Madness of March Begins Tuesday at Cal Poly

March 5, 2012

FULLERTON, CA -

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BIG WEST CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT - FIRST ROUND
No. 8 Cal State Fullerton at No. 1 Cal Poly
Tuesday, March 6, 2012 | 7 p.m.
Mott Gym (3,032)
San Luis Obispo, CA
Game Coverage: Live Stats | Audio | Video

TIP-OFF: The madness reserved for the month of March begins anew on Tuesday night (March 6) as the No. 8-seeded Cal State Fullerton women's basketball team (11-18 overall, 4-12 in the Big West Conference) heads to the coast for the second time this season, opening play in the 2012 Big West Conference Women's Basketball Tournament for the second consecutive year at top-seeded Cal Poly beginning at 7 p.m. in Mott Gym in San Luis Obispo.

SAME GREAT TOURNAMENT, NEW EXCITING FORMAT: Under the new format put in place last season, the women's first round games will be played on the campus sites of the top four seeds (Cal Poly, Cal State Northridge, UC Irvine, and UC Davis) with the winners advancing to the semifinal round at the Honda Center in Anaheim on Friday (March 9). The championship game will be played on Saturday afternoon (March 10) at 2 p.m. and will be televised on Fox Sports Prime Ticket. Complete tournament information can be found on the Big West website at http://www.bigwest.org/sports/wbball/info/champs.asp.

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

I SEE YOU: For the sixth 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 visit www.BigWest.org/TV or access the video player at www.fansonly.com/schools/bigw/allaccess/index.html.

I NEED STATS, STAT!: For the third 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 and women's basketball schedule pages at FullertonTitans.com.

TITANS IN THE TOURNEY: Cal State Fullerton will be making its 11th consecutive appearance in the Big West Tournament and its 22nd overall berth since the 1985-86 season... The Titans are 14-22 (.389) all-time in the conference's postseason event, winning at least one game in the tournament in four out of the last five seasons and twice gaining the semifinal round in that span... Tuesday will mark Head Coach Marcia Foster's third appearance in the Big West Tournament as a head coach after making three trips as an assistant/associate head coach at Cal Poly from 1999-02 and six times as an assistant coach with the Titans... Tuesday's game against the Mustangs will mark only the second meeting between the two programs all-time in the Big West Tournament after Cal Poly posted a, 73-70, win in the first round last season... Against the rest of the field in tournament play, Titans are 1-2 all-time against Long Beach State, 1-6 against UC Santa Barbara, 1-3 against UC Riverside, 2-1 against Pacific, 1-1 against Cal State Northridge, and 3-2 against UC Irvine... Fullerton and UC Davis have never met in the Big West Tournament... the Titans have lost their last two Big West Tournament games, having not posted a win since sinking UC Irvine, 89-76, in the first round in 2010.

WE MEET AGAIN: Tuesday's clash with the Mustangs will mark the eighth meeting between Fullerton Head Coach Marcia Foster and her former boss, Cal Poly Head Coach Faith Mimnaugh, since Foster assumed control of the Titans' program in 2009-10. Mimnaugh has held a decided advantage in the head-to-head battle with her former assistant, going 6-1 against Fullerton in that span. While an assistant at Cal Poly under Mimnaugh, Foster and the Mustangs were 8-4 against the Titans from 1996-2002, before joining Fullerton's coaching staff as an assistant in 2003. After switching benches to join Dr. Maryalyce Jeremiah's staff in 2003, Foster and Cal State Fullerton then went 7-5 against the Mustangs from 2003-09 before she was named head coach of the Titans in 2009-10.

CAL POLY BRIEFLY: The Mustangs enter the tournament with a 16-13 overall record and regular season champions of the Big West Conference after posting a 12-4 mark in conference play -- one game ahead of second-place Cal State Northridge... Cal Poly split its final two regular season contests, falling at UC Davis (65-61) before routing Pacific (88-66) in the finale... the Mustangs have won 10 of their last 11, including five straight at home where they are 9-3 this season... Big West Player of the Year Kristina Santiago averages a league-best 23.1 ppg to go with 10.1 rpg and shooting .538 from the field... four other players average better than 7.5 ppg as Cal Poly is outscoring the opposition by an average of 6.2 ppg and shooting .436 from the field as a team.

