 35 times - good for fourth among active Titan players.
FINDING OTHER WAYS TO HELP: Richardson was held to just five points on 2-of-13 shooting in the Titans' regular season finale against UC Davis, but the talented junior did her best to find other ways to help her squad, finishing with a career-high five steals on defense and matching a season-high with six assists against the Aggies. It was the eighth time in 29 games this season that Richardson had been held to single digits in the scoring column.
GROVE'S THREE-FOR-ALL: Lyndsey Grove has been the most accurate Titan from beyond the arc this season, hitting 47-of-118 (.398) to stand third in the league in three-point percentage, tied for eighth in three-pointers made per game (1.62), and tied for sxith over with her 47 makes. That single-season total also ranks among the best in school history, standing ninth all-time in a season entering this week.
NINE IS FINE, BUT TITANS WANT 10 AGAIN: Last week, UC Davis once again 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.
MAYBE WE NEED MORE GAMES: Cal State Fullerton's loss to UC Davis last week marked the sixth time this season that the Titans have suffered defeat during a week in which they play only once. Fullerton, which fell to the Aggies by the score of 73-58, also lost its first five single-game weeks this season by an average of 28.6 ppg 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, Cal State Northridge (L, 71-65) on Feb. 12, and Cal Poly on Feb. 24 (L, 78-58) - all five of those games coming on the road.
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 121 career appearances) beat teammate Lyndsey Grove to the mark as Grove stands tied for third with 118 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.
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 2.52 bpg entering the week), but this year's Titans squad has held its own compared to recent Fullerton teams. The 73 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 27 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) in 2007-08 and her 27 swats, which rank eighth all-time in a single season, are the most 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. 19 in the nation in free throw percentage, hitting .757 from the line thus far this season - 11 points better than second place Cal Poly (.746) - led by Megan Richardson's (.833) and Lyndsey Grove's (.769) stellar seasons from the line which stand 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.
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 216 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 301 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.
"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 against Pacific on Feb. 19, 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.
JINX? WHAT JINX?: Well, one out of two ain't bad. 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. Last week, someone's ears were perked as Richie's streak was ended after she finished 1-of-2 from the line against UC Davis, ending her streak at 12 after missing the first of two free throws four minutes in to the game. Richardson's streak, however, is still alive after being held without a free throw against the Aggies for the second consecutive game.
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.