Gauchos, Tigers Visit to Tip-Off Stretch Run

Feb. 16, 2011

FULLERTON, CA -

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THIS WEEK...
UC Santa Barbara at Cal State Fullerton
Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011
7 p.m.
Titan Gym (4,000) | Fullerton, CA
Gametracker | Live Audio | Big West TV

Pacific at Cal State Fullerton
Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011
3 p.m.
Titan Gym (4,000) | Fullerton, CA
Gametracker | Live Audio | Big West TV

TIP-OFF: It will be a battle for survival as the Cal State Fullerton women's basketball team enters its stretch run as the Titans look to hang on to one of eight berths for the 2011 Big West Conference Tournament with a pair of games this weekend. Fullerton, which enters the week one game ahead of Cal State Northridge for the No. 8 spot, opens the week against nemesis UC Santa Barbara on Thursday (Feb. 17) at 7 p.m. before welcoming Pacific to Titan Gym on Saturday (Feb. 19) for a 3 p.m. tip-off.

TITANS "THINK PINK" AGAINST THE TIGERS: In support of breast cancer awareness, the Cal State Fullerton women's basketball team will host its fourth-annual "Pink Game" on Saturday against Pacific as part of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association's "Pink Zone" initiative to promote breast cancer awareness and prevention. Fans are encouraged to wear pink to Saturday's game in support of the event. The Titans are 2-1 in it's "Pink Games" over the past three seasons, defeating Cal Poly (70-55) in 2008 and Pacific (62-51) in 2009 before falling to Cal State Northridge (72-64) last season.

BE A FOLLOWER: Fans can keep up with the latest in Titans athletics by following us on Facebook (CSUF Athletics), Twitter (@CSUFAthletics) and Vimeo.com (vimeo.com/fullertontitans). In addition, the women's basketball team has established its own official Facebook fan page (search for Cal State Fullerton Women's Basketball).

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? GOOD!: Thanks to a partnership with Arizona-based Stretch Internet, select Cal State Fullerton women's basketball contests will be broadcast live over the Internet at FullertonTitans.com. To access the links, click on the headphones icon in the upper right-hand corner of FullertonTitans.com. Patrick Alog will have the call live on Thursday against UC Santa Barbara with Mike Martinez filling in for Saturday's broadcast against Pacific.

I SEE YOU: For the fifth consecutive season, live streaming video for all of Cal State Fullerton's home regular season contests and selected road games will be available (on a subscription basis) live over the Internet courtesy the Big West TV platform. For a monthly subscription of \$9.95 or an annual subscription of \$79.95, fans can catch all the exclusive action from the comfort of their home computers. For more information, please log on to BigWest.org/TV. Live video will be available for both of this weekend's games.

I NEED STATS, STAT!: For the second consecutive season, Cal State Fullerton men's and women's basketball will feature live stats via CBS College Sports' Gametracker interface for all of the Titans' home games as well as select road contests. Links will be available on both the men's and women's basketball schedule pages at FullertonTitans.com.

UC SANTA BARBARA BRIEFLY: The Gauchos enter the week with a 14-10 overall record and an 8-4 mark in Big West Conference play for second place in the standings... UCSB has won two straight and four of its last five after sweeping UC Irvine and UC Riverside at home last weekend... the Gauchos are 7-6 away from home this season, winning two of their last three... Emilie Johnson leads the team in scoring at 12.9 ppg and is shooting 39 percent from the field to go with 80 assists (3.33 apg) and 29 steals... Mekia Valentine is averaging a double-double of 10.7 ppg and 10.2 rpg while shooting 61 percent from the floor and blocking 88 shots... UCSB is averaging 63.2 ppg as a team and shooting just under 43 percent for the season while holding opponents to just 58.0 ppg and 35 percent shooting overall... the Gauchos lead the league in scoring defense, field goal percentage, and field goal percentage defense while also topping the league in rebounding, rebounding defense, and blocked shots.

