Nov. 20, 2006
FULLERTON, CA - The Cal State Fullerton women's basketball team (1-3 overall in 2006-07) closes out its season-opening six-game road trip this weekend as the Titans travel to Bozeman, Mont., for the Wingate Inn Thanksgiving Classic hosted by Montana State.
Fullerton will meet the host Bobcats in the second game of the tournament on Friday night (Nov. 24) at 6:30 p.m. (PT) following the Texas-Arlington/North Dakota State clash at 4 p.m. (PT). Day two action on Saturday (Nov. 25) will feature the third-place game at 4 p.m. (PT) with the championship game to follow at 6:30 p.m. (PT).
Cal State Fullerton's contest against Montana State can be heard live over the Internet by visiting the Bobcats' women's basketball page at www.msubobcats.com and clicking on the speaker logo next to the game on the schedule on the right-hand side of the page.
BIG WEST TV IS BACK!
Live streaming video for all Cal State Fullerton home games and select road contests will be available once again during the regular season through a partnership with the Big West Conference and CSTV. The subscription video service is \$79.95 for the entire season or \$9.95 per month. For more information, please visit the Big West website at www.bigwest.org/tv.
MONTANA STATE: Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series with Montana State, 2-0, including a victory over the Bobcats last season at Titan Gym by the score of 85-84... Last year's meeting had been a long time in coming as the only other meeting between the two schools came in 1981, a 101-86 victory by the Titans at the California Invitational in Berkeley, Calif... TEXAS-ARLINGTON & NORTH DAKOTA STATE: Saturday's meeting will be the first with either school.
A QUICK LOOK AT MONTANA STATE
The Bobcats enter the tournament weekend with a 1-2 overall record having defeated Long Beach State (78-68) on the road, but falling to Montana Tech (66-57) at home and Oregon State (69-62) on the road... Junior guard Rebecca Mercer leads a trio of MSU players in double figures, averaging 12.0 points per game to go with 4.3 assists per game and six steals... She is shooting 48 percent from the floor and 80 percent (8-for-10) from the free throw line... Senior Whitney Connolly (11.7 ppg) and senior Alyssa Nelson (10.7 ppg) are also averaging double digits in scoring while sophomore Nubia Garcia leads the team with 9.3 rebounds per game.
A QUICK LOOK AT TEXAS-ARLINGTON
The Mavericks are 2-1 to start the season, downing Northern Arizona (69-60) and Arkansas-Little Rock (59-58) before falling to No. 17 Michigan State (65-49) in their last outing on the road... Senior guard Terra Wallace is the only player averaging double figures at 15.7 points per game to go along with a team-high 13 assists and seven steals... Sophomore forward Erin Dixon is the team's second-leading scorer at 9.0 ppg, but is averaging a team-best 8.3 rebounds per game coming off the bench in all three games.
A QUICK LOOK AT NORTH DAKOTA STATE
The Division I Independent (and future Mid-Continent Conference member) Bison are 0-2 to start the season, falling on the road at Oral Roberts (82-67) and at home to Northern Arizona (55-50) in overtime... Junior guard Lisa Bue is the team's leading scorer through two contests, averaging 12.5 points per game - including an 18-point outing against ORU... She is shooting 50 percent from the field (11-for-22) to go with a team-high 6.5 rebounds per contest.
UNDERWOOD RETURNS WITH A BANG
After missing the team's season-opener at San Jose State due to injury, senior forward Charlee Underwood returned to the Titans' starting lineup with flourish this past weekend during Fullerton's three-game Midwest road trip. Underwood, who leads the team in scoring at 16.3 points per game, scored 20 points or more in back-to-back games against Iowa State and Nebraska, including netting a career-high 25 points against the Huskers.
THOMAS CONTINUES TO ROLL
Sophomore Toni Thomas continues to be an offensive force inside for the Titans, as she extended her double-digit scoring streak to four straight games to start the season and 10 consecutive contests dating back to the final six games of the 2005-06 season. During that stretch, Thomas is averaging 16.9 points and 10.5 rebounds per game and has five double-doubles, including a 24-point, 11-rebound effort in Fullerton's win over San Jose State on Nov. 11.
A STEADY HAND
Senior guard India McDaniel has provided the Titans with a certain element of consistiency this season, scoring 12 points in three of the team's four contests this season. However, the majority of her time on the floor has spent at the free throw line as she has gone to the charity stripe a team-high 31 times this season (sophomore Toni Thomas is second on the team with 15 attempts) and ranks eighth in the Big West Conference with a .742 free throw percentage this season.
TUPOU BULLISH AGAINST BULLDOGS
Redshirt sophomore Salote Tupou had a career afternoon in Sunday's contest against Drake, matching her career best with four points (her first points of the year) and doubling her career high on the boards with eight rebounds against the Bulldogs.
