Feb. 10, 2010
FULLERTON, CA - Cal State Fullerton freshman Mya Olivier's 10-foot jumper with less than two seconds remaining broke a 74-74 tie and lifted the host Titans to a thrilling two-point, 76-74, victory over UC Irvine on Wednesday night at Titan Gym.
The win improved Fullerton's record to 11-13 overall and 6-5 in Big West Conference play, rebounding from a similar two-point loss last weekend at UC Riverside when the Highlanders scored the go-ahead basket with two seconds remaining.
UCI fell to 8-16 overall and 5-6 in league play with the loss, dropping its second-straight contest.
Olivier's basket came after a make on the other end by the Anteaters' Mikah Maly-Karros, which tied the game with 11 seconds remaining. The Titans then pushed the ball quickly up the court as freshman Alicya Crisp dished to Olivier on the right baseline, where she sank the game-winner with 1.6 seconds remaining.
UC Irvine then called a timeout to set up a final play, but the Anteaters were called for travelling at mid-court before they could get off a final shot to secure Fullerton's victory.
Olivier finished with 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting, finishing as one of four players in double figures for the Titans. Sophomore Megan Richardson scored 15 of her team-high 19 points in the second half, including a trio of key three-pointers and 8-of-9 from the line. Junior Lyndsey Grove added 14 points and five rebounds while junior Ashley Richie added 17 points and seven rebounds off the bench.
Maly-Karros led all players with 20 points and nine rebounds for the Anteaters, who also had Rebecca Maessen and Keyonna Johnson in double figures with 12 points apiece.
Fullerton opened the game on an 8-0 run and did not allow UCI a field goal until a Maessen jumper with 13:19 remaining in the first half. The Titans led by as many as 15 points in the opening period, but the Anteaters did not go quietly chipping away with a 17-8 run that cut the lead down to just five points at 27-22 with 4:59 to play.
The lead grew back to nine points, but another spurt by UC Irvine - this one a 9-2 run - to close out the final 2:32, cut the Titans' lead to just two points at 33-31 at the break.
The Anteaters continued their burst into the second half, scoring six straight points to gain their first lead of the contest at 37-33 just 2:25 into the period. The two teams then traded baskets and free throws as the score became tied four times and the lead changed hands four times over the next five minutes, eventually settling on a 52-52 deadlock with 11:12 to play.
UC Irvine's offense, which shot 52 percent in the second half, wasn't done, using a 12-5 run to build its largest lead of the contest at 62-57 with 7:55 remaining. Richardson and Richie then brought the Titans back, hitting three-pointers around a pair of free throws by Keyonna Johnson to pull to within a point and then tying the score once again at 64-64 on a free throw by Grove.
A three-pointer by Crisp broke the tie with 5:10 remaining and 5-of-8 from the line held off the hard-charging Anteaters, who never let Fullerton get further away than three points in the final three minutes to set up the tense conclusion.
The Titans shot just over 43 percent for the contest, including a 50 percent clip in the second half to help power their rally. However, Fullerton was almost undone by 20 turnovers on the night that led to 31 UCI points. The Anteaters shot just under 45 percent for the game, but was outrebounded, 37-31, for the contest.
Cal State Fullerton returns to the court on Saturday evening (Feb. 13) at 5 p.m. as the Titans host Cal State Northridge, a 69-51 loser to Seattle University on Wednesday night in non-conference play, at Titan Gym.