Inspiring Second Half Performance Lifts Titans to Win at UC Davis
DAVIS, Calif.— Cal State Fullerton forced a season-high 30 turnovers and poured in 42 second-half points on 16-of-34 shooting, as the Titans rallied and eventually raced past UC Davis, 60-42, Saturday afternoon at the Pavilion.
The Titans trailed by as many nine points in the second half before launching a 15-5 scoring run to claim its first lead of the day at 33-32 with 10:17 left in the game after a Xava Grooms lay-up. Fullerton never relinquished the lead after that, as it went on to outscore UC Davis 27-10 the rest of the way en route to key road victory, which snapped what was a season-high nine-game losing streak.
For Fullerton (8-18, 4-10 Big West), the win puts it just one game back of the final Big West Tournament spot with four games to play after UC Riverside (11-14, 4-10 Big West) fell to Pacific (21-6, 11-4 Big West) earlier in the day, while UC Irvine (9-17, 5-9 Big West), the current eighth seed, stayed idle Saturday.
For UC Davis (11-15, 6-9 Big West), it's now its third loss in its last four games, as it sits just 1.5 games ahead of Fullerton for seventh place in the conference.
The Titans were led by Annie Park's team-high 12 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the field, while Alex Thomas collected a team-high seven rebounds and put up 10 points of her own. Chante Miles went a stellar 9-of-9 from the free throw line and scored 11 points for her 14th double-figure scoring game of the season.
Sydnee Fipps led the Aggies with a game-high 14 points on 5-of-12 shooting, while also pulling down a game-high tying seven rebounds. Cortney French poured in 10 points as UC Davis' only other double-figure scorer in the loss.
The Titans got off to a slow start, falling behind 7-0 with just two minutes gone by in the game, but Fullerton responded by grinding out a 10-3 run of it's own to tie things at 10-10 with 9:25 left to play in the first half.
Stifling defense helped Fullerton weather an offensively challenged first half, as it held the Aggies scoreless for over nine minutes and forced 14 first half turnovers on nine steals.
Cal State Fullerton trailed just 23-18 at the half, after shooting an underwhelming 7-of-28 from the field (25 percent) and setting a season-high in first half turnovers for a second consecutive game with 19.
However, the Titans came out of the break with a renewed sense of intensity on the offensive end, while Brianna Barfield helped put together one of the most important offensive stretches of the season, scoring six points in less than two minutes to take what was nine-point Fullerton deficit and turn it into a 27-27 ballgame with 14:14 left to play. Park also contributed to the 9-0 run, but nailing a three-pointer of her own.
Fullerton battled back to tie the game three times before eventually taking the lead for good, thanks to great second-half ball pressure on the defensive end, as it scored 23 of its 60 total points off of 30 UC Davis turnovers. On the offensive end, the Titans turned the ball over just six times in the second half compared to 19 in during the first 20 minutes.
Fullerton now aims to start a win streak, as the Titans are very much in the postseason hunt with just four regular season games to play. Fullerton will try to snap its current four-game home losing streak when it welcomes in UC Santa Barbara to Titan Gym this Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
Game Notes: The 42 points surrendered Saturday was the least amount of points Fullerton has surrendered in a game since Jan. 7, 2012 where the Titans gave up just 39 points to UC Santa Barbara…Fullerton snaps what was a five-game road losing streak dating back to a 54-49 win at UC Riverside on Jan. 12, 2013…Win snaps two-game losing streak to the Aggies, but marked Titans' third consecutive win at UC Davis dating back to Dec. 31, 2010…18-point win is Fullerton's largest margin of victory since a 94-75 win over Sacramento State on Nov. 11, 2012…Win marks school's largest conference win since defeating UC Riverside 66-43 on Feb. 22, 2012…Victory also signifies largest road win since toppling Sacramento State 90-68 Nov. 15, 2009….Fullerton's 56-36 lead with 2:11 left to play was the Titans' largest lead at any point in a game since also leading by 20 Jan. 17, 2013 vs. UC Irvine.