Feb. 4, 2009
FULLERTON, CA - The Cal State Fullerton women's basketball team (6-13 overall, 3-5 in the Big West Conference) gets a chance to start anew as the Titans open the second go-round in league play this weekend on California's Central Coast. Fullerton opens on Thursday night (Feb. 5) at UC Santa Barbara before heading further up the coast to take on Cal Poly on Saturday (Feb. 7). Tip-offs are scheduled for 7 p.m. and 4 p.m., respectively.
CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?: Both of this week's contests will be broadcast live over the Internet at FullertonTitans.com. Patrick Alog will have the call live for both contests from The Thunderdome and Mott Gym.
I SEE YOU: For the third consecutive season, video for all of Cal State Fullerton's home women's basketball games and selected road contests will be streamed live over the Internet (on a subscription basis) thanks to Big West TV. For a monthly subscription of \$9.95 or an annual subscription of \$79.95, fans can catch all the exclusive action from Titan Gym and points beyond. For more information, please log on to www.BigWest.org/TV.
SCOUTING THE GAUCHOS: UC Santa Barbara enters the week atop the Big West Conference table with a perfect 8-0 record after the first run-through of conference play and a 13-7 record overall... UCSB had won 10 straight until falling to Cal State Bakersfield last Saturday, 69-67, on the road... Lauren Pedersen (12.1 ppg) and Jenna Green (10.6 ppg) lead the Gauchos offensively, with Green shooting better than 51 percent from the field for the season... Both players lead the team with 97 rebounds on the year while Green's 41 blocks are tops on the team.
THE SERIES: Following its 60-54 victory over Fullerton on Jan. 10 at Titan Gym, UC Santa Barbara extended its lead in the all-time series to 38-22, having won the last 31 consecutive meetings dating back to 1995... the losing streak stands among the top 10 in the nation against a single opponent... the last seven games between the two schools have all been decided by 10 points or fewer... the Titans are 8-18 all-time against the Gauchos in Santa Barbara, having lost 17 straight dating back to a 50-47 win on Feb. 12, 1991.
SCOUTING THE MUSTANGS: Cal Poly enters the weekend with a 13-7 overall record (tied with UC Santa Barbara for the most overall wins in the league this season) and are tied for third in the Big West with a 5-3 record - two games ahead of UC Davis and Cal State Fullerton in fifth place... The Mustangs have won four in a row and five of their last six following a sweep of their games last weekend, defeating Cal State Bakersfield (76-67) and Cal State Northridge (68-61) on the road... Reigning Big West Conference Co-Player of the Week Kristina Santiago leads a trio of Mustangs in double figures, averaging 15.0 points and 5.2 rebounds per game entering the week's games... Megan Harrison (12.2 ppg) and Lisa McBride (10.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg) are also in double figures.
THE SERIES: Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series with Cal Poly, 24-13, including a 67-53 win over the Mustangs at Titan Gym on Jan. 8... The Titans have won the last six straight in the series, including six of the last seven in San Luis Obispo... Fullerton is 7-9 all-time against Cal Poly on the Mustangs' home floor.
SHE'S \#2! SHE'S \#2!: Senior forward Toni Thomas became only the third women's basketball player to surpass 800 rebounds, grabbing nine boards last week against UC Riverside to move past Terri Withers into second place on the school's all-time rebounding list behind career leader Eugenia Miller-Rycraw (1,162). Thomas, who now has 809 career rebounds and ranks ninth with a career average of 7.6 rebounds per game, is only the fourth player (men's or women's) in school history to reach that plateau, joining Miller-Rycraw, Withers, and the career leader for the Titans' men's program, Tony Neal, who grabbed 1,115 rebounds in his illustrious four-year career.
STILL CLIMBING: Another big weekend has senior Toni Thomas poised to continue her march up the school's all-time scoring list as her 33 points last weekend against Long Beach State and UC Riverside inched her closer to yet another milestone in her illustrious career. Thomas, who enters the week with 1,658 points, needs a very manageable 73 points over the last eight regular season games (9.1 ppg) to tie Robin Holmes (1,731 career points) for third on the all-time list and 76 points to match Shayla Bradshaw (1,734) for second. The all-time school record is held by Eugenia Miller-Rycraw, who scored 2,415 career points in her four-year career from 1987-91.
NICE COMEBACK: Senior guard Daviyonne Weathersby made her return to the court last Saturday against UC Riverside after missing the previous four games due to injury. Weathersby showed no ill effects of a shoulder injury as she battled inside with post players from both sides to grab seven rebounds against the Highlanders - the fourth time she has either met or exceeded that total on the glass in 2008-09.
