Second Half Rally Lifts Host Long Beach State to 64-59 Victory
Jan. 19, 2006
LONG BEACH, CA -
Cal State Fullerton junior Charlee Underwood had a double-double with a game-high 20 points and 13 rebounds and led two other Titans in double figures, but it wasn't enough to offset a huge second half rally by Long Beach State as the host 49ers came from behind to defeat the Titans, 64-59, on Thursday night at The Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, Calif.
The loss snaps the Titans three-game winning streak as they fall to 5-11 overall, 3-3 in the Big West Conference. Fullerton also remained winless on the road at 0-9. The 49ers remain unblemished in conference play, improving to 12-5 overall, 5-0 in league action.
For Underwood it was her third 20-point effort of the season and her first double-double of the season as she increased her team-leading average to 13.4 points per game. Freshman Toni Thomas finished with 19 points, just three short of her career high, while senior Amber Pruitt finished with 13 points.
Long Beach State was led offensively by the conference's leading scorer Crystal McCutcheon and Fernanda Santos, who tallied 17 points each. Karina Figueroa added 11 points while Meghan Griffith finished with 10 points off the bench.
Cal State Fullerton trailed by only one at the break despite shooting just 33 percent in the first half. Thomas led the way with 11 first-half points for the Titans, who rallied from eight points down to take their first lead at 21-20 on a jumper by Thomas thanks to an 12-3 run.
The two teams traded baskets until back-to-back jumpers by the 49ers' Meghan Griffith and McCutcheon put them up by four at 28-24 with 2:38 to play.
Fullerton answered as Underwood went on a personal 5-0 run to put the Titans back up by one with 1:44 to go, but a jumper by McCutcheon with :23 left in the half gave Long Beach State the 30-29 advantage at the break.
The Titans answered the bell in the second half with a vengance, scoring the first six points of the period and holding the 49ers scoreless for the first five minutes of the half until McCutcheon hit a lay-up at the 15:03 mark to make it 35-32.
Fullerton's run continued as a three-point play by Underwood and a jumper from the free throw line by Dayana Frias gave the Titans their biggest lead of the game at 40-32 with 12:56 left in period.
However, Fullerton's offense went cold from the floor as a 9-2 run by Long Beach State brought the 49ers back to within one point at 42-41 with 8:49 remaining.
After trading baskets back-to-back baskets by Thomas and Pruitt upped Fullerton's lead to 50-47, but that would be the last the Titans would see of the lead.
A 7-0 run by Long Beach State gave the 49ers the lead for good at 54-50 with 1:49 remaining and they closed out the game on a 17-9 run despite Fullerton's best efforts to keep it close.
Underwood hit a three-pointer to cut a six-point deficit down to three with :53 remaining, another three-pointer by Underwood cut a Long Beach State lead to two points with 36 seconds remaining, and a three-pointer by Pruitt with :28 left brought the Titans to within one point at 60-59.
However, the 49ers hit all four of their free throw opportunities in the final 19 seconds to secure the win.
The Titans, who entered the week leading the Big West in the free throw line hit only 6-of-13 from the line, but were in the minority in the free throw column as the 49ers went to the line 29 times in the contest, making 18. Fullerton shot just under 36 percent from the field for the contest to Long Beach State's 39 percent.
Cal State Fullerton returns to the court on Saturday (Jan. 21) at 4 p.m. as the Titans visit the Bren Center to take on UC Irvine.