Dec. 10, 2011
FULLERTON, CA - Redshirt sophomore Mya Olivier scored inside to give Cal State Fullerton the lead and sophomore Alex Thomas added a free throw with two seconds remaining for some breathing room as the Titans rallied from a six-point deficit with less than three minutes to play to tip visiting Nevada, 76-74, on Saturday afternoon at Titan Gym.
The win snapped a five-game losing streak for the Titans (4-5 overall), who defeated the Wolf Pack for only the second time in the last 12 meetings between the two former conference rivals. Nevada, which lost another nail biter in overtime at Long Beach State on Thursday, fell to 2-7 with its fifth-consecutive defeat.
Senior Megan Richardson finished with a game-high 26 points on 8-of-14 from the field and 9-of-9 from the line, leading a trio of players in double figures. Olivier notched her second double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds and senior Lauren Chow added 10 points and six assists to pace Fullerton. For Olivier, it was her fourth double-digit rebounding performance in seven games this season.
Kate Kevorken finished with 21 points and nine rebounds for the Wolf Pack and was joined in double figures by teammates Kayla Williams, who had 13 points and eight rebounds before fouling out, and Danika Sharp, who added 12 points.
After trailing by as many as 12 points with just over eight minutes to play, Nevada found a way back into the contest much like they did against the 49ers two nights earlier when they erased a 14-point deficit and built a six-point lead late. Amanda Johnson's jumper kick-started a 19-1 run for Nevada, holding Fullerton to without a field goal for nearly six minutes and turning a 65-53 Titan lead into a 72-66 advantage for the Wolf Pack with 2:44 to play.
Nevada had a chance to extend its lead, but went cold from the line, missing four free throw attempts that would have extended its advantage into double digits and Fullerton took advantage. Freshman Chante Miles' driving lay-up "and one" ended Fullerton's drought and freshman Tailer Butler sank a pair of free throws following a Nevada turnover to make it a one-point game with 1:23 to play.
Two from the line by Kate Kevorkian put the Wolf Pack up by three, but that was the last of the scoring from Nevada as the Titans rallied back. Olivier sank two from the line after she grabbed a miss by Kathleen Iwuoha and then, after Megan Richardson had a lay-up blocked away, the Laguna Beach native scored off the inbounds underneath to put the Titans ahead, 75-74, with 51 seconds remaining.
Nevada had two chances to win the game in the final 20 seconds, but the possession arrow favored Fullerton on a jump ball out of a timeout and a foul sent Thomas to the line, who hit 1-of-2 to make it, 76-74, with just under three seconds left.
The Wolf Pack's Danika Sharp then corralled the rebound, but her half-court heave was blocked by Thomas at the buzzer to clinch the win.
The Titans, who hadn't shot higher than 29 percent from the floor in each of their last four games, hit on 46 percent for the game from the field, including a 50 percent clip in the first half when they led by as many as 10 points in carrying a 43-33 lead into the locker room at the break. Trailing by three, Fullerton used a 12-0 run over a three-minute span to break open the game and closed the first half with a 7-2 spurt en route to the halftime advantage.
Nevada shot 42 percent from the floor for the contest and 45 percent in the second half to power its rally, also holding a 40-31 rebounding advantage -- including a 16-9 lead on the offensive end. The two teams combined for 60 free throw attempts with the Titans shooting just under 85 percent to the Wolf Pack's 68 percent at the line.
Cal State Fullerton now takes the next 10 days off for final exams before returning to the court with a trip to the Bay Area before Christmas. The Titans take on San Francisco on Dec. 20 at War Memorial Gym before heading to San Jose State on Dec. 22. Both games are scheduled to tip at 7 p.m.