Dec. 20, 2007
FULLERTON, CA - The first home game in nearly a month welcomes the Cal State Fullerton women's basketball team (1-7 overall) home after an 0-3 roadtrip sandwiched around finals week. The Titans, who have lost their last six straight, host the University of San Diego on Friday evening (Dec. 21) at 7 p.m. at Titan Gym.
CATCH THE GAME: Friday night's game against San Diego will be broadcast live over the Internet at www.FullertonTitans.com. Todd Reeves and Mike Martinez will be courtside for the play-by-play.
SERIES RECORDS: The Toreros lead the all-time series, 8-7, winning the last two in the series... last season, USD posted a 47-36 win over the Titans at the Jenny Craig Center in San Diego and won, 64-46, in 2005 at Titan Gym... Fullerton's last win in the series came on Dec. 14, 2002, as the Titans hung on for a 76-74 win at Titan Gym... Cal State Fullerton is 4-4 all-time against USD at home.
ABOUT THE TOREROS: San Diego enters the week with a 6-4 overall record, having posted victories in each of its last two outings against UCLA (63-57) and Pacific (68-53) at home... USD is 3-0 against the Big West this year, having also defeated Cal State Northridge (79-50) at home and Cal Poly (62-53) on the road... Amber Sprague leads the Toreros in scoring (16.4 ppg) and rebounding (9.0 rpg) while shooting .448 from the floor and posting 23 blocks... Kiva Herman is also averaging double digits at 12.6 ppg while shooting a team-best .469 from the field... The Toreros are just 1-3 away from home this season while posting a 4-1 mark on their home floor.
THE NEWEST MEMBER OF THE WCC: Cal State Fullerton begins a stretch of three straight contests against West Coast Conference schools on Friday night as the Titans will also meet Saint Mary's and Santa Clara following the Christmas holiday. Fullerton is 0-2 against WCC members this season after losses to San Francisco (Nov. 19) and Pepperdine (Dec. 7) and is 29-39 all-time against the league's eight current members. The Titans last defeated a WCC squad on Dec. 18, 2006, when they downed USF, 72-69, at Titan Gym - the only blemish in a string that has seen Fullerton fall in nine of its last 10 meetings with WCC schools since a 76-74 win over USD in 2002.
ROLLIN' RICHIE: Freshman guard Ashley Richie continued her torrid scoring pace this past weekend, scoring 10 points at Nevada to extend her double-digit scoring streak to five straight games. During that stretch, the speedy freshman is averaging 11.8 ppg while shooting .397 from the field (25-for-63), bettering her season scoring average by almost six points since mid-November. Since breaking into the starting lineup against USC on Nov. 30, Richie is averaging 12.3 ppg in her four starts, including a career-high 14 points at Pepperdine on Dec. 7.
CHOW OFF THE SCHNIDE: After being held to just nine total points and four field goals in her previous two games, freshman Lauren Chow rebounded to post a team-high 14 points on 5-of-13 shooting in last Sunday's loss to Nevada. Four of her five made baskets came from three-point range, including three straight during a 21-8 run late in the first half to bring the Titans back from a 23-point deficit to trail by only 10 heading into the locker room at halftime.
THOMAS STILL AMONG NCAA's BEST: Cal State Fullerton junior forward Toni Thomas continues to rank among the nation's top 30 scorers, entering this week's games at No. 29 with 19.0 ppg, and stands No. 93 in the NCAA with a .500 field goal percentage.
SO IS LAUREN: Freshman guard Lauren Chow also ranks among the nation's best in steals per game (No. 55), three-point percentage (No. 37), and three-pointers per game (No. 25).
SWIPER NO SWIPING: Nobody told the Titans that stealing was a crime. As a result, Cal State Fullerton is one of the nation's most adept teams at taking the ball away, ranking No. 45 in the NCAA with 11.50 per game - a total that also paces the Big West Conference entering this week.
SPEAKING OF STEALS: Chow has registered at least two steals in every game for the Titans but one (vs. USC) and has four steals in four of the team's eight games this season. That has translated into beaucoup points for the speedy guard, who is averaging 20.8 ppg when she has four steals in a game this season.
TROUBLING TOREROS: When it comes to scoring, junior Toni Thomas has usually had a relatively easy time finding her way to the basket. However, when it comes to the University of San Diego, the Toreros seem to be quite adept at silencing one of the Titans' most dangerous weapons. In two career games against USD, Thomas has scored a grand total of two points, going 1-for-12 from the floor, including being held scoreless for the only time in her Fullerton career in the first meeting on Dec. 1, 2005, as a freshman. Since scoring only two points in last year's meeting, however, Thomas has rattled off 29 straight double-digit scoring performances.
