Broncos, Bruins Open Titans' 2008-09 Season

Nov. 12, 2008

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FULLERTON, CA - The Cal State Fullerton women's basketball team (0-0 overall) opens its 2008-09 regular season this weekend with a pair of contests, beginning on Friday night at Titan Gym. The Titans host Santa Clara in their season opener at 7 p.m. on their home court before heading off on the road to take on UCLA on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. at historic Pauley Pavilion.

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?: Both of this weekend's contest with the Broncos and Bruins will be broadcast live over the Internet at www.FullertonTitans.com.

SCOUTING THE BRONCOS: Santa Clara is coming off a season in which the Broncos finished 20-11 overall and 8-6 in the West Coast Conference for second place... Santa Clara returns two starters and six letter winners off of last season's squad and is under the direction of first-year head coach Jennifer Mountain, who spent the last seven years as the top assistant coach at conference rival Gonzaga... Santa Clara defeated the Melbourne Roos in its only exhibition game of the year, 60-42, on Tuesday... Friday will also be the season opener for the Broncos... senior Elizabeth Doran is the leading returning scorer at 9.9 ppg.

SERIES VS. SANTA CLARA: The Titans lead the all-time series with the Broncos, 4-3, but has lost the last three straight in the series, including an 88-38 loss in the Bay Area last season... Santa Clara has won the last three in the series by an average of 33.7 points... Fullerton won the first four games in the series from 1978-81, including a 44-point victory in the first meeting on Dec. 29, 1978... the Titans are 1-1 all-time against the Broncos at home.

LAST TIME OUT VS. SANTA CLARA: The Broncos had four players in double figures , led by 19 points apiece from Chandice Cronk and Elizabeth Doran, and held the Titans to just 26 percent shooting in an 88-38 victory over Cal State Fullerton. Ashley Richie led the Titans with 15 points as Fullerton was held to its lowest point total since scoring 36 points in a loss to San Diego in 2006. Toni Thomas, who entered the game having scored in double figures in 31 straight contests, finished with only eight points on the night in 25 minutes.

SCOUTING THE BRUINS: UCLA is off to a quick start under first-year head coach Nikki Caldwell, winning both of its exhibitions against Love & Basketball (86-80) and Team SRP (107-63)... Sunday's game against the Titans will be the season opener for the Bruins... UCLA returns four starters and 10 letter winners from last year's team that finished 16-15 overall and 10-8 in the Pacific-10 Conference to tie for fourth place... Nina Earl and Doreena Campbell are the team's top returning scorers at 8.7 ppg while Campbell leads the way on the boards with 4.2 rpg.

SERIES VS. UCLA: The Bruins lead the all-time series with the Titans, 24-18, winning the last four straight games... the two teams last met in 2006 with UCLA posting an 84-74 victory over Fullerton at Titan Gym... The Titans' last win in the series came in 1990 as Fullerton defeated UCLA, 78-63, at home.

LAST TIME OUT VS. UCLA: Toni Thomas scored a game-high 25 points and Charlee Underwood added 24 more as the visiting Bruins, making their first appearance in Fullerton since 1999, held off the hard-charging Titans, who trailed by only a single point with just under five minutes gone in the second half. All five UCLA starters were in double figures, led by Lindsay Pluimer's 19 points and six rebounds. The Bruins received big second halves from Noelle Quinn and Amanda Livingston, who scored 25 of their combined 29 points in the second period and UCLA hit 11-of-14 from the line in the final three minutes to ice the game.

FOR OPENERS: Fullerton is 23-16 all-time in season-openers, including a 13-5 mark when opening the year on its home floor... the Titans have lost four of their last five season openers, with the only victory in that stretch coming on the road against San Jose State in 2006 (69-52)... Cal State Fullerton hasn't opened at home since the 2003-04 season (an 81-43 loss to Fordham)... The Titans have opened a season at home only four times in the last 11 years, but has gone 3-1 in those four games with wins over UNLV (1997-98), Oakland (1998-99), and Centenary (2002-03).

AND THE NEWEST MEMBER OF THE WCC...: Cal State Fullerton might want to think about applying for some sort of membership in the West Coast Conference in 2008-09 as the Titans are scheduled to face five of the WCC's eight league members in non-conference play. Fullerton will play every WCC school but Portland, Gonzaga, and Loyola Marymount, including three-straight games against WCC foes from Dec. 10-20. The Titans are 30-43 all time against the West Coast Conference and have lost five straight against that league's members dating back to a 72-69 victory over San Francisco on Dec. 18, 2006.

RUNNIN' WITH THE "PAC": Fullerton is 56-70 all-time against the Pacific-10 Conference, but has struggled against the league recently, losing its last 15 straight games against the conference. The Titans haven't posted a win over a Pac-10 school since Dec. 21, 1990, when they defeated USC, 61-55, on the road.

PRICKLY PAULEY PAVILION: Despite the two schools being separated by only a little more than 40 miles, Cal State Fullerton will be making only its 13th appearance at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion in the 42-game history of the series and the first since 1998 (a 94-64 Bruins victory). The Titans are just 3-9 on the historic floor at Pauley Pavilion, last posting a 65-55 win on Jan. 16, 1985. Three of the last four road meetings between the two schools have been played at the Wooden Center on the Westwood campus, with the Bruins winning all three contests in 1998 (94-64), 1989 (84-75), and 1986 (79-55). Fullerton's last appearance at Pauley Pavilion came on Dec. 2, 1992, a 99-66 victory for UCLA.

