Titans Return to the Road for Big West Match-Ups at Northridge, Pacific

Titans Return to the Road for Big West Match-Ups at Northridge, Pacific

Jan. 3, 2007

FULLERTON, CA - Following a split of its Big West Conference openers last week, the Cal State Fullerton women's basketball team (6-9 overall, 1-1 Big West) hits the road for the first time since mid-December as the Titans continue conference play. Fullerton travels north to Cal State Northridge on Thursday (Jan. 4) for a 7 p.m. tip-off at The Matadome before heading to Stockton, Calif., for a contest against Pacific on Saturday (Jan. 6) at 7 p.m.

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Both of Cal State Fullerton's upcoming contests against Cal State Northridge and Pacific can be heard live over the Internet this week. Log on to www.fullertontitans.com to listen to the Titans-Matadors clash while www.pacifictigers.com will carry the Fullerton-Pacific match-up on Saturday.

Live streaming video for all Cal State Fullerton home games and select road contests will be available once again during the regular season through a partnership with the Big West Conference and CSTV. The subscription video service is \$79.95 for the entire season or \$9.95 per month. For more information, please visit the Big West website at www.bigwest.org/tv.

CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE: Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series with Cal State Northridge by a 26-5 count dating back to the 1970-71 season... The Matadors have won two straight meetings in the series after the schools split their two regular season meetings and the Matadors triumphed in the second round of the Big West Tournament... The Titans are 13-2 all-time on the road against Northridge, including winning four of the last five meetings at The Matadome dating back to the 2000 season... PACIFIC: The Tigers hold a 29-15 lead in the series with the Titans dating back to 1981-82... the two school's split their two meetings last season with each team winning on its home court... Fullerton is 5-16 all-time in Stockton, losing 13 of the last 14... the Titans snapped a 12-game road losing streak to Pacific with an 80-59 with in 2005.

Cal State Northridge is 4-9 overall, but 1-0 in the Big West Conference after a 22-point win over Pacific to open league play and snap a four-game losing streak. The Matadors feature the league's top offense with four players averaging better than 10 points per game. Senior Ofa Tulikihihifo, who missed all of last season due to injury, has come back in a big way, averaging a team-best 15.3 ppg and 6.5 rebounds per contest while shooting 46 percent from the floor. LaJoyce King is second on the team in scoring at 12.8 ppg and leads the team at 9.9 rpg.

Pacific is 6-8 overall in 2006-07 after winning just six games in all of last season. The Tigers are 0-1 in Big West play after falling to Cal State Northridge in the league opener. Pacific, which has lost two straight after winning back-to-back games for the first time this season against Sacramento State and Lafayette, is led offensively by Karen Dawkins, who is averaging 14.0 ppg and 8.7 rpg this season. She is one of three Tigers in double figures as she is joined by Jake Kelly (13.0 ppg) and Kelsey Lavender (10.8 ppg).

Senior Charlee Underwood's combined 33 points in last week's Big West Conference openers have her continuing her meteoric rise up the Fullerton scoring list, giving her 1,132 points for her career - good for 10th place. She needs only 32 more points to pass Cheryl Peterson (1978-81) for ninth all-time.

Senior Andrea Adams' recent scoring exploits have her listed among the school's top 25 scorers as her 710 career points place her No. 24 on the charts. Adams' next basket will move her past Laura Smith (1980-82) for No. 23 all-time.

Cal State Fullerton leads the Big West Conference this season with a .739 free throw percentage as the Titans have shot 70 percent or better from the line in nine of team's 15 games this season - including a single-game high of .941 (32-of-34) in a win over San Francisco.

A trio of Titans have been almost automatic from the free throw line over the course of the last four games, led by Toni Thomas, who enters this week ranked second in the league with an .803 free throw percentage. Thomas has missed only twice (21-for-23) over the last four games, shooting just over 91 percent. She is followed by Charlee Underwood, who is shooting 81 percent (13-for-16) in that same stretch and India McDaniel, who is hitting on 79 percent (26-for-33).

Sophomore Toni Thomas, who has scored in double figures in 14 of the Titans' 15 games this season, has gotten back on the scoring track since being held to just two points against San Diego on Dec. 16, averaging 17.5 ppg over her last four contests, including a 20-point outing against UC Santa Barbara and a double-double against Cal State Bakersfield.