THE STREAK CONTINUES: Junior forward Toni Thomas extended her scoring streak to 29 consecutive games dating back to the Titans' Dec. 18 victory over San Francisco last season. The San Bernardino, Calif., native has 58 career double-digit scoring performances in 68 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 523 points during her current streak, averaging 18.03 ppg, and shooting .468 (183-for-391) from the floor and .809 (144-for-178) from the free throw line.
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.
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.
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).
GROVE GOES TO WORK: Freshman guard Lyndsey Grove had the best offensive game of her brief Division I career on Dec. 7 at Pepperdine, netting a career-best 16 points to go with five rebounds in the Titans' narrow loss to the Waves. Grove, who was averaging just 2.2 ppg entering the contest, put forth her best scoring effort since netting 11 points in her collegiate debut at Utah Valley State in the team's Nov. 10 season opener.
JUST ONE MORE: Of the 13 players who have seen action this season, only junior Tiffany Casanova, who has played only six minutes in one game this season at San Diego State, has been kept out of the scoring column.
TALE OF TWO TEAMS: With five of Cal State Fullerton's next six games taking place on the opponents' floor, the Titans will need to pick things up if they are to log their first road victory of the 2007-08 season. Fullerton, which has lost its last eight straight true road games dating back to last season, is averaging just 61.2 ppg and shooting .358 from the floor for the season away from home while opponents are hitting on 50 percent of their shots and averaging 78.6 ppg. Contrast that performance with that of the Titans at home, where they are averaging 73.3 ppg and shooting .434 from the field in three games.
MISS AUTOMATIC: Send Fullerton freshman Lauren Chow to the free throw line this season and the Titans are pretty much assured to come away with points. Chow, who hit 17 consecutive free throws to start her Division I career, leads the Big West Conference in free throw percentage at .947 (18-for-19), including a league-best 11-for-11 in a victory over San Jose State on Nov. 17.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR?: Alright, so we're not quite to the halfway mark of the season yet, but Chow is making an early case for league freshman of the year honors. The Titans' rookie continues to rank third in the Big West Conference in scoring and is one of only two underclassmen (both freshmen) to rank among the league's top 15 scorers. She also leads the league in five other categories including assists (3.88 apg) and steals (2.75 spg), while ranking fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.11).
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 .431 three-point percentage (22-of-51) and 2.75 three-pointers made per game. Her 22 three-pointers made overall also lead all players in the Big West this season.
TITANS ADD TWO EARLY SIGNEES: Cal State Fullerton head women's basketball coach Dr. Maryalyce Jeremiah announced that Destainee Rudison and Megan Richardson have signed National Letters of Intent to continue their playing careers at Cal State Fullerton beginning with the 2008-09 season.
"The addition of these two recruits to the Titan roster will provide more scoring and rebounding to the team," Dr. Jeremiah said. "Both of these athletes can shoot, rebound, and run the floor. With only two scholarships available we are thrilled that we were able to sign our first choices at both positions."
It will be a reunion of sorts for Rudison, a 5-11 forward from Hesperia, Calif., who will join former Silverado HS teammate and current Titan freshman Ashley Richie on the Fullerton roster next season.
Rudison helped the Hawks to a CIF Southern Section Division III-A title as a junior, averaging 14 points and just under 11 rebounds per game as Silverado HS finished 23-8 overall and 7-1 in the Desert Sky League.
"Destainee is an agile, good shooting `4' player who can shoot from the perimeter and will add great quickness to the back line of the team," Dr. Jeremiah said. "She was a sought-after recruit by several major programs and we are so excited about her future as a Titan. Silverado has been very good for us with Richie, and now Rudison, becoming Titans. Their program is solid and so are these two really good basketball players."
Richardson, a 5-10 guard from Manhattan Beach, Calif., is entering her senior season at Mira Costa HS, where she is a three-time All-Bay League honoree - including first-team honors as a sophomore and junior.
An All-CIF Division I-A First-Team selection as a junior, Richardson averaging 14.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game last season, helping the Mustangs to a 25-8 overall record and an 8-2 mark in league play.
Mira Costa was a runner-up to San Clemente HS in the Division I-A Southern Section championships after entering the tournament as a No. 5 seed and reached the semifinals of the Southern California Regional Championships.
"Megan was one of the most highly-recruited players by the Titans in a very long time. She too was highly sought after and we knew without a doubt that she would bring so much to our program," Dr. Jeremiah said. "She can shoot it, run the floor and direct traffic on the court because she sees the floor so well. Megan will add size and intelligence to our back court. She is a great addition to our program."
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.
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.