League-Leading Mustangs Up Next for Titans

Feb. 23, 2011

FULLERTON, CA -

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THIS WEEK...
Cal State Fullerton at Cal Poly
Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011
7 p.m.
Mott Gym (3,032) | San Luis Obispo, CA
Gametracker | Live Audio | Live Video

TIP-OFF: As the rest of the Big West Conference plays "catch-up" in terms of games played, the Cal State Fullerton women's basketball team focuses on single games in each of the next two weeks as the regular season comes to a close and the battle for berths in the Big West Tournament heats up. The Titans (9-18, 5-9) have a tough task this week, however, heading to the coast to take on current league leader Cal Poly (14-10, 10-3) on Thursday night (Feb. 24) at 7 p.m. at Mott Gym.

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. There will be no Fullerton-originated broadcast of Saturday's contest, however, Cal Poly will carry the game live. Visit www.GoPoly.com and click on the women's basketball schedule page to access the links.

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 this weekend's game.

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.

CAL POLY BRIEFLY: The Mustangs enter the week with a 14-10 overall record and a 10-3 mark for first place in the Big West Conference by a full game over Central Coast rival UC Santa Barbara... Cal Poly has lost its last two conference contests, falling on the road at Cal State Northridge (68-65) and UC Riverside (78-70) last weekend... the Mustangs, who have played five of their last six on the road, are 6-2 overall at home this season, having won five consecutive games - all in Big West play... with the loss of defending league player of the year Kristina Santiago just two minutes into the season, Rachel Clancy has assumed the scoring load, averaging 16.7 ppg and shooting 46 percent from the floor to lead the team... Abby Bloetscher is also in double figures, averaging 11.2 ppg and a team-high 7.3 rpg while shooting 49 percent.... as a team, Cal Poly is averaging 69.3 ppg and shooting .423 from the field while opponents are averaging 69.7 ppg and shooting .431 from the floor for the season.

SERIES NOTES: Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series with Cal Poly, 25-16, but the two teams have split the last six meetings following the Mustangs' three-point, 75-72, win at Titan Gym on Jan. 13 earlier this year... all three of the Titans' wins in that span have come at home while two of the three losses have come in San Luis Obispo... Fullerton is 13-16 against Cal Poly since it joined the Big West for the 1996-97 season... the Titans are just 7-11 overall against the Mustangs in San Luis Obispo, losing their last five trips to the Central Coast by a total of 31 points (an average of 5.2 ppg)... Fullerton hasn't won in San Luis Obispo since posting a 64-57 victory on Jan. 27, 2005.

LAST TIME OUT: Junior Megan Richardson scored a career-high 33 points, but visiting Cal Poly used a 43-point second half to erase an 11-point halftime deficit en route to a 75-72 win over the Titans. The Mustangs, who dressed only eight players for the game, were led by Abby Bloetscher's career-high 29 points and 11 rebounds while Rachel Clancy (16) and Tamara Wells (10) were also in double figures. Trailing, 43-32, at the break, Cal Poly opened the second half on a 13-0 run and Clancy jumpstarted a 10-3 run later in the game to push the Mustangs' lead to 68-61 with 2:32 to play. Nine straight points from Richardson closed the Titans to within five and a pair of free throws from Lyndsey Grove made it 75-72 with nine seconds to play. Clancy then missed two free throws that would have iced the game and the Mustangs broke up the ensuing inbounds pass, but Lauren Chow's heave from beyond half court as time expired fell short.

THE BIG WEST BIG PICTURE (AT LEAST THIS WEEK): Cal State Fullerton's victory over Pacific last weekend put the Titans on a little more secure ground, moving them one-half game ahead of the Tigers and Cal State Northridge in the standings and into seventh place with two weeks remaining in the regular season. Fullerton is also 1 1/2 games back of UC Irvine and Long Beach State (6-7 in Big West play) in the standings and three games behind UC Davis and UC Riverside (7-5) for third place and home court advantage in the first round of the Big West Tournament.