THOMAS CONTINUES STREAKING: Thomas hasn't missed a beat since missing the first three games of her collegiate career due to injury, scoring in double digits in nine of the team's last 10 games and averaging 15.6 points and 9.0 rebounds per game in that span. Thomas, who ranks fourth overall in the league in scoring entering the week at 14.5 ppg, is shooting .464 (52-for-112) from the field and .904 (47-for-52) from the free throw line over the last 10 games.
"FILL MY EYES WITH THAT DOUBLE-DOUBLE VISION...": No "Foreigner" to finding the basket, Toni Thomas' third straight double-double against Long Beach State last week moved her into a tie for third place on the school's all-time list with 26, matching Claudette Jackson's total from 1990-92. Thomas needs just nine more to match Erin Whiteside (1996-00) for second place and stand behind only career leader Eugenia Miller-Rycraw, who amassed 61 double-doubles in her brilliant four-year career with the Titans. The Cal State Fullerton sports information office would like to thank intern Nick Longo for his thorough scouring (and updating) of box scores dating back to the early 1980's for his help in compiling this list.
MIGHTY MEGAN: Since being held scoreless for the first time in her brief Titan career on Jan. 3 against UC Irvine, freshman Megan Richardson has herself quite a start to 2009, giving Head Coach Dr. Maryalyce Jeremiah another offensive weapon in the lineup. Richardson, the only freshman to rank among the league's top 15 in scoring this season, has reached double figures in six of the Titans' last eight games and averaging 14.5 ppg in that stretch. She tallied her first two career 20-point games against Pacific (21) and Cal State Bakersfield (a career-high 22 points) and is shooting .444 (44-for-99) from the field in that stretch.
MORE ON THE MIGHTY ROOKIE: Richardson's hot start to 2009 is thanks, in large part, to her hot shooting as the rookie stands seventh in the Big West entering the week with a .436 field goal percentage overall on the year.
WIN BIG OR GO HOME: Five of Cal State Fullerton's six victories this season have come by double digits, including a season-high 27-point victory over UC Irvine on Jan. 3 to ring in the New Year. The lone "blemish" was a three-point victory on the road at San Francisco on Dec. 10, 2008.
NOT FOR LACK OF EFFORT: Cal State Fullerton's five-game losing streak is its longest of the season and the longest since the Titans lost nine straight from Nov. 19-Dec. 31 last season. However, it hasn't been because of any sort of offensive woes as the Titans have three players averaging double figures in that stretch (Toni Thomas - 17.2 ppg, Megan Richardson - 15.4 ppg, and Lyndsey Grove - 10.0 ppg) and are averaging 66.2 ppg (well above their overall season average of 64.8 ppg). The opposition, on the other hand, has been shooting the lights out, hitting on almost 50 percent (151-for-303) from the field and averaging 74.4 ppg.
Lauren Chow - THE GUARD THAT KEEPS ON GIVING: Sophomore Lauren Chow enters the week as one of the league's top playmakers, ranking fourth in the league with 3.53 assists per game and fourth with 67 assists overall this season. She has also done well to take care of the ball herself, leading the league in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.60 (67 assists to 42 turnovers) - one of only five conference regulars to have more assists than miscues thus far this season.
FOR DESSERT?: It's safe to say a basketball turnover probably wouldn't taste very good as a meal-ender, but on the court, it has been a sweet statistic for the Titans. Fullerton's defense has forced its opponents into 389 turnovers on the season (a league best 20.5 per game), turning them into 373 points for the "good gals" - an average of 19.6 ppg. The Titans have forced 20-or-more turnovers in 11 of their 19 contests this season with a pair of 19-turnover games to boot. On the other hand, the Titans have also done a great job of taking care of the ball themselves, committing only 301 turnovers (fewest in the Big West) and ranking first in the league in turnover margin (+4.63) while notching 183 steals to rank second overall and tops in the league with 9.63 spg.
TITANS STRUGGLING TO "GO GREEN": Cal State Fullerton continues to try and find ways to harness the power of the sun as Saturday's loss to Cal State Bakersfield dropped the Titans to 1-8 in "day games" (contests played before 6 p.m.) this season, having lost five of their last six. While averaging almost the same amount scoring-wise from night to day (65.4 ppg to 64.6 ppg, respectively), the Titans are shooting much better "under the lights," shooting .384 (237-for-617) from the floor at night to just .370 during the day (216-for-583), and .313 (47-for-150) from three-point range to .277 (48-for-173) beyond the arc in day games.
SULTAN OF STEAL: Keep your eye on the ball or senior Daviyonne Weathersby just might make it disappear. Despite missing three games due to injury, Weathersby continues to rank second in the Big West Conference with 2.20 steals per game and tied for seventh overall with 33 swipes on the year. She has a steal in every game she has appeared in but one in 2008-09, including a season-high four steals in the season opener against Santa Clara, and is averaging 2.57 steals per game over her last seven contests.