PACIFIC BRIEFLY: The Tigers enter the weekend with a 7-17 overall record and a 4-7 mark in Big West play for seventh place - one-half game ahead of Fullerton in the standings... Pacific will travel to UC Irvine on Thursday before heading to Titan Gym for Saturday's contest... the Tigers snapped a two-game losing streak with their 65-60 victory over UC Davis last weekend, rebounding from a pair of losses to UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly a week before... freshman Danielle Peacon leads the team in scoring at 12.6 ppg and is tied for the lead at 6.5 rpg with teammate Kendall Rodriguez... Jordan Rogers is also in double figures, averaging 10.3 ppg... Pacific is averaging 63.4 ppg as a team and shooting just over 39 percent from the field while holding opponents to 71.0 ppg and 42 percent shooting from the floor this season.

SERIES NOTES: UC Santa Barbara has dominated the series with Cal State Fullerton as of late, winning the last 36 consecutive meetings between the two schools dating back to the Titans' last win in 1995... the Gauchos, which once trailed in the series by a 22-7 count, now lead the series, 43-32... Fullerton is 12-14 all-time against UCSB at home, but has lost 15 consecutive games at Titan Gym dating back to Feb. 26, 1995 (an 89-86 victory)... Pacific leads the all-time series with Cal State Fullerton, 33-22, snapping a four-game losing streak in the series with a four-point win in Stockton earlier this year... the Titans are 13-12 all-time against the Tigers at home, winning five straight dating back to 2006.

TITANS DROP TO SEVENTH AMONG BIG WEST TEAMS IN LATEST RPI: Cal State Fullerton took a step back in the latest RPI rankings released by the NCAA on Feb. 13, dropping to seventh among Big West Conference teams and entering the week ranked No. 291 out of 343 teams - a drop of 15 spots from a week ago. Saturday's opponent, Pacific, made the biggest jump of any Big West team this week, leaping 28 spots to No. 278, while UC Davis had the biggest drop of any conference team, falling 32 spots to No. 124 - good for third-best in the conference. UC Riverside is highest-ranked team according to the RPI, standing at No. 110 this week with UC Santa Barbara coming in at No. 113 this week. The rest of the league shakes out like this: Cal Poly (No. 146), UC Irvine (No. 181), Long Beach State (No. 310), Cal State Northridge (No. 317).

WINS WANTED: What team doesn't like to win? For Cal State Fullerton, however, the last four games of the season are even more important as the Titans are playing for their postseason lives. Fullerton enters the week just one game ahead of last-place Cal State Northridge for the eighth, and final, Big West Conference Tournament berth, but also is just three games back of fourth-place UC Davis and home-court advantage in the revamped tournament format that has the top four seeds hosting first-round contests before advancing on to the semfinal and championship games at the Honda Center in Anaheim. Fullerton holds the tiebreaker in the standings against only one team (Long Beach State - which is currently tied for fifth with UC Irvine) and won its first meeting with UC Davis earlier in the year, but needs victories to tie-up the season series' with UC Santa Barbara and Pacific.

ADVANTAGE FOR ADVANTAGE?: As the Titans make a run at the aforementioned home court advantage for the tournament, they will have the advantage of playing on their home court in three of their final four games this season after playing five of their last seven on the road. How important is that? Fullerton is 5-4 at home this season as compared to just 3-13 away from home (including a 0-1 mark in neutral site games).

RICHARDSON ON A ROLL: Since being held to just seven points on Jan. 22 in a disastrous trip to UC Santa Barbara, junior Megan Richardson has been on a roll offensively as of late, averaging 17.2 ppg over the team's last five contests and shooting just under 40 percent from the field, reaching double figures in all five contests, including a high of 24 points last week against Cal State Northridge.

BUSHONG STARTS, SETS STANDARD: Aside from making her first career start last weekend at Cal State Northridge, sophomore Lauren Bushong also had a bang-up night offensively, setting a new career high with 12 points to go with seven rebounds and three blocks against the Matadors - surpassing her previous career high of 10 points set earlier this season against Cal State Northridge. In two games against the Matadors this season, Bushong is averaging 11.0 ppg (including 12-of-15 from the free throw line) and 6.0 rpg to go with four total blocks.

NEAL FINDING HER RANGE: Freshman Yvont'e Neal has put together a nice string of offensive performances as of late, reaching double figures in scoring in three of her last five games (averaging 8.0 ppg in that stretch) and raising her season average nearly a full point from 3.8 ppg on Jan. 22 to 4.7 ppg entering this weekend. Neal, who made her first career start at UC Irvine on Feb. 3, has started the last three contests for the Titans, averaging 8.6 ppg in that stretch.

