Feb. 1, 2012
FULLERTON, CA - Blair Shinoda's jumper in the paint with 10 seconds remaining snapped a 55-all tie and Cal State Fullerton's three-pointer at the buzzer just rimmed out as visiting UC Davis escaped Titan Gym with a 57-55 victory over the Titans on Wednesday night in Fullerton.
The loss was Fullerton's fourth in its last five Big West Conference contests as the Titans fell to 9-12 overall and 2-7 in league play. The Aggies posted their fifth win in their last six outings, improving to 14-7 overall and 6-3 in the Big West.
Senior Lauren Chow tied a season high with 15 points on 5-of-8 from the field, including scoring seven-straight points late in the second half to single handedly erase a six-point deficit and give Fullerton a one-point, 51-50, lead with 2:28 to play. Shinoda answered with her first basket of the game and a Lauren Juric completed a three-point play to put UC Davis up four, 55-51, with 1:19 remaining.
Sophomore Alex Thomas then took control, scoring inside to make it a two-point game then, after an Aggies turnover, drawing a foul on a three-point try in the left corner for a chance to give Fullerton the lead with 37 seconds to play. Thomas converted only 2-of-3 at the line, however, tying the game and setting up the tense final seconds.
UC Davis drove the ball down court and called a timeout to set up the play for Shinoda, who came across the top of the paint and sank an eight-footer to give the Aggies the lead. The Titans then drove back down court to set up the final sequence as freshman Chante Miles found herself with a good look at the right elbow, but her three-pointer rolled out and UC Davis secured the ball as time expired.
Freshman Tailer Butler added a career-high 14 points for the Titans, who were held to just 36 percent from the field in the second half while the Aggies hit 10-of-19 (.526) from the field after the break, including 4-of-6 from three-point range to rally back from a two-point halftime deficit.
Leading scorers Megan Richardson and Mya Olivier were held to just nine combined points after entering the night averaging a combined 26.4 ppg on the season. Hannah Stephens was the only Aggie in double figures, finishing with a team-high 14 points to lead a balanced attack.
Two big runs were the story of a tightly contested first half as both teams jockeyed for the lead. A 13-0 burst by the Titans after UC Davis had taken a two-point lead gave Fullerton its largest lead of the game at 19-8 with 9:22 to play in the opening period. After trading baskets, the Aggies' offense found a groove as a looping three-pointer by Juric jumpstarted a 14-3 run, tying the score at 24-24 with just over a minute to play.
UC Davis, held to just 37 percent shooting in the first half, had a chance to hold for the last shot, but threw the ball away with just over 10 seconds to play as the period came to a controversial end. Butler grabbed the ball on the left elbow and drove the lane as it looked like the Aggies had tied her up, but Juric was whistled for a foul as the buzzer sounded, sending Butler to the line.
The freshman sank both free throws, sending Fullerton to the locker room with a 26-24 lead at the break. The Titans shot 41 percent in the opening period and 5-of-9 from three-point range, including back-to-back-to-back three-pointers from Butler and Chow to key their 11-0 run.
Cal State Fullerton closes out its four-game homestand on Saturday (Feb. 4) at 2 p.m. as the Titans welcome Pacific to Titan Gym. The game is the first of a Homecoming doubleheader with the Fullerton men's team, which hosts UC Santa Barbara in a nationally televised ESPNU contest at 6 p.m.