SERIES NOTES: Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series with Cal Poly, 25-20, but the Mustangs have won the last five-consecutive meetings (and seven of eight overall) after sweeping the regular season series from the Titans by the scores of 76-69 in Fullerton on Jan. 5 and a 66-48 win on Feb. 11 in San Luis Obispo... Cal Poly is 14-7 all-time against Fullerton in San Luis Obispo, winning the last eight-straight meetings on the Central Coast dating to a 64-57 Titans' victory on Jan. 27, 2005... Cal State Fullerton's last win over the Mustangs came on Feb. 25, 2010, as the Titans posted a 70-63 victory at Titan Gym.

SO YOU'RE SAYING THERE'S A CHANCE: Cal State Fullerton, as the eighth seed in this year's conference tournament, will attempt to do something no other school has done in the Big West Tournament - topple a No. 1 seed. According to the Big West Conference office, since seeds were included along with the tournament results beginning with the 1999 event, no other No. 8 seed has defeated a No. 1 seed in the opening round. The last time a No. 8 seed won on the first day of tournament action, however, was in 2009 when eighth-seeded Cal State Northridge upset No. 5-seeded UC Davis, 64-56, in a different tournament format that awarded first-round byes to the tournament's top four seeds.

DON'T GET CAUGHT LOOKING AHEAD: The players and coaches won't do it, so we'll do it for them. A Fullerton win over Cal Poly on Tuesday would send the Titans up against the highest remaining seed after the semifinalists are reseeded following the first round games on Friday afternoon (March 9) at 12 p.m. Cal State Fullerton was 1-1 against UC Davis, UC Irvine, and Long Beach State during the regular season while going 0-2 against Pacific, Cal Poly, UC Santa Barbara, and Cal State Northridge.

TITAN TRIO SELECTED ALL-BIG WEST: Cal State Fullerton senior guard Megan Richardson was selected to the All-Big West Conference First Team for the third consecutive season while senior Lauren Chow and redshirt sophomore Mya Olivier earned all-conference honorable mention honors as the league announced its postseason honor roll on March 5.

Richardson finished the regular season as the league's second-leading scorer at 16.2 ppg, trailing only Player of the Year and fellow three-time first-team selection Kristina Santiago (23.1 ppg), whlie also finishing third in free throw percentage (.791), ninth in three-point percentage (.355), third in three-pointers made (54), and fourth in minutes (32.86 mpg).

The Manhattan Beach native finished with double figures in the points column in 23 of the team's 29 games, including 10 games of 20 points or more and a season-best 27 points at San Jose State on Dec. 22.

Chow was named to the all-conference honorable mention squad for the second time in her career, but earned her first honor since being selected Freshman of the Year along with her honorable mention and All-Freshman Team laurels in 2008. She finished third on the team in scoring at 8.2 ppg to go with 115 assists on the year -- the most since India McDaniel finished with 124 assists in 2006-07.

After missing all but eight games to just injury as a true sophomore in 2010-11, Olivier bounced back to earn her first career all-conference honor to go with her All-Freshman Team selection in 2010. Olivier averaged 8.9 ppg and 7.5 rpg while shooting .483 from the floor and standing third on the team with 14 blocked shots.

ONCE, TWICE, THREE TIMES AN HONOREE: Richardson's third-consecutive first-team all-conference honor makes her just the second Fullerton player in school history to earn a trio of All-Big West First-Team laurels in a career, joining All-American Genia Miller, who earned similar honors in 1988-89, 1989-90, and 1990-91. Last season, Richardson became only the fourth Titan in school history to earn multiple first-team honors, joining Miller, Claudette Jackson (1990-92), and Toni Thomas (2006-08).

THIS CLOSE: A couple balls bounce the other way for the Titans and the 2011-12 season could look drastically different. Of Fullerton's 18 losses this season, 11 of those have come by nine points or fewer with seven of those by five points or less. In conference play, 10 of the Titans' 12 losses have been by single digits and a total of 46 points (an average of 4.6 ppg). In all, Fullerton has lost 12 Big West contests by a grand total of 77 points (6.4 ppg).

THE MAGIC NUMBER: One is the lonliest number, but 40 is the winningest for the Titans. Fullerton is a perfect 8-0 this season when shooting better than 40 percent from the field in a game this season and has won its last nine-straight overall (and 15 of its last 20) dating back to last season.

IS "500" THE NEW "400"?: With her 18th point against Bakersfield on Feb. 16, senior Megan Richardson ascended into rare air in Cal State Fullerton women's basketball history, becoming only the fourth player in school history to reach 400 points in three-consecutive seasons. Richardson, who ranks fifth on the Titans' all-time scoring list, joined Shayla Bradshaw (1992-96) and All-American's Genia Miller (1987-91) and Nancy Ratliff (1980-83) as the only Fullerton players to accomplish the feat. Now, with 471 points to her name this season (which is 18 points shy of her career best of 489 points scored as a sophomore), Richardson needs only 29 more points to become the first Fullerton player with 500 points in a season since Toni Thomas finished her junior year with 512 points in 2007-08.

