Nov. 21, 2007
FULLERTON, CA - With classes on break for the Thanksgiving holiday, the Cal State Fullerton women's basketball does a little travelling this weekend as the Titans (1-2 overall) fly to El Paso, Texas, for the UTEP Thanksgiving Classic.
Fullerton will meet the host Miners on Friday evening (Nov. 23) at 6 p.m. while Nevada and Stephen F. Austin battle in the first game at 3:30 p.m. The losers of the two games will meet on Saturday (Nov. 24) at 3:30 p.m. with the winners locking horns at 6 p.m. (All game times are Pacific Standard Time)
CATCH THE GAME: Depending on technical cooperation, Gametracker links will be available for this weekend's games as will live subscription video through UTEP's website at www.utepathletics.com.
SERIES RECORDS: Cal State Fullerton has won the only meeting with UTEP, 79-50, on Nov. 26, 1982, at the New Mexico State Tournament in Las Cruces... The Titans are 0-1 against Stephen F. Austin, falling at home by a 90-64 score on Dec. 18, 1993... Nevada leads the all-time series with Fullerton, 9-6... the Titans snapped a nine-game losing streak to the Wolf Pack with a 53-49 win in 2005... Prior to that, Fullerton's last win came on Jan. 21, 1995, in a 81-70 victory at Titan Gym... The two teams have met on a neutral court only once as the Wolf Pack handed the Titans an 81-45 defeat in the Big West Tournament in 1998.
ABOUT THE MINERS: UTEP enters the weekend with a 1-1 overall record, falling to Nebraska, 81-74, and defeating Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 67-52... Jareica Hughes leads a quartet of Miners in double figures, scoring 27 points in her only appearance of the season against the Huskers... Timika Williams (13.5 ppg), Natasha Lacy (13.0 ppg), and Kasia Krezel (12.5 ppg) are also averaging double figures this season... UTEP is shooting 48 percent from the floor as a team and has blocked 12 shots through two games... UTEP returns eight letterwinners and four starters off of last season's squad that finished 22-8 and 10-6 in Conference USA.
ABOUT THE WOLF PACK: Nevada enters the weekend with a 2-2 overall record, posting wins over Santa Clara (62-51) and Eastern Washington (74-68) while falling to San Diego State (67-61) and Gonzaga (93-55)... Should things play out, a meeting Saturday with the Wolf Pack could be the first of two between Fullerton and Nevada this season as the school's are scheduled to meet in Reno on Dec. 16... Dellena Criner leads the Wolf Pack offensively at 12.8 ppg while Mikail Price is averaging 11.3 ppg... Nevada returns 11 letterwinners and three starters off of last season's team that finished 17-15 overall and 10-6 in the Western Athletic Conference.
ABOUT THE LADYJACKS: Stephen F. Austin is 1-2 overall on the season, defeating Grambling State (95-57) and falling to New Orleans (74-69) and Tulane (56-45)... Decreasha Goodner leads a trio of Ladyjacks offensively, averaging 16.0 points and five rebounds per game while shooting 44 percent from the floor... Whitney Cormier is averaging 12 points and five boards per contest while teammate Jordan Ford is averaging 11.3 points and a team-high 6.7 rebounds per game... SFA returns five letterwinners and three starters off of last season's team that finished 21-12 overall and 11-5 in the Southland Conference.
CLOSING ON A MILESTONE: After only two seasons in a Titan uniform, junior forward Toni Thomas has her sights set on becoming one of the most prolific scorers in the history of the program, needing only 23 more points to become the 17th player in Cal State Fullerton history to reach 1,000 career points. In addition to those points, with 15 more rebounds, Thomas will become the 10th player in school history to join the 1,000-point, 500-rebound club.
QUICKLY NOW: Should Thomas reach the 1,000-point milestone this season, she would be one of only nine players to reach the plateau in their first three seasons. Claudette Jackson (1990-92) was the fastest to accomplish the feat in school history, scoring 1,100 points in just two seasons (61 games) after transferring from Golden West College in nearby Huntington Beach, Calif.
THE STREAK CONTINUES: With three more double-digit scoring performances under her belt, junior Toni Thomas extended her scoring streak to 24 consecutive games dating back to the Titans' Dec. 18 victory over San Francisco last season. The San Bernardino, Calif., native has 53 career double-digit scoring performances in 63 games and, after back-to-back 20-point games this season against Utah Valley and San Jose State, has 18 career 20-point outings. Thomas has scored 434 points during her current streak, averaging 18.1 ppg, and shooting .458 (152-for-332) from the floor and .851 (120-for-141) from the free throw line.