TITANS TUNE UP WITH EXHIBITION VICTORY: Sophomore Ashley Richie scored a game-high 17 points and the Titans finished with five players in double figures as Fullerton defeated Cal State Los Angeles, 87-49, in an exhibition contest on Nov. 8.

Richie hit on 6-of-12 from the field and added a game-high six steals in the win. She was joined in double figures by senior Toni Thomas (10 points, 11 rebounds), junior Jasmine Scott (14 points), Daviyonne Weathersby (12 points) and sophomore Lyndsey Grove (10 points).

Fullerton scored the game's first 15 points and led by as many as 41 points with just over three minutes left in the game. The Titans forced 37 turnovers in the game, leading to 53 points in Fullerton's favor.

TITANS AT-A-GLANCE: Cal State Fullerton returns a veteran group to the court for the 2008-09 campaign, as the Titans welcome back nine letter winners, four starters, a trio of All-Big West Conference honorees, and their top five scorers from a season ago that saw them finish 11-19 overall and 8-8 in conference play.

TITANS PICKED IN MIDDLE OF BIG WEST RACE: Cal State Fullerton was picked to finish in the middle of the pack in the Big West Conference for the upcoming 2008-09 season, selected to finish fourth by the media and sixth by the league's coaches at the conference's annual media day event at the Irvine Hilton.

The Titans received 34 points to finish one point back of Cal Poly in the coaches poll while the media gave Fullerton 56 points to finish five points ahead of Long Beach State.

UC Riverside was the unanimous choice to win the conference, picked by both the coaches and the media to take home the title. UC Santa Barbara (2nd coaches, tied for second media) and UC Davis (third coaches, tied for second media) followed in the top three with the remaining squads a jumble according to the two polls.

THOMAS NAMED PRESEASON PERFORMER: Cal State Fullerton senior forward Toni Thomas was named to the Big West preseason all-conference team during the league's media day for the second straight season, joining UC Davis' Haylee Donaghe, Long Beach State's Karina Figueroa, UC Santa Barbara's Jenna Green, and the UC Riverside duo of Seyram Gbewonyo and Kemie Nkele.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TITANS!: The Cal State Fullerton women's basketball program will be celebrating a couple of birthday's in the 2008-09 season. This year marks the 40th year at the varsity level for the Titans, who stand just nine wins shy of 500 victories in the history of the program. The 2008-09 season also marks the 20th anniversary of Cal State Fullerton's first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament, as the 1988-89 team finished 21-9 overall and 12-6 in the Big West to earn an at-large berth.

THOMAS SETS HER SIGHTS ON RARE DOUBLE: Thomas will set her sights on one of the school's most storied milestones as she needs just 574 points and 303 rebounds to become only the second basketball player (male or female) at Cal State Fullerton to score 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in a career. Only former All-American Eugenia Miller-Rycraw (2,415 points and 1,162 rebounds) has accomplished that feat at Fullerton and only four others in Big West history have reached those totals.

MORE SCORING: Should she reach 2,000 points for her career, Thomas would be only the sixth player to reach that plateau in the history of the conference and the first since Idaho's Alli Nieman in 2000.

THOMAS LOOKING FOR THREE STRAIGHT: Should Thomas lead the league in scoring for a third straight year, she would be the first to accomplish that feat in the history of the conference. Last season, she became the fifth player to lead the league in scoring twice in a career and the fourth to do it in back-to-back seasons.

HOME SWEET HOME: After a year that saw the Titans live out of their suitcases to start the season, Fullerton will have the luxury of playing close to home for the majority of its non-conference schedule. Eight of the Titans' first 13 games will be contested at Titan Gym, a venue where Fullerton has posted a 25-13 (.658) record over the last three seasons. It is the most wins at home in a three-year stretch since Fullerton went 27-16 (.628) from 1989-92 and the best winning percentage in a three-year span since the Titans were 31-9 (.775) from 1988-91.

TITANS LOOK TO TAME TOUGH SCHEDULE: The Cal State Fullerton schedule for the 2008-09 season features four teams that reached the NCAA Tournament a season ago and a pair of teams listed among the nation's best to start the season. UC Santa Barbara (Jan. 10 and Feb. 5) and San Diego (Dec. 20) each gained the first round last season, Georgia (Nov. 28 in Las Vegas, NV) reached the second round, and Vanderbilt (Dec. 4) was a "Sweet 16" participant. In the preseason Associated Press poll, The Commodores are ranked No. 12 while the Lady Bulldogs are receiving votes.

"I WISH THEY ALL COULD BE...": Cal State Fullerton will enter the 2008-09 season as the only Big West Conference school to feature a roster comprised entirely of players from the "Golden State."

ROOKIE SUCCESS: If past performance is any indicator, Fullerton's freshman trio of Megan Richardson, Nneamaka Anyanwu, and Jahne Williams are due for big years. Last season, both Lauren Chow and Ashley Richie earned spots on the Big West All-Freshman squad, giving the Titans 13 all-rookie team members in the history of the program - the second most in conference history behind only UC Santa Barbara's 19 All-Freshman Team members. Chow's Freshman of the Year award was also the fourth for a Titan in the Big West (and the second in the last three years), matching the Gauchos for the most in league history.

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