After suffering through a stretch that saw her hit just 1-of-22 from the field, senior shooting guard Andrea Adams is starting to come alive once again. Adams was a perfect 6-for-6 from the floor and finished with 13 points in the Titans' Big West opener against Cal Poly and had nine points on a trio of three-pointers in a narrow loss to UC Santa Barbara. She is shooting 41 percent from the field in her last four games (after shooting just 21 percent in her first 11) and 43 percent from the three-point line.

Titans senior Charlee Underwood likes playing against Cal State Northridge and Pacific. Underwood has averaged a career-best 14.6 ppg in five outings against the Tigers (including double digits in four of the five games) and 13.2 ppg against the Matadors (including double digits in the last four outings). The combined 27.8 ppg against the two travel partners is tops ahead of the 26.4 ppg against Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara and 26.2 ppg against Long Beach State and UC Irvine.

Cal State Fullerton will be looking to end its six-game road losing streak this week in Northridge and Stockton as the Titans are just 1-6 away from Titan Gym in 2006-07. Fullerton, which is averaging just under 71 points per game and shooting 41 percent from the field in eight contests at home, is averaging just under 54 points on the road while shooting 35 percent from the field and being outrebounded by seven boards per game.

Cal State Fullerton is holding opponents to only 67.0 ppg this season - ranking third in the league. A lot of that has to do with the pressure from a squad that has forced a league-high 328 turnovers and leads the Big West in turnover margin at +3.33 per game.

Should sophomore Toni Thomas keep up her current scoring pace (17.3 ppg) over the Titans' 15 remaining games, she would be in line to become the first Titan player to score 500 points in a single season since Koko Lahanas led the nation in scoring with 778 points (26.8 ppg) in 1994-95. Thomas' current pace would put her at 520 points for the year - which would rank 10th on the single-season list.

Cal State Fullerton's Toni Thomas (17.3 ppg) and Charlee Underwood (14.7 ppg) each rank among the league's top five scorers - making them the best 1-2 offensive punch in the Big West. The duo has combined to score 466 points (32.0 ppg) and has accounted for about half of the team's 62.9 ppg this season.

Pacific's duo of Karen Dawkins (14.4 ppg) and Jake Kelly (13.8 ppg), who have combined to score 338 points (14.1 ppg) this season, is second on the list while Cal State Northridge's Ofa Tulikihihifo (15.3 ppg) and LaJoyce King (12.8 ppg) have combined to score 327 points and rank fourth.

This holiday season, giving has been better than receiving for the Titans' India McDaniel. The senior is averaging a Big West Conference-best 4.40 assists per game and is averaging just under six assists per game over the team's last nine contests. Earlier this year, McDaniel notched a career-best 11 assists to go with 17 points in a win over Colorado on Dec. 7 for her first career double-double.

After its loss to Cal State Bakersfield on Dec. 20, Cal State Fullerton fell to 0-3 against first-time opponents this season, following up losses to Iowa State and Texas-Arlington. The Titans have lost five of their last six meetings against first-time opponents dating back to last season with the lone exception being an 84-63 victory over Utah Valley State on Jan. 26, 2006.

In honor of the late James Brown, who passed away early on Christmas morning, we'd like to introduce you to three of the "hardest working women" in Big West Conference women's basketball this season: sophomore Toni Thomas, senior India McDaniel, and senior Charlee Underwood. The trio, who make up three-fifth's of Cal State Fullerton's starting lineup, all rank in the top 10 in the league in minutes played this season as Thomas is No. 5 at 34.53 mpg, McDaniel is No. 7 at 33.13 minutes per game, and Underwood is ninth at 32.57 minutes per contest. In addition, McDaniel has gone the distance in a single game twice this season, playing all 40 minutes against Montana State (Nov. 24) and Colorado (Dec. 7) while Underwood and Thomas have each done it once against Northern Colorado (Dec. 9) and UC Santa Barbara (Dec. 30), respectively.

With her three assists on Dec. 9 against Northern Colorado, senior guard Audrey Taylor became just the ninth Titan to notch at least 300 assists in a career and currently stands ninth on the school's all-time list with 318 - just 14 behind Marissa Frial (332 assists from 1991-95) for eighth place.