NUMBER 9, NUMBER 9, NUMBER 9, NUMBER 9: Senior Lauren Chow set a new career high with nine assists last week in a one-point loss at Long Beach State, falling one helper shy of her first career double-double after she finished with 15 points against the 49ers. Chow, who ranks third in the league in assists (3.97) and second in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.53), has had six games with six-or-more assists this season, including a seven-assist game in a win at San Jose State on Dec. 22.

OLIVIER GETS OFFENSIVE: Over the last two weekends, Olivier's offensive production has picked up significantly as the redshirt sophomore is averaging 12.0 ppg and 6.8 rpg while shooting .432 from the field over the last four contests. That follows a stretch that saw opponents clamp down on the Titans' post player, holding her to just 24 points TOTAL (4.8 ppg) over a five-game stretch from Feb. 1-16.

CHOW KEEPS ON DISHING: With her five-assist game against UC Irvine on Feb. 25, Chow surpassed the century mark in assists for the second time her career, giving her a career-high 103 helpers this season. She became the first Titan with at least 100 assists since Daviyonne Weathersby finished with 103 assists in 2007-08 and only the 21st Fullerton player overall to finish with at least 100 assists in a single season. Now, with 115 assists to her name this season heading into the Big West Tournament, Chow has posted the most assists by a Titan player since India McDaniel finished with 124 helpers in 2006-07.

A'S FOR CHOW: With 12 assists last week against Long Beach State and Cal State Northridge, Chow moved past Shayla Bradshaw (1992-96) and into third place on the school's all-time list and stands as one of only four players in school history to accumulate 400 career assists, joining Bradshaw, Meg Gallagher (454 from 1981-85), and career leader Andrea Thieme (462 from 1995-99).

CHOW DIALS LONG DISTANCE FOR MILESTONE: With her three trey's against Long Beach State and Cal State Northridge last week, senior sharpshooter Lauren Chow moved into a tie for third place on the Big West Conference's all-time list for three-pointers made, matching UC Santa Barbara's Erin Alexander (1993-96) with 233 for her career. Chow, who needs 18 more to pass Pacific's Nancy Dinges (2000-04) for second place, became only the eighth player in the history of the Big West Conference to reach 200 career makes earlier this season against Nevada on Dec. 10.

ALL GO, NO QUIT: Senior Megan Richardson made her 100th consecutive start with the Titans' opening tip against Cal Poly on Jan. 5 and has started 115 consecutive games dating back to her freshman season. The Manhattan Beach native has not missed a start since coming off the bench on Dec. 4, 2008, against No. 16 Vanderbilt and has not missed a single one of the program's 121 possible contests overall dating to the 2008-09 campaign, starting a total of 116 of those games.

ANOTHER GAME, ANOTHER RECORD: Senior Lauren Chow's start against UC Riverside on Feb. 22 set a new school record, breaking Ashley Richie's mark of 122 career games played from 2007-11 with her 123rd career appearance, which was extended to 126 last week on the road. Senior Megan Richardson also moved herself up the same list with her 121st career game against the 49ers and Matadors, moving her into sole possession of second place all-time.

AIN'T NO PARTY LIKE A TITAN BLOCK PARTY: Freshman Natalie Williams (17), junior Lauren Bushong (16), and sophomore Mya Olivier (14) give the Titans a trio of players with 10-or-more blocks in a season for the first time since the 1998-99 campaign when Andrea Thieme (17), Erin Whiteside (14), and Ada Lake (14) all finished in double figures in the category. Fullerton's 80 blocked shots are three more than last season's total and are the most in a single season since the Thieme-Whiteside-Lake-led Fullerton team in 1998-99 blocked 80 shots. With their 81st block this season, the Titans will post their highest total since they swatted 93 shots in 1996-97.

DOUBLE-DIGIT DOMINATION: You know the old saying, "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes?" We'd like to add a third -- Megan Richardson and double-digit points. The Titans spectacular scoring guard has reached double digits in points in 88 of her 121 career games (73 percent), including 29 career 20-point contests and a 33-point effort against Cal Poly on Jan. 13, 2011. She is one of only three active Fullerton players with at least 10 career double-digit games (Lauren Chow and Mya Olivier) and is one of three active Titans who have reached 20 points in their collegiate careers (Chow and Olivier).