Light Week Sends Titans to Road Test at Pepperdine Before Final Exams

Dec. 6, 2007

FULLERTON, CA - With final exams in the classrooms looming next week, the Cal State Fullerton women's basketball team (1-5 overall) will face another kind of test this weekend as the Titans travel to Malibu, Calif., to take on Pepperdine in a non-conference match-up on Friday night (Dec. 7) at 7 p.m. at Firestone Fieldhouse.

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CATCH THE GAME: Cal State Fullerton's Friday night contest at Pepperdine will be carried live over the Internet at www.FullertonTitans.com. Mike Martinez and Patrick Alog will have the play-by-play.

SERIES RECORDS: Pepperdine holds a 9-8 advantage in the series with Cal State Fullerton, having won the last four consecutive meetings... The Titans are 5-4 all-time in Malibu... Fullerton is 4-6 in its last 10 meetings with Pepperdine... The Titans' last win in Malibu came on Dec. 29, 1994, a 61-59 victory... Fullerton won five straight in the series from 1984-91... The Waves won the last meeting, 60-47, at home on Nov. 26, 2004.

ABOUT THE WAVES: Pepperdine enters the week with a 4-2 overall record, having defeated a pair of Pac-10 schools in its last two outings: UCLA (91-79 on Nov. 28) and Washington (74-56) on Tuesday night... Pepperdine is 3-1 at home this season... Daphanie Kennedy, the defending West Coast Conference Player of the Week, leads the team in scoring at 21.3 ppg to go with 21 assists and 4.0 rpg... Miranda Ayim is also in double figures, almost averaging a double-double with 13.2 ppg and 9.8 rpg while shooting .577 from the field... six regulars are shooting better than 42 percent from the floor... The Waves are shooting .433 as a team and are averaging just under 74 points per game... Pepperdine has scored 90 points or more in two of its last three wins, including a season-high 95 points against Cal State Bakersfield.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Last Sunday's game at San Diego State kicked off a three-game road swing for the Titans that continues this weekend in Malibu. In fact, Fullerton, which is still searching for its first win away from home this season (0-3), will play seven of its next eight games away from Titan Gym with the only exception being a home contest against San Diego on Dec. 21 before five more contests on the road, including the Big West Conference opener at UC Irvine on Jan. 4 to ring in the New Year.

MILESTONE REACHED (PART II): With her six rebounds on Sunday at San Diego State, junior forward Toni Thomas became only the 10th player in the history of the program to score at least 1,000 points and grab 500 rebounds in their careers. She is the third player in as many seasons to accomplish the feat joining Amber Pruitt (1,078 points/580 rebounds) in 2006 and Charlee Underwood (1,382/630) in 2007. Other members of the club include Eugenia Miller-Rycraw (2,415/1,162), Nancy Ratliff (1,580/554), Nancy Dunkle (1,559/729), Meg Gallagher (1,421/675), Marlene Kline (1,260/531), Claudette Jackson (1,100/536), and Terri Withers (1,078/805).

THE STREAK CONTINUES: With six more double-digit scoring performances under her belt, junior Toni Thomas extended her scoring streak to 27 consecutive games dating back to the Titans' Dec. 18 victory over San Francisco last season. The San Bernardino, Calif., native has 56 career double-digit scoring performances in 66 games and, after back-to-back 20-point games this season against Utah Valley and San Jose State, and a 32-point game against UTEP, has 19 career 20-point-plus outings. Thomas has scored 500 points during her current streak, averaging 18.5 ppg, and shooting .467 (175-for-375) from the floor and .812 (138-for-170) from the free throw line.

RICHIE COMES ALIVE: After scoring a then career-best 10 points against UTEP on Nov. 23, freshman guard Ashley Richie has moved into the Titans' starting lineup and has not disappointed. Richie has scored in double figures in each of her last three games, setting career-high's in scoring in each of those contests. She had 12 points in her first career start against USC at Titan Gym on Nov. 30 two days before contributing 13 points in a loss to San Diego State last Sunday. During her scoring run, Richie is averaging 11.7 ppg and 4.3 rpg while shooting .483 from the field.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Junior Tiffany Casanova and freshman Jenna Breite made their Division I debuts on Sunday at San Diego State, coming off the bench and playing six and four minutes, respectively, against the Aztecs.

TITANS IN THE NCAA: Entering this week's games... Thomas is ranked No. 12 in the nation in scoring at 21.5 ppg and is No. 99 in the nation with a .500 field goal percentage... freshman Lauren Chow ranks No. 65 in the nation in steals per game (2.7), No. 14 in free throw percentage (.947), No. 25 in three-point percentage (.486), and No. 17 in three-point field goals per game (2.8).

WE JINXED IT: I guess dodging the bullet for four weeks was just too much... we're sorry Lauren. Cal State Fullerton freshman guard Lauren Chow had hit 17 consecutive free throws until missing the front-end of a two-shot foul in the second half of last Friday's game against USC at Titan Gym. Chow, who "recovered" to hit the second free throw, continues to lead the Big West Conference with a .947 free throw percentage.

THE NUMBERS THAT SHALL NOT BE NAMED: But we must because it doesn't happen very often. The 104 points surrendered by the Titans against USC last weekend were the most since UC Santa Barbara scored the same amount in a 104-64 loss in Santa Barbara on Feb. 6, 2000. The 31-point loss to San Diego State on Sunday eclipsed Fullerton's 27-point defeat to USC as the worst loss since a 94-54 loss to the Women of Troy on Dec. 15, 2005, in Los Angeles.

