Nov. 25, 2008
FULLERTON, CA - Off to its best start in over 10 years, the Cal State Fullerton women's basketball team (2-1 overall) enters perhaps its toughest stretch of the season beginning this weekend in Las Vegas. The Titans will compete as one of four teams at the Lady Rebel Round Up hosted by UNLV and will open against Georgia on Friday (Nov. 28) at 1 p.m., before meeting either the host Rebels or Eastern Washington on Saturday (Nov. 29) at 11:30 a.m. or 2 p.m.
FOLLOW THE TITANS FROM AFAR: If you can't make the trip to Las Vegas this weekend and are near your computer, you can still follow the Titans at the Lady Rebel Round Up via the Internet as Gametracker live stats will be run for all four games of the tournament. Log on to the women's basketball schedule page at FullertonTitans.com or visit UNLV's athletics page at UNLVRebels.com.
IN THE RANKINGS: Georgia is receiving votes (6) in the Nov. 24 Associated Press poll and was ranked No. 23 in the nation according to the Nov. 18 USA Today/ESPN coaches poll... Neither Cal State Fullerton, UNLV, nor Eastern Washington were listed in either poll.
SCOUTING THE LADY BULLDOGS: Georgia enters the holiday weekend with a 2-1 overall record, posting wins over Alabama State (85-35) and Oakland (64-61) while falling to Detroit Mercy (70-66)... three of the Bulldogs' five starters are averaging double figures paced by Porsha Phillips' 13 points and 8.7 rebounds per game - both of which lead the team... Ashley Houts (11.3 ppg) and Angela Puleo (10.7 ppg) are also in double figures and are joined by Angel Robinson, who has come off the bench in all three contests to average 11.3 ppg... Georgia is shooting 41 percent from the floor as a team and is outrebounding the opposition by nine boards per contest.
SERIES VS. GEORGIA: Friday's game will mark the first between the Titans and SEC power Georgia in the history of the two schools... Fullerton, however, is 3-1 all-time against SEC teams, but hasn't met a current league member since defeating Alabama, 65-64, on Dec. 8, 1984... The Titans are also 1-0 against LSU, 1-0 against Mississippi State, and 0-1 against Tennessee.
SCOUTING THE REBELS: UNLV enters its own tournament with a perfect 3-0 record, posting wins over Sacramento State (92-71), Southern Utah (71-58), and Silver State rival Nevada (66-53) - all three coming at home as part of a season-opening five-game homestand and 10 of its first 13 on its home floor... Four players are averaging double figures in scoring in the early-going led by reigning Mountain West Conference Player of the Week Erica Helms, who is averaging 16 points, three rebounds, and three assists per game... Shamela Hampton (14.3 ppg), Brittany Halberg (11.3 ppg), Jamie Smith (10.3 ppg) are also in double figures.
SERIES VS. UNLV: The Titans trail in the all-time series against their former Big West Conference rivals by a 33-8 count, having lost the last four meetings... Fullerton's last win in the series came on Nov. 21, 1997, as the Titans posted a 66-62 victory at home... Fullerton is just 2-16 all-time against the Rebels in Las Vegas, having lost the last three dating back to a 72-66 win on Jan. 19, 1996... The Titans are 49-64 all-time against current Mountain West Conference members, having lost the last 17 straight against the league dating back to a 66-62 win over UNLV in 1997.
SCOUTING THE EAGLES: Eastern Washington enters the Thanksgiving event with a 1-1 record, falling to Nevada (64-49) and defeating San Francisco (80-70)... Kyla Evans leads the way offensively, averaging 17.5 points while shooting 68 percent from the field thus far... Julie Piper is also in double figures, averaging 13 points per contest to go with a team-best nine rebounds per game, forming a formidible tandem inside with Nicole Scott, who is averaging 8.5 rpg to go with 9.5 ppg.
SERIES VS. EASTERN WASHINGTON: EWU leads the all-time series with the Titans, 3-1, having won the last three straight meetings... Fullerton's only win in the series came back in 1996 as it posted an 84-54 victory at home on Nov. 29... The two teams last met in 2002 as the Eagles defeated the Titans, 74-59, at Titan Gym... Cal State Fullerton is 10-17 all-time against the current Big Sky alignment.
STUFFED ON TURKEY DAY: We don't know if it's the tryptophan or not, but Cal State Fullerton has not fared well during its last four Thanksgiving weekend tournaments, posting just a 1-6 record dating back to the 2004-05 season - including a "snow out" in El Paso last year. The Titans went 0-1 in 2007-08, 0-2 at Montana State's tournament in 2006-07, 0-2 at Northern Arizona's event in 2005-06, and 1-1 with a win over East Carolina at Pepperdine's holiday tournament in 2004-05.
