Big West Seeding On the Line at UC Irvine
March 4, 2009
FULLERTON, CA -
With a berth in the 2009 Big West Conference Tournament secure, the Cal State Fullerton women's basketball team (8-18, 5-10) now battles for tournament seeding in its final game of the regular season this weekend. The Titans, who enter the week in sixth place, travel south to meet Orange County rival UC Irvine on Saturday (March 7) at 4 p.m. at the Bren Events Center.
TITANS CLINCH TOURNEY BERTH: Thanks to its victory over Long Beach State last weekend, the Titans clinched its eighth-consecutive berth in the Big West Conference Tournament and the 19th overall since the 1985-86 season.
Fullerton, currently the No. 6 seed, can clinch a No. 5 seed with a win over UCI and a loss by UC Davis against Cal State Northridge on Wednesday (March 4) by virtue of the Titans' 1-1 record against third-place Cal Poly while the Aggies went 0-2 against the Mustangs.
The Titans can also finish as low as the No. 8 seed with a loss to UCI and two wins each by Long Beach State and Cal State Northridge. Fullerton and the Matadors would be tied at 5-11, but Northridge would hold the tiebreaker by virtue of its season sweep of the Titans.
CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?: This week's regular season finale will be broadcast live over the Internet at FullertonTitans.com. Patrick Alog will have the call live from the Bren Events Center.
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 ANTEATERS: UC Irvine enters the final game of the regular season with a 6-22 overall record and a 3-12 mark in the Big West for ninth place... The Anteaters lost both of their contests last weekend, falling at home to Long Beach State (66-65) and UC Riverside (50-35) following a four-point win at Cal State Northridge on Feb. 18... Rebecca Maessen leads UCI offensively at 13.2 ppg while Mary Has, also in double figures at 12.1 ppg, leads the team on the boards at 5.5 rpg.
THE SERIES: Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series with UC Irvine, 28-27, winning the last six straight in the series following a 76-49 victory at Titan Gym to open conference play on Jan. 3... The Titans have won two straight on the road against the Anteaters, claiming victory by the score of 69-66 last season and 77-59 during the 2006-07 season... Fullerton is 12-14 all-time on UCI's home floor.
THOMAS ON THE BRINK: Already one of the most prolific scorers in the history of the Cal State Fullerton women's basketball program, senior Toni Thomas is thisclose to putting her name near the top of the school's all-time scoring list. Thomas, who enters the final regular season game with 1,730 career points, needs just two points against UC Irvine to pass Robin Holmes (1982-86) for third place on the career scoring list and five points to pass Shayla Bradshaw (1992-96) for second all-time behind career leader Eugenia Miller-Rycraw (2,415). Earlier this season, Thomas became the 14th player in the history of the Big West Conference to reach the 1,700-point plateau when she scored 16 points against Cal State Northridge on Feb. 21.
A BALANCED START TO HER `DAY': Somebody ate her Wheaties. Senior Daviyonne Weathersby was a quadruple threat to the 49ers last Saturday, finishing with 10 points (one of four Titans in double figures), leading the team with nine rebounds (one shy of recording her second career double-double), dishing out four assists, and tying a season high with four steals in Fullerton's nine-point win over Long Beach State to clinch a spot in the Big West Tournament. The 10 points marked her fifth double-digit scoring performance this season and the first since scoring a career-high 16 points in a loss at UC Santa Barbara on Feb. 5.
`MEG'-A WATT PERFORMANCE: Cal State Fullerton freshman guard Megan Richardson put up player of the week-type numbers in helping power the Titans to a 1-1 record last weekend, averaging 18.5 points per game and shooting 48 percent from the floor - including a 53 percent clip from beyond the arc. Richardson fell just one point shy of her career best with 21 points against UC Riverside - scoring 18 of those points in the second half and hitting a career-best five three-pointers to help whittle a 26-point deficit down to single digits with just over 1:30 to play. She followed that up with a 16-point night at Long Beach State, hitting 5-of-10 from the field and dishing out three assists in the Titans' victory.
THREEE-CO-LA: Cal State Fullerton hit 10-of-21 from beyond the arc last Saturday at Long Beach State, setting a season-high with its .476 percentage and shooting its best from long distance since hitting 54 percent (7-of-13) against Pacific last season. Saturday night marked the second time this season that the Titans have hit 10-or-more from long range in a game, following a 12-for-30 (.400) performance against Georgia on Nov. 28 in Las Vegas.
SATURDAY NIGHT'S ALRIGHT FOR WINNING: The Titans `got a little action in' last weekend against Long Beach State, winning for only the second time (in 11 chances) on a Saturday in 2008-09 and the first since opening conference play with a 76-49 victory over UC Irvine on Jan. 3. Fullerton had lost seven straight Saturday games until its win over Long Beach State and snapped a five-game losing streak against the 49ers on their home floor dating back to a win in 2003.