POWER OUTAGE: The Titans were held to a season-low 29 percent from the field on Sunday at San Diego State, ending a stretch that saw the Fullerton offense shoot better than 40 percent from the floor in four straight contests dating back to Nov. 17 against San Jose State. The Titans, who made only five field goals in the first half against the Aztecs and finished with 14 overall for the game, had been shooting at a .437 clip (104-for-238) in the four contests prior to the SDSU game, including a season-best 49.2 percent against USC.

AMERICA'S FINEST CITY?: Not so much for the Titans. Cal State Fullerton has lost its last five straight regular season contests against teams from San Diego, last posting a win over the University of San Diego, 76-74, on Dec. 14, 2002. The Titans have also lost their last four within the city limits dating back to a 66-61 victory over the Toreros on Dec. 12, 1997.

PRESENTED BY AT&T: If it were legal in the NCAA's eyes to have players sponsored by companies, AT&T or some of the other national long distance carriers might want to look into Lauren Chow. Chow, who also stands among national leaders in both of the following categories (see note above), leads the Big West Conference with a .486 three-point percentage (17-of-35) and 2.83 three-pointers made per game (17 total - which also leads the league).

SHE PLAYS DEFENSE TOO: A lot has been made of Toni Thomas' scoring exploits thus far this season, has shown she could play a little defense as well. Her five blocked shots this season have her on the verge of breaking into the top 10 on the school's career list and her seven steals last Friday against USC set a career-high and are the most of any Big West player in a single-game this season.

HAVEN'T SEEN THIS IN A WHILE: With her 32-point outburst against UTEP last weekend, junior Toni Thomas became the first Titan to score 30-or-more points in a game since Natascha Stokely had 36 in a 96-87 win at Long Beach State on Feb. 22, 1998. The performance was Thomas' first 30-point game after scoring 20 points or more on 18 different occassions.

AND WE REALLY HAVEN'T SEEN IT...: Each of the last seven 30-point performances by a Titan player have come on the road. The last Fullerton player to score 30-or-more points at home was Koko Lahanas, who had 31 points in a win over UC Santa Barbara on Feb. 26, 1995 at Titan Gym.

MILESTONE REACHED: After only 64 career games in a Titan uniform, Thomas became the 17th player in the history of the program to reach 1,000 career points against UTEP on Nov. 23, scoring 32 points to push her, not only past the milestone barrier, but also into 16th place on the all-time scoring chart with 1,009 career points, passing Joey Ray (1988-92), who had 1,004 career points. Thomas now has her sights set on 14th place, needing just 70 points to pass Terri Withers (1981-85) and Amber Pruitt (2002-06) on the all-time list.

QUICKLY NOW: Thomas became only the ninth player in program history to reach the 1,000-career points plateau in her first three seasons and the fastest since Claudette Jackson (1990-92) accomplished the feat in just two years - a span of 61 total games - after transferring from Golden West College in nearby Huntington Beach, Calif.

SPEAKING OF STREAKING: Thomas' streak is very impressive, but she has a way to go to catch the Titans' record holder, Eugenia Miller-Rycraw, who scored in double figures in the final 68 games of her stellar career from the last eight games of the 1988-89 season until the end of the 1990-91 campaign. She finished her career with 93 double-digit scoring games in 118 career contests.

EIGHT(Y) IS GREAT(Y): We just had to make it rhyme. If you count Fullerton's two exhibition contests, 80 seems to be the magic number to put the Titans in the win column. Cal State Fullerton has won every game (3-0) thus far this season when scoring eighty or more points and have struggled to a 66.0 ppg average in its two losses. Counting regular season games only, the Titans boast the league's second-best offense, averaging 70.7 ppg through three games this season.

YOUTH WILL BE SERVED: Cal State Fullerton will make the transition from one of the eldest, most experienced teams in the nation to one of its youngest as the Titans' roster features seven freshmen and four sophomores for the 2007-08 campaign.

COACHES MEDIA PICK TITANS SIXTH: In a repeat of last year's preseason prognostications, the Titans are picked to finish sixth in the Big West Conference according to a poll of the league's coaches and media during the league's annual media day in Irvine on Oct. 24. Fullerton received 24 points from the coaches to trail Long Beach State, which was picked fifth with 37 points. The media gave the Titans' 43 points to finish behind the 49ers and league newcomer UC Davis, who were picked in a dead heat for fourth place with 53 points. Defending champion UC Riverside was picked to defend its title by both the coaches and media.

PRESEASON LAURELS FOR THOMAS: Junior forward Toni Thomas was named to the preseason all-conference team, joining Long Beach State's Karina Figueroa, UC Santa Barbara's Jenna Green and Jessica Wilson, and UC Riverside's duo of Seyram Gbewonyo and Kemie Nkele. Thomas was a first-team all-conference and all-tournament team honoree as a sophomore last season, leading the league in scoring (17.5 ppg) and finishing fourth in the conference in rebounding (8.3 rpg).

ROAD WARRIORS: The Titans will open their 2007-08 season seemingly living out of their suitcases as 11 of Fullerton's first 15 regular season games will be played away from the friendly confines of Titan Gym where they posted a 10-4 record last season and have won 19 of their last 26 games.

SOLID BLOCK TO BUILD ON: Fullerton is coming off one of its most successful seasons in recent history as the Titans' 16 wins and .500 winning percentage last year were the highest for the program since the 1990-91 squad finished 25-8 (.758) en route to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

WINNER: Cal State Fullerton Head Coach Dr. Maryalyce Jeremiah became the winningest coach in school history with last season's win over San Jose State on Nov. 11 and enters this, her 28th year as a head coach, among the top 50 winningest active coaches in the nation, ranking No. 35 with 419 career wins.

CALIFORNIA GIRLS: It's only fitting that in the all-California Big West Conference that Cal State Fullerton has a roster made up entirely of California players. The Titans are one of two schools (UC Davis being the other) in the league with such a roster.