TITANS JUMP BACK TO SIXTH AMONG BIG WEST TEAMS IN LATEST RPI: Cal State Fullerton regained some ground in the latest RPI rankings released by the NCAA on Feb. 21, jumping up one spot overall to sixth among Big West Conference teams and entering the week ranked No. 280 out of 343 teams - an increase of 11 spots (the most of any team in the league) from a week ago. Thursday's opponent, Cal Poly, suffered the biggest drop of any Big West team this week, falling 34 spots to No. 180 to stand fifth among league teams. UC Santa Barbara is the highest-ranked Big West team according to the RPI, standing at No. 111 this week (up 2), followed by UC Riverside (No. 117, down 7), UC Davis (No. 121, up 3), and UC Irvine (No. 173, up 8). Pacific (No. 291, down 13), Long Beach State (No. 302, up 8), and Cal State Northridge (No. 312, up 5) round of the Big West Conference in this week's RPI.

NINE IS FINE, BUT TITANS WANT 10 AGAIN: The Titans victory over the Tigers improved Fullerton's record to 9-18 overall this season - just one win shy of extending their streak of seasons with double-digit victories to six straight. A 10th victory this season would give the Titans' their longest such streak since Fullerton went 12 consecutive seasons with 10-or-more victories from 1980-92.

FINALLY FEBRUARY: Forget "March Madness," the Titans were just glad to get a winless February out of the way. Fullerton finally posted a win this month after suffering four losses by a combined 27 points (an average of 6.8 ppg) - including three losses of six points or fewer.

MADDENING MARGINS: Continuing the alliteration... Of Fullerton's 27 games this season, 13 have been decided by single-digit margins, including eight of the team's 18 losses and four of the last five defeats that have been by six points or fewer.

MAYBE WE NEED MORE GAMES: Cal State Fullerton's loss to Cal State Northridge on Feb. 12 marked the fourth time this season that the Titans have suffered defeat during a week in which they play only once. Fullerton, which fell to the Matadors by the score of 71-65, 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 - this week at Cal Poly on Feb. 24 and home against UC Davis on March 5 - are one-game weeks.

THAT'S FOUL: The 44 combined fouls between Cal State Fullerton and Pacific last weekend was the third-highest total this season in a Titans' game, standing behind only the 48 combined personals whistled in the season opener against Eastern Washington (25 for the Eagles) on Nov. 12 and the 48 combined at UC Riverside (24 apiece) on Feb. 5. The 22 fouls for the Titans against Pacific are also tied for fourth this season.

RICHIE MAKES HISTORY: Senior Ashley Richie made history last Saturday night against Pacific, becoming the school's all-time leader in games played by appearing in her 119th career contest, breaking a record that had stood since 1991. Richie surpassed Genia Miller's mark of 118 career games played from 1987-91 with two more regular season contests remaining and any possible Big West Tournament or postseason games ahead. Richie beat teammate Lyndsey Grove to the mark as Grove stands tied for fourth with 116 career games played after becoming a member of a select group of 33 players in the history of the program to have appeared in 100 career games.

CENTURY MARK: Also approaching the 100 career games played milestone: senior Jenna Breite (95 games), redshirt junior Lauren Chow (94), and junior Megan Richardson (89).

YOU'RE INVITED TO THE BLOCK PARTY: Cal State Fullerton isn't one of the conference's best teams when it comes to blocked shots (ranking 8th at 2.67 bpg entering the week), but this year's Titans squad has held its own compared to recent Fullerton teams. The 72 blocked shots this season rank eighth on the school's single-season list and are the most for a Titans' squad since the 1998-99 team finished with 80 blocks. Only five teams in school history have finished with 100 blocks in a season, the last coming in 1990-91 when Fullerton set a school record with 171 blocks that year - including a Big West record 146 blocks from all-time great Genia Miller.

