MISSOULA, Mont. – The Titans played a lot better this time around in the Lady Griz Classic, but their defense struggled to stop a hot shooting Oral Roberts offense as the Golden Eagles defeated Fullerton 60-50.
"I liked our effort a lot better today," said head coach Jeff Harada. "Oral Roberts is a big and deep team, especially in the post and I was happy how we battled them into taking tough shots. I thought we executed pretty well offensively and got shots we wanted so that was a positive.
Again our effort is there, but we still have things we must fix in order for us to continue growing as a team. Most of it is fixable and while it's frustrating to come up short, these are good games for us to learn from and help prepare us once we get to Big West play."
Junior Daeja Smith stayed hot as she recorded her second consecutive double-double and third in four games with 17 points and 13 rebounds, both of which were game-highs. Smith was recognized for her efforts and named to the All-Tournament team for Fullerton with double-double performances in both games for the Titans. Overall, she averaged 17 points and 12 rebounds on 14-23 (60.9%) shooting. Defensively she had six blocks, three in each game. Only one other Fullerton player reached double-figures against Oral Roberts as junior Hannah Thompson put up 14 points in the effort.
Harada went on, "I also think we saw that when we get the ball inside to Daeja it opens up a lot of space on the perimeter. She had a great tournament and I'm glad she was recognized on the All-Tournament team for her inspiring play."
Oral Roberts also saw two players reach double-figures as Faith Ihim and Maria Martianez put up 14 points each. Ihim also had seven rebounds and a game-high six assists. Jordan Gilbert had eight points and pulled down a team-high eight rebounds for the Golden Eagles.
The Titans got their scoring started early thanks to a Smith layup on the first possession. But Oral Roberts responded with a three to take the lead and they never gave it up after that. Despite nine first quarter points from Smith, CSF ended the first trailing by four.
The second quarter was all Golden Eagles as they opened up the quarter with a 12-2 and had their lead up to 14 at one time. Thanks to a pair of unanswered three's from H. Thompson, CSF put an end to the ORU scoring run and managed to cut the lead down to just eight going into halftime.
The third quarter was the worst for the Titans offensively scoring just seven points in the quarter on 2-10 shooting from the field and 3-4 from the line. Oral Roberts, however, didn't struggle. Shooting almost 50% from the quarter they blew it open ending the third up by 15 points.
Fullerton tried to rally in the final period, outscoring the Golden Eagles 14-9 but it was too late and the deficit was too much. Some missed open shots and a few costly turnovers haunted the Titans' fourth quarter and they would lose by 10 at the hands of Oral Roberts.
The Titans have one more game on this six-day northwest road trip as they will travel to the University of Idaho for a game Monday night against the Vandals. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. (5:00 p.m. PT).
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