DOUBLING UP: With their performances last week, Megan Richardson and Lyndsey Grove notched, respectively, their 19th and 20th double-digit scoring performances of the season. Combined, their totals are 12 more than the rest of the Titans' roster (27 double-digit scoring games) on the season. Richardson's 24 points against the Matadors was also her seventh, 20-point game of the year, giving her 19 for her career - the most among active Fullerton players.

WHERE'S THE THREE?: After finishing three straight games with 10-or-more three-pointers made, the Titans' long distance line has run into a bit of static as Fullerton has struggled from beyond the arc as of late. The Titans, who shot .388 (31-for-80) from three-point range during their streak, have hit just 10-of-41 (.244) from long range in their last two games, falling to fourth in the conference overall (.325) in the category this season. Fullerton, however, has not been killed by the long ball this season as the Titans lead the Big West Conference in three-point percentage defense, holding opponents to just 29 percent from beyond the arc entering the weekend.

MAYBE WE NEED MORE GAMES: Last week's loss to Cal State Northridge marked the fourth time this season that the Titans have suffered defeat during a week in which they play only once. Fullerton, which fell by the score of 71-65 last weekend in Northridge, also lost its first three single-game weeks this season by an average of 39 points to the likes of Bowling Green (L, 91-51) on Dec. 4, Pepperdine (L, 80-52) on Dec. 18, and Gonzaga (L, 101-52) on Dec. 23 - all three also on the road. Bad news for the Titans? Their final two games of the season - at Cal Poly on Feb. 24 and home against UC Davis on March 5 - are one-game weeks.

NEWS AT 11: Junior Megan Richardson continued her assault on the school's scoring marks as her 24 points last week inched the Manhattan Beach native ever closer to the top 10 on the school's all-time scoring list. Richardson, who enters this week's contests with 1,196 career points, needs just 58 more points to match Marlene Kline (1979-83) for 10th all-time and 95 more points will place the junior into ninth place, passing Andrea Thieme (1995-99).

A FRESH START: The addition of Lauren Bushong to the starting lineup last week in Northridge meant the Titans rolled out their 10th different starting line-up this season. Only junior Megan Richardson and senior Lyndsey Grove have been mainstay's in the starting five as the duo are the only players to have started all 25 games for Fullerton this season.

POINTS... FOR FREEEEEEEEE!: Cal State Fullerton continues to lead the Big West Conference and rank No. 13 in the nation in free throw percentage, hitting .757 from the line thus far this season - 18 points better than second place Cal Poly (.741) - led by Lyndsey Grove's (.818) and Megan Richardson's (.813) stellar seasons from the line which stand fourth and fifth in the league, respectively. Should the Titans remain atop the category at the end of the year, Fullerton will become only the second school in the history of the Big West Conference to lead the league in free throw percentage in three consecutive seasons joining the 1991-94 Hawaii squads. Overall, the Titans have led the Big West in free throw percentage five times, including three of the last four seasons.

WHAT'S YOUR LINE?: Fullerton has shot 70 percent or better from the line in 20 of its 25 games and has hit 80 percent or better in eight of its last 11 contests.

"400" - THE SEQUEL TO "300": Earlier this season, junior Megan Richardson became part of a select group in Cal State Fullerton women's basketball history, becoming the 11th player in the history of the program to have scored 300 points in three consecutive seasons. Now, with 22 more points in 2011, Richardson would ascend to rarer air, becoming only the ninth player in school history to reach 400 points in back-to-back seasons - the first since Toni Thomas in 2006-08. Richardson would join Nancy Dunkle (1975-77), Claudette Jackson (1990-92), Cheryl Peterson (1979-81), Joey Ray (1990-92), and Thomas among the group with back-to-back seasons while Shayla Bradshaw (1993-96), Genia Miller (1988-91), and Nancy Ratliff (1980-83) accomplished the feat in three consecutive seasons.

IRON WOMEN: Senior Lyndsey Grove played in her 100th career game at Pepperdine on Dec. 18, joining a select group of 33 Titans - including teammate Ashley Richie, who joined the club on Dec. 4 at Bowling Green - who have appeared in at least 100 career games. Barring injury and major catastrophe, both Richie (117 games) and Grove (114 games) both have a great chance to break the current career mark held by Genia Miller with seven regular season games remaining plus any possible conference tournament and postseason contests. Miller played in 118 games during her career from 1987-91, and her mark could be matched by Richie as soon as Feb. 17 against UC Santa Barbara at Titan Gym.