SCORING = WINNING: Cal State Fullerton scored 70 points for more for the sixth time this season against Long Beach State, improving to 4-2 this year when it does so thanks to the Titans' 70-61 victory over the 49ers.
COMEBACK KIDS: Fullerton's big second half against Long Beach State helped them rally for only its second victory this season when trailing at the break. The Titans had been 1-11 in its previous 12 contests when falling behind after the first 20 minutes, rallying for a win under those conditions to defeat San Francisco on the road, 60-57, after trailing by two points at the break.
A SUN SHINY DAY: The sun was shining for Cal State Fullerton in Long Beach on Saturday as the Titans snapped a seven-game losing streak in contests played prior to 6 p.m., improving to 2-11 in `day games' this season. Fullerton, which hadn't won a day game since defeating UC Irvine on Jan. 3, surpassed many of its averages in day games thus far this season against the 49ers, shooting 44 percent from the floor (had been shooting just .352 during the day), .476 from three-point range (compared to the season average of .252 during the day) and scoring seven points better than their average (63.0 ppg) in their 70-61 victory.
CHOW IN THE RECORD BOOKS AGAIN: Sophomore guard Lauren Chow has staked her claim to yet another Cal State Fullerton record despite having somewhat of an off year following her stellar freshman campaign. Chow, who already holds the school's freshman record for three-pointers made and attempted, is now the best sophomore sharpshooter in Titan history as her 53-for-173 (.306) performance beyond the arc this season set new records for three-pointers made and attempts, breaking Shayla Bradshaw's marks of 35 made and 114 attempted in 1993-94.
AND MORE...: Chow's 53 three-pointers made this season stand tied for sixth on the school's single-season chart while her 173 attempts are fourth. Last season, Chow ranked third on the single-season lists with 77 trey's made and 214 attempts.
MOVIN' ON UP: Chow's three-point exploits also have her moving up the Fullerton career charts as her 130 career three-pointers and 389 attempts rank sixth on the school's all-time lists while her .334 percentage in 55 career games ranks seventh entering the week. Almost two-thirds of Chow's career field goal attempts have come from beyond the arc (389-of-633) in her brief Titan career.
OR YOUR POINTS ARE FREEEEEEEEE: Senior Toni Thomas enters the final week of the regular season ranked first in the league in free throw percentage, hitting on just over 87 percent from the stripe this season and leading second-place Lauren Pedersen of UC Santa Barbara by .001 for the top spot. Thomas, who has hit a league best 103 free throws in 118 attempts (second in the Big West), ranks second all-time in school history in free throws made (474) and attempted (580) and, if the season ended today, holds the school record with a .817 free throw percentage for her career which would also rank second all-time in Big West history behind only Pacific's Selena Ho (1998-02), who shot .823 from the line in her career. Thomas' .873 free throw percentage this season would be a single-season school record, breaking Shayla Bradshaw's previous mark of .833 in 1995-96, and, if she finishes the season atop the standings, would become only the third Titan to lead the league in free throw percentage, joining Bradshaw in 1996 and Allison Jackson in 1993.
THERE ARE SUCH THINGS AS FREE POINTS: Fullerton enters the weekend leading the Big West Conference in free throw shooting at .758, outpacing second-place UC Santa Barbara (.749) by nine percentage points. The Titans have led the Big West in free throw percentage only three times in the 25-plus year history of the league, last accomplishing the feat in 2006-07 (.724). This year's performance at the line would also set a school record, besting the pervious mark of .725 (546-for-753) set in the 1990-91 season which also led the conference.
THE GUARD THAT KEEPS ON GIVING: Sophomore Lauren Chow enters the week as one of the league's top playmakers, ranking fifth in the league with 3.15 assists per game and fifth with 82 assists overall this season. She has also done well to take care of the ball herself, ranking fourth in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.37 (82 assists to 60 turnovers) - one of only six conference regulars to have more assists than miscues thus far this season.
SULTAN OF STEAL: Keep your eye on the ball or senior Daviyonne Weathersby just might make it disappear. Weathersby continues to rank second in the Big West Conference with 2.18 steals per game and is fifth overall with 48 swipes on the year. She has a steal in every game she has appeared in but two in 2008-09, including a season-high four steals in the season opener against Santa Clara and again against UC Davis on Feb. 14 and at Long Beach State on Feb. 28.
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 543 turnovers on the season (a league best 20.9 per game), turning them into 504 points for the "good gals" - an average of 19.4 ppg. The Titans have forced 20-or-more turnovers in 16 of their 26 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 423 turnovers (second fewest in the Big West) and ranking first in the league in turnover margin (+4.62) while notching 254 steals to rank second overall and tops in the league with 9.77 spg.