HOME COOKIN': The Titans improved to 2-0 at historic Titan Gym this past weekend with their victory over Saint Mary's, continuing a trend that has seen them post a 27-13 (.675) mark at home over the past four seasons. Overall, Cal State Fullerton is 218-220 (.498) at home in the history of the program with the home records of two seasons (1969-70 & 1971-72) unknown.
A "TITAN"-IC START: With two wins in their first three games, the Titans are off to their best start since the 1996-97 campaign when they opened the season 3-0 and won five of their first six games en route to a 10-16 overall record.
LET'S GO HALVSIES: Cal State Fullerton jumped all over Saint Mary's early last Friday, putting up a season-high 52 points and shooting 66 percent from the field en route to a 25-point halftime lead and a 14-point victory over the Gaels. The single half point-total is the highest for the Titans since they scored 52 in the second half in an 84-74 loss to Pacific on Feb. 16, 2006, and the 88 points against Saint Mary's were the most for a Fullerton squad since they scored 94 points, also against the Tigers, on Jan. 19, 2008.
ONE SHORT OF A SIX-PACK: Cal State Fullerton had five players reach double figures in scoring last Friday against Saint Mary's - the first time that has happened since a 94-83 win over Pacific last season. It was the second-straight game that the Titans have had at least four players record double figures as they improved to 12-3 over the last three seasons when that occurs.
DE-FENSE (CLAP, CLAP): Cal State Fullerton defenders have been flying all over the court in the early part of the season, forcing the opposition into 85 turnovers and swiping 40 steals on the year, leading to 71 points in favor of the good guys. Fullerton, which forced a season-best 30 miscues by Saint Mary's in its last contest, leads the league with its 40 steals overall and is second with 13.33 steals per game entering the week's games while its 85 turnovers forced are the most by any Big West defense (Cal State Northridge is second with 80).
CHAMPS OF THE WCC?: With its win over Saint Mary's last Friday the Titans moved to 2-0 this season against the West Coast Conference - matching its win total against current league members for the last 10 years combined. With three more games remaining against the WCC this season, Fullerton is looking to post a winning mark against the conference for the first time since the 1997-98 campaign when the Titans went 2-1 against the WCC. Since that year, Fullerton has posted just a 2-28 mark over the last decade against the conference with only wins over San Francisco (2006) and San Diego (2002) in that stretch.
THOMAS DOUBLES UP: Senior Toni Thomas tallied her first double-double of the season last week against Saint Mary's, posting season high's with 16 points and 12 rebounds in Fullerton's, 88-74, victory. It was the 22nd double-double of her career and her first since the Titans' victory over Long Beach State in the first round of the Big West Conference Tournament last season (18 points, 11 rebounds). Friday's contest also marked the third-straight double-digit scoring game for Thomas to start the season and her 78th career contest (in 93 games) with 10-or-more points.
DON'T GET "FROSH" WITH MEGAN: Freshman guard Megan Richardson had the best game of her brief Division I career last week against Saint Mary's setting career-high's in almost every category while pouring in 18 points and grabbing five rebounds off the bench in the Titans' victory over the Gaels. Richardson, who had scored a combined eight points in the team's two previous games, hit on 8-of-11 from the field and added a pair of assists.
MY KINGDOM FOR A BLOCK: It took three games, but the Titans finally got into the blocked shots column last week against Saint Mary's as the aforementioned Richardson recorded the team's first swat in the first half against the Gaels.
MOVIN' ON UP: Senior Toni Thomas inched her way up yet another career list last week against Saint Mary's as her 8-for-9 performance at the line against the Gaels gave her 386 made free throws for her career, vaulting her into sole possession of third place on the all-time list - just 19 freebies shy of Claudette Jackson for second. She would have to go to the line a lot this season to catch career leader Eugenia Miller-Rycraw, who hit 587 free throws in her career - 201 more than Thomas as this point in time.
SOMEWHAT OF A MILESTONE: With just 33 more points, senior Toni Thomas will join a select group of players in both school and Big West Conference history as she reaches 1,500 points for her career. Thomas, who currently sits sixth on the school's all-time scoring chart, would be just the sixth player in Fullerton history and the 26th in league history to reach that scoring plateau.
SCORING TRIO BACK AT IT: At the end of last season, three Titans were ranked among the league's top 15 scorers: Toni Thomas (17.1 ppg), Lauren Chow (12.5 ppg), and Ashley Richie (10.5 ppg). Well, the tremendous trio is back at it as they stand as the only three Titans to score in double figures in all three of Fullerton's games this season and stand, once again, among the league's top scorers. Thomas, who has led the league in scoring in each of the last two seasons, is tied for eighth at 13.7 ppg, Chow is 11th at 12.7 ppg, and Richie is 14th at 11.3 ppg entering this weekend's games.