FULLERTON, Calif. – The offense just never came around for Fullerton against CSUN on Thursday night as they fell to the Matadors 65-41. It marks the first time the Titans have had back-to-back losses since a four-game losing streak from Nov. 27 to Dec. 4 earlier this season.
"Definitely a tale of two halves, but we struggled making shots all night," said head coach Jeff Harada. "Our lack of size definitely was evident on the boards as well, but I didn't think we did a very good job of boxing out either. That's something we can control. Also our defensive effort just wasn't what we needed it to be in the first half and the second quarter really hurt us."
Harada continued, "Our goal at halftime was to win the second half, which we did, so that was definitely a positive. It just makes you wonder had we had that same defensive effort in the first half, maybe it would have been a different game."
Fullerton only saw one scorer reach double-figures as junior Daeja Smith put up 16 points on 6-8 shooting. Smith also pulled down five rebounds giving her 500 for her career. And with that, she becomes just the 19th player in program history to accumulate 600 career points and 500 career rebounds. Junior Hannah Thompson was the next highest scorer for the Titans with nine points to go along with seven rebounds and a team-high four assists. Freshman Carolyn Gill led the way on the glass with eight rebounds.
CSUN also only had one player reach double-figures as Channon Fluker recorded a double-double with 21 points and 16 rebounds. Lauren Shymkewicz and Hayley Tanabe were the next highest scorers with nine points each.
It was all Matadors from the beginning as they jumped out to the early lead with four quick points and never looked back. While the Fullerton offense struggled, shooting 30.8% from the field, CSUN's offense was on their game going on a 12-1 scoring run toward the end of the quarter and putting their lead into double-figures going into the second.
The second quarter was one to forget for Fullerton. They shot just 2-17 (11.8%) from the field and 1-8 from beyond the arc. Even more unfortunate for the Titans, CSUN's offense got hot in the quarter shooting over 50% and putting their lead to as many as 29 before halftime.
The Titan defense came out of the break much more active and alive for the second half holding the Matadors to 23.5% shooting in the third and 31.3% in the fourth. But it didn't matter too much as they were chasing a 31-point deficit at one point in the half. Ultimately, any scoring run Fullerton attempted to start, they could not get the crucial stops they needed on the defensive end.
Harada's concluded his postgame comments saying, "Right now our inconsistency is hurting us. Every night is going to be a battle both mentally and physically so it's time for us to toughen up and figure out what kind of team we want to be going forward."
The Titans get a bit of a break between games as they're back in action Wednesday, January 24 as they head up to Davis for their third consecutive road game of conference play. Tip-off against the Aggies is set for 7:00 p.m.
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