Dec. 24, 2007
FULLERTON, CA - The Cal State Fullerton women's basketball team hopes that the holiday season brings them more than just a few presents under the tree as the Titans (1-8 overall) head north to the Bay Area to open a season-long five-game road trip. Fullerton will ring in the New Year with a pair of contests against Saint Mary's on Saturday (Dec. 29) at 2 p.m. before heading on to Santa Clara for a New Year's Eve (Dec. 31) tilt at 5 p.m.
CATCH THE GAME: Saturday's game at Saint Mary's will be broadcast live over the Internet at www.FullertonTitans.com. Mel Franks will handle the play-by-play from McKeon Pavilion. No broadcast will be available for Monday's game at Santa Clara. Gametracker will be available for both of this weekend's contests via the women's basketball schedule page at FullertonTitans.com.
SERIES RECORDS: Cal State Fullerton is 1-2 against Saint Mary's, losing the last two straight meetings, and 4-2 against Santa Clara, losing the last two, in the respective all-time series... the Titans are 1-1 in Moraga while posting a 2-1 mark at Santa Clara... Fullerton and Saint Mary's haven't met since the Gaels posted a 75-47 win at home on Dec. 8, 2000... The Titans and Broncos last met on Dec. 12, 1999, at Titan Gym as Santa Clara posted a 94-70 victory in Fullerton... that game followed a 72-42 victory by Saint Mary's two nights earlier... Fullerton's last win in the series against the Gaels came on New Year's Day in 1991, a 77-65 win on the road... to find the last win in the series against Santa Clara, you'd have to go all the way back to the 1981-82 season when the Titans took a pair from the Broncos, 80-68, at the Cal Poly Pomona Tournament on Nov. 21 and, 74-62, at Titan Gym on Dec. 30.
WCC SCHEDULE CONTINUES: Cal State Fullerton continues a stretch of three straight contests against West Coast Conference schools this weekend as the Titans travel to Saint Mary's and Santa Clara to ring in the New Year. Fullerton is 0-3 against WCC members this season after losses to San Francisco (Nov. 19), Pepperdine (Dec. 7), and San Diego (Dec. 21) and is 29-40 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 10 of its last 11 meetings with WCC schools since a 76-74 win over USD in 2002.
ABOUT THE GAELS: Saint Mary's enters the weekend with a 6-8 overall record, having lost its last three straight contests - all on the road... after winning five of their first seven, the Gaels have won just once in their last seven... Saint Mary's is 3-1 at home this season, last defeating Fresno State on Dec. 12 by a 79-68 score... four Gaels are averaging double figures, led by junior guard Jontelle Smith, who is averaging 16.4 ppg... freshman forward Louella Tomlinson is averaging 12.6 ppg and leads the team with 68 blocks... Maija Lahde (11.3 ppg) and Lauren Shaughnessy (10.1 ppg) are also in double figures.
ABOUT THE BRONCOS: Santa Clara enters the weekend with an 8-3 overall record, having won its last four straight... the Broncos will meet Northern Arizona on Saturday before welcoming the Titans to the Leavey Center to ring in the New Year... senior forward Jen Gottschalk leads the team in scoring at 17.4 ppg and also paces the Broncos at 6.6 rpg... Chandice Cronk (16.5 ppg) and Elizabeth Doran (11.1 ppg) are also in double figures this season.
THOMAS MAKES IT AN EVEN 30: Despite scoring a streak-low 10 points last Friday against San Diego, junior forward Toni Thomas extended her double digit scoring streak to 30 consecutive games dating back to the Titans' Dec. 18 victory over San Francisco last season. The San Bernardino, Calif., native has 59 career double-digit scoring performances in 69 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 533 points during her current streak, averaging 17.8 ppg, and shooting .458 (186-for-406) from the floor and .803 (147-for-183) from the free throw line.
CLOSING IN: Thomas needs just two points to match Terri Withers (1981-85) and Amber Pruitt (2002-06) for No. 14 on the school's all-time scoring list and needs 21 points this weekend to match Jill Matyuch (1986-90) for No. 13.
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).
BACK TO THE LINE: After three games without reaching the free throw line, freshman guard Lauren Chow returned to her league-leading form, hitting a pair of freebies in the waining moments of Friday's loss to San Diego to increase her Big West-leading percentage to .952 (20-for-21). Chow, who hit 17 consecutive free throws to start her Division I career, hit a league single-game best 11-for-11 in a home victory over San Jose State back on Nov. 17.
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 last week and leading the Big West Conference thus far this season with 11.56 steals per game. Two Titans rank among the league's best thieves, as Chow paces the conference with 3.00 spg and freshman Ashley Richie stands fourth at 2.11 spg.
SPEAKING OF STEALING: Chow has registered at least two steals in every game for the Titans but one (vs. USC) and has at least four steals in five of the team's nines games this season - including a career high five swipes in Friday's loss to San Diego. That has translated into beaucoup points for the speedy guard, who is averaging 19.0 ppg when she has at least four steals in a game this season.
BENNETT HITTING THE BOARDS: As the only senior active on the this year's roster, Alison Bennett is looking to close out her collegiate career with a bang - and she's been doing so on the boards for the Titans. Over the team's last three games, Bennett has led the team with 8.0 rpg, including a career-high 12 boards against Pepperdine on Dec. 7. Her 24 total rebounds in that span have accounted for almost one-third of the 79 accounted for by Titan players.
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 among the top five in the Big West Conference in scoring and is one of only three underclassmen (two freshmen and a sophomore) to rank among the league's top 15 scorers. She also leads the league in four other categories including assists (3.56 apg) and steals (3.00 spg), while ranking fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.03).
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, is third in the Big West Conference with a .421 three-point percentage (24-of-57) and leads the league at 2.67 three-pointers made per game. Her 24 three-pointers made overall also lead all players in the Big West this season.