March 9, 2006
ANAHEIM, CA - Cal State Fullerton freshman Toni Thomas scored 18 of her game-high 24 points in the second half, but it wasn't enough to push the No. 3-seeded Titans past seventh-seeded Cal State Northridge as the Matadors upset the Titans, 74-70, in the quarterfinals of the Big West Conference Tournament on Thursday afternoon at the Anaheim Convention Center.
Fullerton finished its season 11-17 overall while Northridge improved to 10-19 overall and advance to face top-seeded UC Santa Barbara on Friday (March 10) at noon.
Thomas was 9-of-13 from the floor with a three-pointer early in the first half and 5-of-6 from the free throw line. Junior Charlee Underwood notched her second double-double in her last three games with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
A 9-0 run by Northridge gave the Matadors their largest lead of the second half at 54-49, but Thomas single-handedly brought her team back. Thomas scored nine of Fullerton's next 11 points to give the Titans a three-point edge at 63-60 with 9:16 remaining.
Neither team led by more than two points until a 7-0 run over a four-minute span reupped Northridge's lead to five with just over three minutes remaining.
Thomas scored the next four points on a lay-up and short jumper to get Fullerton to within a point with 1:38 remaining, but the Titans couldn't get over the hump.
Senior Amber Pruitt, who was held to just seven points, missed two free throws with :27 remaining that would have given the Titans the lead as the Matadors answered with a 3-for-4 performance at the line down the stretch to seal the win.
Cal State Fullerton held the lead for most of the first half, leading by as many as six points four minutes in. A 7-0 run by Northridge gave the Matadors their first lead of the game at 21-19 with 11:38 remaining and, after a jumper by sophomore Dayana Frias, extended their lead to five points thanks to a 9-4 run that included three-pointers by Lajoyce King and Jamie McCaa.
The back-and-forth continued throughout the remainder of the half as the lead changed hands seven times until Andrea Adams sunk a breakaway lay-up to tie the game at 41-41 heading into the lockerroom.
Fullerton shot 45 percent from the field, but just 37 percent in the second half. Northridge hit 47 percent from the field and 58 percent from three-point range.
The Titans, who entered the game leading the league in free throw percentage, hit just 9-of-16 (56 percent) from the line.