March 11, 2008
FULLERTON, CA - The Cal State Fullerton women's basketball team (10-18 overall, 8-8 in the Big West Conference) opens its "second season" this week as the Titans head to the Anaheim Convention Center for the 2008 Big West Conference Women's Basketball Tournament.
The quest to punch a ticket for the NCAA Tournament begins on Wednesday afternoon at approximately 2:30 pm as the No. 6-seeded Titans take on arch rival and No. 7-seeded Long Beach State in the second game of the day. No. 5 Cal Poly and No. 8 UC Irvine will kick things off at 12 p.m.
Regular season champion UC Santa Barbara and league newcomer UC Davis are the tournament's top two seeds and earn a berth into the semifinals. No. 3 UC Riverside and No. 4 Pacific have earned first-round bye's and won't have to play until Thursday's quarterfinals.
The women's tournament champion will be crowned on Saturday (March 15) at 1 p.m. and will be televised on FSN Prime Ticket.
CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?: All of Cal State Fullerton's games will be broadcast live over the Internet at www.FullertonTitans.com with Todd Reeves handling the play-by-play.
CAN YOU SEE ME NOW?: BigWest TV will also stream live video of every game from the Anaheim Convention Center this week as the conference's best try to punch their tickets for the NCAA Tournament. For subscription information, please visit www.BigWest.org/TV.
I NEED STATS STAT: For the first time in league tournament history, Gametracker livestats will be available for every game from the Anaheim Convention Center thanks to an agreement between the conference and CSTV. Links for each game will be posted on the tournament page of BigWest.org or visit your favorite school's website to access the links.
TOURNEY TIDBITS: Cal State Fullerton is making its eighth consecutive appearance in the Big West Conference Tournament since the 2000-01 season and its 19th appearance in 23 tournaments overall dating back to the PCAA days beginning in 1985-86... Fullerton is 10-18 (.357) all-time in Big West Tournament games, including a berth into the semifinals last season after wins over Pacific and Cal State Northridge.... Head Coach Dr. Maryalyce Jeremiah is 8-11 in the Big West Tournament at the helm of the Fullerton program.
HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH???: Despite the Anaheim Convention Center's proximity to Disneyland, being right across the street from the "Happiest Place on Earth" has not benefitted the Titans very much in recent years. Cal State Fullerton is just 3-7 in Big West Tournament games played in Anaheim, Calif.
SO WE MEET AGAIN: Cal State Fullerton is 0-2 all-time against Long Beach State in the Big West Tournament, falling 81-61 in the 1989 semifinals and 71-60 in the 1991 championship game - Fullerton's only apperance in the Big West title tilt... The Titans are 1-2 against UC Irvine, 1-5 against UC Santa Barbara, 1-1 against UC Riverside, 1-1 against Pacific, and 1-1 against Cal State Northridge.
VERSUS LONG BEACH STATE: Fullerton is 26-58 all-time against Long Beach State... the two teams have split their regular season series in each of the last three years - each team posting wins on their home court... the Titans won the first meeting this year, 75-66, while the 49ers prevailed in the second meeting, 80-62... Fullerton is 3-2 against Long Beach State on neutral courts.
SCOUTING THE 49ERS: Long Beach State finished the regular season with a 9-19 overall record and a 7-9 mark in Big West Conference play... The 49ers played their way up the standings late in the season, winning four straight beginning with an 80-62 win over Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 21 at the Walter Pyramid... Three of the 49ers' last four games have been decided by six points or fewer... Karina Figueroa leads the team offensively at 12.9 ppg despite missing eight games due to injury... Tyresha Calhoun leads the team with 82 assists, Kati O'Brien leads the team wih a .489 field goal percentage, and Courtney Jacob paces the team with 5.6 rebounds per game.
LOOKING AHEAD: Should the seeds hold, Cal State Fullerton will be matched up with No. 3 UC Riverside in Thursday's quarterfinals at 12 p.m... a win by UC Irvine over Cal Poly would pit the Titans against No. 4 Pacific... Fullerton went 1-1 against both the Highlanders and Tigers during the regular season, defeating UCR on the road at the Student Rec Center and beating Pacific at Titan Gym.
