Jan. 8, 2011
FULLERTON, CA - Cal State Fullerton shot 60 percent in the second half, cutting an 18-point deficit down to just five points with five minutes to play, but UC Riverside came through in the clutch with a 12-5 run to close out the contest - including 6-of-6 from the line - en route to a 73-61 victory on Saturday afternoon at Titan Gym.
Junior Megan Richardson led the Titans with 14 points, pacing two other teammates in double figures as Fullerton (5-11 overall, 1-3 in Big West Conference play) dropped its third-straight contest and its 10th in the last 12 outings.
Rhaya Neabors scored a game-high 20 points for the Highlanders, who improved to 7-7 overall and 1-1 in Big West Conference play, snapping a five-game losing streak in the process. Tre'Shonti Nottingham scored 10 of her 14 points in the final 1:30 of the game - including all six of the Highlanders free throws - to hold off the Titans while Rheya Neabors contributed 11 points and six rebounds in the victory.
After trailing by as many as 18 points just three minutes in, Fullerton's offense chipped away at the deficit, using a 19-9 run to bring the Titans back to within single digits at 50-42 with 9:44 to play. A three-pointer by Alyssa Morris got some of the points back, but Neal responded with a three of her own to kick-start an 8-2 spurt to make it 55-50 with 5:38 to play.
The Highlanders answered by scoring six of the next seven points to push their advantage back to 10, but back-to-back baskets by Simone Lutu and Megan Richardson brought Fullerton back in close with 1:46 to play.
Out of a Cal State Fullerton timeout, UCR used a final push to put the game away as the Highlanders allowed only one field goal over the final minute and forced a pair of turnovers to run out the clock.
Turnovers were a problem for the Titans, who committed 24 miscues on the day, leading to 32 points for UC Riverside, which held Fullerton to just 32 percent in the first half en route to a 37-19 halftime lead. The 19 points for the Titans were the second-lowest in a single half for Fullerton this season, just edging out the 18 points scored at Gonzaga on Dec. 23.
Both teams traded field goals for the first three minutes as the Titans briefly held a one-point advantage at 5-4 on a three-point play by Grove. The Highlanders then took control, exploding for a 15-0 run over the next six minutes until freshman Jasmine Grayson hit a jumper to end the skid for Fullerton.
The Titans muscled their way back to within eight points with just over nine minutes to play, but an 18-8 run to close out the first half by UCR gave the Highlanders the 18-point advantage at the break.
UC Riverside outrebounded Fullerton, 34-28, and had 21 assists on 31 made shots while hitting on just under 48 percent from the floor for the game - including a 61 percent clip in the first half.
Fullerton closes out its four-game homestand next week with a pair of contests at Titan Gym. The Titans host Cal Poly on Thursday (Jan. 13) at 7 p.m. before welcoming Cal State Northridge on Saturday (Jan. 15) at 3 p.m.