Cal State Fullerton senior India McDaniel was a perfect 15-for-15 from the free throw line in the Titans' victory over San Francisco on Dec. 18 - the best single-game performance from the line in school history. McDaniel's 15 free throws also tied the school record by a single player held by Claudette Jackson (15-of-16 vs. UNLV on Jan. 19, 1991) and Eugenia Miller-Rycraw (15-of-16 vs.Wisconsin-Green Bay on Dec. 30, 1989).

The 15 attempts were the most by a Titan since Erin Whiteside went to the line 15 times against San Jose State on Jan. 2, 2000. The single-game record for attempts is held by Koko Lahanas, who was 14-of-20 from the line vs. Cal Poly on Feb. 14, 1995.

The 32 free throws made by the Titans as a team against the Dons, matched the school record set by the 1984 team against Arizona State on Feb. 18 of that year. In a media guide correction, the record for attempts is now 50 set by the Titans against Oakland University on Nov. 16, 1998.

The 89 points scored by the Titans on Dec. 7 against Colorado were the most for a Fullerton squad since the Titans put up 96 points in a victory at Long Beach State on Feb. 22, 1998 (96-87). The 49 second-half points against the Buffaloes was also a season-high (in either half) for Fullerton and the most since the Titans scored 52 in the second half against Pacific on Feb. 16, 2006.

Borrowing a line from the great Jimi Hendrix. Not only are the Titans the most experienced team in the Big West Conference with eight upperclassmen, they are among the nation¹s best in a survey of schools conducted by University of Florida women¹s basketball SID Kathy Cafazzo. According to the schools that responded to the survey, Cal State Fullerton¹s roster ranks tied for No. 9 in the nation 24 combined years of experience (South Carolina leads with 28) and No. 14 in the country according to the number of combined starts with 250 (James Madison leads with 365 combined starts by its 14-woman roster).

Senior Charlee Underwood and Toni Thomas became the first Titan teammates to score 20 points in the same game since the 1998-99 season when Erin Whiteside and Niesha Cleveland had 22 and 28 points, respectively, to lead Fullerton to an overtime win over Oakland University in the season opener on Nov. 16.

Fullerton¹s 14-of-35 shooting from three-point range on Nov. 15 on the road at Iowa State set school single-game records for three-point shooting, surpassing the previous marks of 13 three-pointers made (against Nevada on Feb. 26, 1994) and 32 attempts (four times, last vs. Nevada, Jan. 8, 1994).

The clash between Southern California rivals Cal State Fullerton and UCLA drew 672 fans to Titan Gym - the largest Titan Gym crowd for a women¹s basketball game (not including doubleheaders with the men¹s team) since the Titans defeated Louisiana Tech, 84-80, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in front of 813 fans on March 13, 1991.

Fullerton is the only team in the Big West Conference with a roster comprised entirely of Californians. Taking this theme one step further, the Big West Conference is the only conference in the nation, at any level, with its membership completely contained in a single state.

Cal State Fullerton was picked to finish sixth in the Big West Conference this season in a poll of media members and league coaches conducted at the conference¹s annual media day event at the Irvine Hilton Hotel on Oct. 25. UC Riverside was the slight favorite by a single point over UC Santa Barbara according to the coaches with the Gauchos and UCR flip-flopping spots in the media poll. Both groups had Long Beach State third, Cal State Northridge fourth, Cal State Fullerton sixth and Pacific eighth. Cal Poly and UC Irvine were interchanged at fifth and seventh with the coaches favoring UCI and the media leaning toward the Mustangs.

The Titans¹ 2006-07 non-conference schedule will be one of the most difficult in recent memory. Two of the opponents are already receiving preseason accolades as UCLA (Nov. 30) is ranked No. 23 and Drake (Nov. 19) is receiving votes in the ESPN/USA Today Preseason top 25. In addition, three of Fullerton¹s first six games (with the possibility of a fourth) will be against schools that finished among the top 120 of last year¹s RPI standings: Iowa State (70), Nebraska (73), Drake (104), and Texas-Arlington (119). The home schedule then kicks off against a pair of postseason squads as Fresno State (final RPI of 80) visits on Nov. 28 after making the second round of the WNIT and the Bruins (final RPI of 21) come calling after a second-round NCAA appearance.


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