MILESTONE FOR TWO: Thanks to Lyndsey Grove's performance against Long Beach State on Jan. 29, the Titans had two players reach the 1,000 career point plateau for the first time since 1991-92 when Claudette Jackson (1990-92) and Joey Ray (1988-92) accomplished the feat. Aside from those pairs, only two other duos and a scoring trio have reached the 1,000-point mark in the same season: Genia Miller and Jill Matyuch in 1989-90, Nancy Ratliff and Marlene Kline in 1981-82, and Robin Holmes, Meg Gallagher, and Terri Withers in 1984-85.

THIRTY-SOMETHING: For Megan Richardson, 33 is the new 20. The Manhattan Beach native went off for a career-high 33 points in a loss to league-leading Cal Poly on Jan. 13, becoming the first Titan since Toni Thomas in 2007 (32 points in a loss at UTEP) to reach the 30-point plateau and accomplishing the feat for the 75th time in school history. Richardson, whose previous career high was 29 points set last season as a sophomore against San Jose State, scored the most points in a single game by a Fullerton player since Natascha Stokely netted 36 points against Long Beach State on Feb. 22, 1998.

A PERFECT DAY: En route to her highest scoring output of the season against Long Beach State on Jan. 29, junior Lauren Chow added her name to yet another category in the school's record book with her perfect showing from behind the arc. The La Palma native hit 6-of-6 from three-point range to match the school record for three-point percentage set by Shayla Bradshaw in 1993 at UC Irvine in a 96-91 victory. It added to a perfect day for Chow, who finished 7-for-7 from the field against the 49ers, and completed an almost perfect week for the junior, who missed only two shots in two games, going 10-of-12 (.833) from the floor and 8-of-10 (.800) from three-point range while averaging 14.0 ppg off the bench.

BREITE GOES ON THE OFFENSIVE: Already enjoying one of the best rebounding seasons of her career, senior Jenna Breite is also in the midst of the best offensive seasons of her collegiate career. Breite's 125 points this season are a career high, surpassing the 93 points scored last year, and her 5.2 ppg are also a career high. Of her 253 career points, almost half (49 percent) of those have come during her senior season.

BACK ON THE BOARDS: Breite has also been the most consistent Titan on the boards this season, entering the week ranked ninth in the league in the category at 6.3 rpg. This follows-up last year's performance when the San Diego native finished the year seventh in the league in rebounding (6.0 rpg) and finished with 187 boards. Of her 407 career boards, almost 83 percent (337) have come the last two seasons.

THE TITANS' SWISS ARMY KNIFE: Senior Lyndsey Grove has been a "jill of all trades" this season for the Titans, providing a lift on both ends of the court for Cal State Fullerton. Grove stands second on the team and ranks eighth in the Big West in scoring entering this week (13.3 ppg) and has reached double figures in scoring in 20 of the team's 25 contests this season while also ranking ninth in the league in field goal percentage (.444), fourth in free throw percentage (.818), seventh in three-point percentage (.398), ninth in three-pointers made per game (1.56), sixth in three-pointers made overall (39), and seventh in minutes (31.24 mpg), while also standing first on the team in steals (27) and third on the team in assists (48).

QUITE A 1-2 PUNCH: The Titans scoring duo of junior Megan Richardson (15.1 ppg) and senior Lyndsey Grove (13.3 ppg) is among one of the Big West Conference's top 1-2 scoring punches this season, accounting for just under 44 percent of the team's scoring (711 of 1,630 total points) and combining to average 28.4 ppg. They are one of the hardest working duo's in the Big West when it comes to sharing the scoring load, standing behind only UC Irvine's Mikah Maly-Karros and Jade Smith-Williams (who have combined to score 790 of the team's 1,620 points and are averaging a combined 34.6 ppg). Percentage-wise, the Titans' tandem ranks third in the conference behind the UCI duo, which contributes 48.8% of the team's scoring, and Cal State Northridge's Jasmine Erving and Violet Alama, who have combined to average 26.6 ppg and contribute 45.4% of the Matadors' 1,460 points this year.

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