CHOW NAMED FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Cal State Fullerton freshman guard Lauren Chow was named the Big West Conference Freshman of the Year on Monday (March 10), giving the Titans their second top rookie honor in the past three seasons (Toni Thomas in 2005-06). Chow, who also earned a spot on the league's All-Freshman and All-Big West Honorable Mention teams, became the fourth Titan to earn Freshman of the Year honors and one of 13 players to be named to the all-freshman team in the history of the program.
THOMAS NAMED FIRST TEAM ALL-BIG WEST: Cal State Fullerton junior Toni Thomas was named to the All-Big West Conference First-Team for the second consecutive season, becoming only the third player in the history of the program to earn first-team honors in back-to-back seasons. Only Eugenia Miller-Rycraw (three times from 1989-81) and Claudette Jackson (twice from 1990-92) had previously accomplished that feat as Titans. Thomas also joins Miller-Rycraw and Shayla Bradshaw as three-time all-conference honorees. Bradshaw was an honorable mention selection in 1993-94 and twice a second-team selection in 1994-95 and 1995-96.
MORE FIRST-TEAM NOTES: Thomas' selection to the first team this season also marked only the 11th time that a Titan has been named to the all-conference first team.
RICHIE ALSO EARNS ROOKIE HONORS: Freshman guard Ashley Richie joined her teammate Lauren Chow on the All-Freshman and All-Big West Honorable Mention squads after a stellar rookie campaign for the Titans. Richie and Chow now give the Titans a representative on the league's all-rookie squad in five of the last eight years.
DON'T GET FROSH WITH ME MISTER: Coaches voted two Titans to the All-Freshman Team for only the third time in the history of the program and the first since Shayla Bradshaw and Shefonda Colbert were named to the team in 1992-93. Fullerton also had Kisa Hughes and Lianne Ishikawa on the All-Freshman Team in 1991-92.
SHE TRIPLE DOUBLE-DOUBLE DOG DARES YOU: Junior Toni Thomas' 23-point, 14-rebound effort against UC Irvine to close out the regular season marked her third consecutive double-double and her fourth in the team's last six games. She is tied for fourth in the Big West in that category this season and has 20 double-doubles for her career. Last Saturday marked the 28th time she has scored 20 or more points in a game and the 21st double-digit rebound game of her career.
THOMAS ON A ROLL, WITH MAYO: Over her last three games, Thomas has been the engine that makes the Titans' offense go, averaging 24.3 points and 11.3 rebounds per game in that span while shooting .553 (26-for-47) from the floor and making 18-of-20 (.900) from the free throw line.
"500": A big regular season finale performance has Thomas standing just 14 points shy of reaching 500 points in a season for the second consecutive year. Should she get those points during this week's Big West Tournament, Thomas would become only the third Titan to post back-to-back 500-point seasons in the history of the program, joining all-time leading scorer Eugenia Miller-Rycraw (three times from 1988-91) and Claudette Jackson (who did it in both of her seasons as a Titan from 1990-92).
THOMAS REACHES 1,400 CAREER POINTS: Thomas became the seventh Titan in the history of the program to score 1,400 career points and stands just 21 points shy of matching Meg Gallagher (1981-85) for sixth place on the school's all-time scoring list. She is only the third Titan to score that many points in three seasons joining Eugenia Miller-Rycraw (1,446 points after her junior year) and Nancy Ratliff (1,580 points after her junior season).
CONFERENCE WINS: The Titans evened their mark in Big West Conference play at 8-8 with their win over UC Irvine on Saturday. The eight victories in league action are the most for a Fullerton squad since the program finished 8-10 in Big West play in 2003-04.
LET'S MAKE IT THREE: Fullerton earned its 10th overall win of the season on Saturday against UCI, marking the third consecutive year that the Titans have finished with double-digit victories. It is the longest such stretch since the program went 12 straight years with 10 wins or more from 1980-92.