BUSHONG BLOCKS BUNCHES: Sophomore Lauren Bushong enters the week with 26 blocked shots and ranks ninth in the Big West Conference with 1.00 bpg. She is the first Titan with double figures in the category since Toni Thomas (22 blocks) in 2007-08 and her 26 swats are the most for a Titan since Rochelle Ortega (2001-04) finished with the same number following the 2003-04 campaign and one more block in the final two (or more) games will give Bushong the most blocks in a season since Dee Braxton swatted 39 shots in 1996-97.

RICHARDSON ON A ROLL: Since being held to just seven points on Jan. 22 in a disasterous trip to UC Santa Barbara, junior Megan Richardson has been on a roll offensively as of late, averaging 18.4 ppg over the team's last seven contests and shooting just under 40 percent from the field (.391), reaching double figures in all seven contests, including a high of 29 points last week against Pacific. She is one of three averaging double figures over that span, joined by senior Lyndsey Grove (14.1 ppg) and junior Lauren Chow (10.1), who are both shooting above 40 percent from the floor in that span at .413 and .453 respectively, and a combined 42 percent (31-for-74) from three-point range.

WE DON'T WANT TO JINX THIS...: However, you know what's going to happen this week after we write this, don't you? Junior Megan Richardson has hit her last 20 consecutive free throws made last week against UC Santa Barbara and Pacific, going a combined 11-for-11 against the Gauchos and Tigers to extend a streak that dates back to the second half against UC Riverside on Feb. 5. Richardson, who has been perfect from the line 14 times this season, has the longest active streak from the line of any Titan, ahead of senior Ashley Richie, who has hit all 12 of her free throw attempts this season. Guess that means we just jinxed two players.

POINTS... FOR FREEEEEEEEE!: Cal State Fullerton continues to lead the Big West Conference and rank No. 17 in the nation in free throw percentage, hitting .757 from the line thus far this season - 16 points better than second place Cal Poly (.741) - led by Megan Richardson's (.833) and Lyndsey Grove's (.776) stellar seasons from the line which stand tied for fourth and eighth 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.

NEWS AT 11: Junior Megan Richardson continued her assault on the school's scoring marks as her 43 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 1,239 career points, needs just 20 more points to match Marlene Kline (1979-83) for 10th all-time and 52 more points will place the junior into ninth place, passing Andrea Thieme (1995-99).

"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 her 29-point effort last weekend against Pacific, Richardson ascended 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 joined 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.

WHAT'S YOUR LINE?: Fullerton has shot 70 percent or better from the line in 22 of its 27 games and has hit 80 percent or better in eight of its last 13 contests.

THIS IS GETTING TO BE A HABIT: Richardson logged her ninth game of 20 points or more (and her third in the last five games) this season last week against Pacific, giving her 20 such offensive outbursts for her career in 89 career games, meaning she reached 20 points or more almost 23 percent of the time. In all, Richardson can be counted on to give you a double-digit scoring performance almost every night, leading all active Titans with 63 games of 10 points or more - or 71 percent of the time.

CHOW IN A GROOVE: Junior Lauren Chow has struggled a bit offensively coming off a serious injury that took all but seven games away from her in 2009-10 but, as this season winds down, the junior has shown flashes returning to form, scoring in double figures in four of the team's last six contests and averaging 10.5 ppg in that span compared to just 6.9 ppg overall entering this week. Chow averaged 14.0 ppg last week against UC Santa Barbara and Pacific, shooting 45 percent (10-of-22) from the field after being held to just one point on 0-of-13 from the floor in her previous two contests. Chow has nine double-digit scoring performances this season, including a season-high of 20 points against Long Beach State on Jan. 29 at Titan Gym.

QUITE A 1-2 PUNCH: The Titans scoring duo of junior Megan Richardson (15.6 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 over 44 percent of the team's scoring (781 of 1,772 total points) and combining to average 28.9 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 803 of the team's 1,694 points and are averaging a combined 34.5 ppg). Percentage-wise, the Titans' tandem ranks third in the conference behind the UCI duo, which contributes 47.7% of the team's scoring, and Cal State Northridge's Jasmine Erving and Violet Alama, who have combined to average 26.4 ppg and contribute 45% of the Matadors' 1,528 points this year.

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.

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.

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