Fullerton's Rally Falls Short as UC Santa Barbara Ekes Out, 79-78, Victory

Feb. 23, 2006

Box Score

FULLERTON, CA - Cal State Fullerton had four players in double figures and the Titans battled back from an eight point deficit in the final four minutes, but it wasn't enough as visiting UC Santa Barbara escaped with a 79-78 victory over Fullerton on Thursday night at Titan Gym.

With the loss, the Titans fell to 9-16 overall, 6-7 in the Big West Conference. The Gauchos improved to 13-11 overall, 8-3 in league play, and posted their 25th consecutive win over Fullerton.

The one-point margin was the closest in the streak since a 90-87 overtime win by UCSB on Feb. 4, 1996.

In a contest that featured 13 ties and 11 lead changes, Fullerton led by two points with just under eight minutes remaining, but a 13-3 run by the Gauchos over the next four-plus minutes built UCSB's largest lead of the game up to eight points at 73-65 with 3:42 remaining.

Freshman Toni Thomas hit a jumper and junior Andrea Adams followed with a three-pointer to get the lead back down to three points just under a minute later, but a three-point play by the Gauchos' Jenna Green upped the lead back to six with 2:12 left.

The Titans kept chipping away, getting a basket by junior Charlee Underwood and a three-pointer by senior Amber Pruitt sandwiched around a 1-for-2 performance at the line by UCSB's LaShay Fears got the Titans to within two points with 40 seconds left.

After two missed free throws by UC Santa Barbara's Jessica Wilson, Fullerton's last chance to tie was swiped away by Fears, who went in uncontested for a lay-up and a four-point Gauchos lead.

Underwood came back down court and hit a three-pointer as time expired, but the Titans came up one point short.

Cal State Fullerton led by as many as seven points in a back-and-forth first half with 11:44 remaining, but an 11-4 run over the next two minutes by UC Santa Barbara tied the game at 21-21.

The Titans led by no more than four points for the rest of the half, but the Gauchos took their first lead since early in the game thanks to a 6-1 run to close out the half and hold a 39-38 lead at the break.

Underwood led all players with 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting, leading three teammates in double figures. Thomas notched her third straight double-double (and team-best sixth of the season) with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Pruitt followed with 14 points and nine boards while Andrea Adams had 13 points.

UCSB was led by Green's 19 points and a double-double from Autumn Nichols (14 points, 10 rebounds. Ana Onaindia added 10 points off the bench for the Gauchos in the win.

Fullerton outshot UC Santa Barbara, 45 percent to 41 percent, but the Gauchos held a 43-40 advantage on the boards.

The Titans close out Big West Conference play on Saturday afternoon (Feb. 25) at 2 p.m. as they host Cal Poly at Titan Gym in the final home appearances of seniors Tessa Moon and Amber Pruitt, who will be honored prior to tip-off.

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