SHARPSHOOTER Toni Thomas???
Known by many to be one of the Titans' best post players, sophomore Toni Thomas has taken a page out of the playbook of former Titan Amber Pruitt, whose shooting touch allowed the former Fullerton all-conference player to step back and hit a long-range shot. Thomas, who hit five three-pointers in all of last season, has already hit six in four games this season and enters the week leading the Big West Conference with a .667 (6-for-9) three-point percentage.
SPEAKING OF ACCURACY
Cal State Fullerton enters this week's play leading the Big West Conference in both three-pointers made (21) and three-point percentage (.356).
After ranking in the lower half of most defensive categories last season, the Titans are starting to see some improvement on that side of the ball in a couple categories this season. Fullerton ranks third in scoring defense (67.8 ppg), after finishing sixth last year, and first in rebounding defense (37.0 rpg), after finishing fifth in 2005-06.
UNDERWOOD CLOSING IN ON 1,000
Senior Charlee Underwood needs just 25 more points to reach 1,000 for her career and become the 16th player in school history to reach that milestone. Should she accomplish that feat, Underwood would also be the third player in the last four years to reach 1,000 points, joining Tamara Quinn (2004) and Amber Pruitt (2006).
Thomas added to her steller opening night performance against San Jose State by blocking three shots on the night, just one season removed from blocking three shots in all of the 2005-06 season. She became the first Titan to tally three blocks in a game since Amber Pruitt had three swats against Long Beach State on Feb. 12, 2005.
PLENTY OF FIREPOWER BACK
The Titans return nine letterwinners, four starters and five of the top six scorers from last season's squad that finished 11-17 overall and 7-7 in the Big West Conference (tied for third). Those five scorers accounted for almost two-thirds of the team's points and over half of the rebounds in 2005-06.
COACHES & MEDIA PICK TITANS SIXTH
Cal State Fullerton was picked to finish sixth in the Big West Conference this season in a poll of media members and league coaches conducted at the conference's annual media day event at the Irvine Hilton Hotel on Oct. 25. UC Riverside was the slight favorite by a single point over UC Santa Barbara according to the coaches with the Gauchos and Highlanders flip-flopping spots in the media poll. Both groups had Long Beach State third, Cal State Northridge fourth, Cal State Fullerton sixth and Pacific eighth. Cal Poly and UC Irvine were interchanged at fifth and seventh with the coaches favoring UCI and the media leaning toward the Mustangs.
PAIR OF WALK-ON'S ADDED
The Titans added a pair of walk-on players to the 2006-07 roster in 5-8 shooting guard Jasmine Scott and 5-7 guard Tiffany Casanova. Scott, who was born in Portugal, prepped at Valley HS in Sacramento where she averaged betted than 19 points her junior and senior seasons. She was a three-time All-Delta League honoree and a McDonald's All-American nominee as a senior after averaging 20.7 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. Casanova prepped at Los Angeles Southwest Middle College High School, averaging better than 15 points throughout her four-year career, and attended Cal State Fullerton last year, but did not play basketball. A three-time All-Freeway Magnet League honoree, Casanova averaged 24 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists as a junior.
Fullerton is the only team in the Big West Conference with a roster comprised entirely of Californians. Taking this theme one step further, the Big West Conference is the only conference in the nation, at any level, with its membership completely contained in a single state.
DIFFICULT SLATE FOR TITANS
The Titans' 2006-07 non-conference schedule will be one of the most difficult in recent memory. Two of the opponents are already receiving preseason accolades as UCLA (Nov. 30) is ranked No. 23 and Drake (Nov. 19) is receiving votes in the ESPN/USA Today Preseason top 25. In addition, three of Fullerton's first six games (with the possibility of a fourth) will be against schools that finished among the top 120 of last year's RPI standings: Iowa State (70), Nebraska (73), Drake (104), and Texas-Arlington (119). The home schedule then kicks off against a pair of postseason squads as Fresno State (final RPI of 80) visits on Nov. 28 after making the second round of the WNIT and the Bruins (final RPI of 21) come calling after a second-round NCAA appearance.
NEW FACES ON THE BENCH
Fullerton's bench will be sporting some news faces in 2006-07 as former Titan letterwinner Allyson Alhadeff and Sara Perry enter their first seasons as assistant coaches. Alhadeff spent the last three seasons as an administrative assistant with the Fullerton men's basketball team while earning her master's degree in kinesiology. She played four seasons for the Titans from 2000-03, including serving as team captain for three years. Perry was an administrative assistant for the women's basketball program last season and was a four-year basketball letterwinner for Notre Dame de Namur in Belmont, Calif., graduating in 2003.