IN THE NCAA: Individually, Toni Thomas ranks No. 50 in the nation in scoring (17.4 ppg) and No. 99 in field goal percentage (.479)... Lauren Chow is No. 25 in three-point field goals per game (2.6) and No. 80 in three-point percentage (.356)... as a team, the Titans rank in the top 100 in free throw percentage (.716 for No. 81)... Fullerton also ranks No. 107 in assists per game (13.9) and No. 102 in steals per game (9.3).
CLUTCH IN CRUNCH TIME: Close game with the Titans in the final minutes? Don't send them to the free throw line. Cal State Fullerton has embraced the pressure in the clutch, shooting .778 (98-for-126) from the line in the final five minutes of regulation this season. Five Titans are shooting better than 80 percent from the line in crunch time led by junior Toni Thomas, who has hit on 85 percent from the stripe this season.
TREMENDOUS TRIO: Cal State Fullerton is the only school in the Big West Conference entering this week's Big West Tournament with the triple threat of three players ranked among the league's top 15 scorers. Toni Thomas is first in the Big West at 17.4 ppg, Lauren Chow is 10th at 12.4 ppg, and Ashley Richie is No. 15 at 10.7 ppg.
MORE ON THE TRIO: All three of the above players also rank among the league's top scorers in Big West Conference games only as Thomas leads the league at 16.6 ppg followed by Richie in ninth place at 12.9 ppg and Chow in the No. 14 spot at 11.9 ppg.
STEALING IS GOOD: But only in basketball, kids. Cal State Fullerton's defense enters the league tournament ranked second in steals at 9.25 per game and the Titans have two of the league's top two thieves in junior Daviyonne Weathersby, who stands sixth with 2.00 spg, and freshman Lauren Chow, who is 10th with 1.68 spg.
DON'T FOUL HER: Thomas ranks fourth in the Big West Conference in free throw percentage (.799), and leads the league in both free throws made (139) and free throws attempted (174). Over the course of her last 10 games, Thomas has hit 48 of her last 53 - including a perfect 9-for-9 against Long Beach State on Jan. 31. If her season ended today, her percentage would rank tied for sixth on the school's single-season chart while the makes would rank 7th and the attempts ninth.
CHOW SETS FRESHMAN MARK: Cal State Fullerton rookie guard Lauren Chow has etched her name into the record books, setting a new school rookie records for three-pointers made (72) and attempted (202), breaking Charlee Underwood's previous marks of 43 and 131, respectively, set during the 2003-04 season.
CHOW CLOSING IN ON MORE: With her next start, Chow will tie the school's freshman record for games started (Shayla Bradshaw, 27 in 1992-93) and is 11 steals shy of Meg Gallagher's rookie record of 58 set in 1981-82.
SHOOTER!!!: Opposing defenses better start getting a hand in Lauren Chow's face when the freshman pulls up to shoot. Chow ranks second in the league in three-point percentage (.356) entering this week's tournament and continues to lead the league in three-pointers made per game (2.57 pg) and three-pointers made overall (72). Almost two-thirds of her field goal attempts (63.9%) this season have come from behind the arc (202-of-316) and Chow is almost shooting the same from three-point range (.356) as she is from the field overall (.358) this season.
DOIN' THE DISHES: Junior Daviyonne Weathersby and freshman Lauren Chow have done a stellar job at quarterbacking the Cal State Fullerton offense this season, each ranking in the top 10 in assists this season with 3.50 and 3.43 apg, respectively. The duo has led or co-led the team in assists in all but three of the team's games this season: Weathersby accomplishing the feat 16 times with Chow leading the way 13 times.
WINDEX WOMEN: For the first 16 games of the year, Cal State Fullerton just could not find a way to keep the other team off the boards, being outrebounded in each game. However, it seems the tables have turned as the Titans have found a way to grab more boards than the opposition in eight of their last 12 games, posting a 7-5 mark in those contests.
CLOSE OR NO CIGAR: Cal State Fullerton has experienced both extremes in its 18 losses this season as nine of the Titans losses have come by 18 points or more with the other nine losses of 10 points or less.