SPEAKING OF STREAKING: Thomas' streak is very impressive, but she has a way to go to catch the Titans' record holder, Eugenia Miller-Rycraw, who scored in double figures in the final 68 games of her stellar career from the last eight games of the 1988-89 season until the end of the 1990-91 campaign. She finished her career with 93 double-digit scoring games in 118 career contests.
GREAT SCOTT!: Last season as a freshman, Jasmine Scott appeared in 20 games off the bench and scored just 32 points (1.6 ppg). Boy, what an off-season can do for one's game. Scott has started all three games for the Titans this year, scoring 33 points and ranking third on the team in scoring at 11.0 ppg. Scott has hit 42 percent of her shots from the floor and netted a career-best 14 points against San Jose State on Nov. 17.
"CHOW"-ING DOWN: After her performances in the Titans' last two games, I think we can forgive freshman Lauren Chow for her five-point performance against Utah Valley in the season opener. Chow has scored 28 and 21 points against San Jose State and San Francisco, respectively, shooting 50 percent (15-for-30) from the floor and 43 percent (6-for-14) from three-point range. However, she hasn't been all about the points as she leads the team (3rd in the Big West) in assists at 4.33 apg and ranks second in the league in steals at 3.33 spg.
NOBODY'S PERFECT: Well, except for maybe Lauren Chow. The Titans' freshman guard has hit every free throw in her brief three-game collegiate career, going a perfect 15-for-15 from the line through Fullerton's first three games, including an 11-for-11 performance against San Jose State on Nov. 17. It is the longest consecutive made free throw streak since India McDaniel hit 15-of-15 in a single game against San Francisco on Dec. 18, 2006.
EIGHT(Y) IS GREAT(Y): We just had to make it rhyme. If you count Fullerton's two exhibition contests, 80 seems to be the magic number to put the Titans in the win column. Cal State Fullerton has won every game (3-0) thus far this season when scoring eighty or more points and have struggled to a 66.0 ppg average in its two losses. Counting regular season games only, the Titans boast the league's second-best offense, averaging 70.7 ppg through three games this season.
TITANS 1-2 IN EARLY SCORING RACE: Junior Toni Thomas, who led the league in scoring in 2006-07, and freshman guard Lauren Chow enters the weekend ranked 1-2 in scoring in the Big West Conference in the early going, standing at 21.0 ppg and 18.0 ppg, respectively. Not to be outdone, sophomore Jasmine Scott also ranks in the top 15, standing tied at No. 14 with 11.0 ppg.
FOR FREEEEEE: The Big West Conference's best free throw shooting team from a season ago has picked up right where it left off as the Titans are shooting a Big West Conference best .823 (51-of-62) from the charity stripe overall. Fullerton's best performance came in its season opener against Utah Valley, hitting on 18-of-19 freebies (.947) in the loss to the Wolverines. It was the highest single-game percentage (with 10 or more attempts) for the Titans since they hit 10-of-10 from the line against UNLV on Feb. 6, 1990.
SWIPER NO SWIPING: Cal State Fullerton's pressure defense has paid off thus far this season as the Titans have tallied 10-or-more steals in each of their three games this season and lead the Big West Conference with 12.00 spg as a team. Nine of the 12 Titans who have seen action this season have at least one steal with freshman Lauren Chow leading the way with 10 total steals in three games. Thanks to its defense, Fullerton has forced the opposition into 71 total turnovers (23.67 per game) and turned those miscues into 59 points toward its cause.
YOUTH WILL BE SERVED: Cal State Fullerton will make the transition from one of the eldest, most experienced teams in the nation to one of its youngest as the Titans' roster features seven freshmen and four sophomores for the 2007-08 campaign.
COACHES MEDIA PICK TITANS SIXTH: In a repeat of last year's preseason prognostications, the Titans are picked to finish sixth in the Big West Conference according to a poll of the league's coaches and media during the league's annual media day in Irvine on Oct. 24. Fullerton received 24 points from the coaches to trail Long Beach State, which was picked fifth with 37 points. The media gave the Titans' 43 points to finish behind the 49ers and league newcomer UC Davis, who were picked in a dead heat for fourth place with 53 points. Defending champion UC Riverside was picked to defend its title by both the coaches and media.
PRESEASON LAURELS FOR THOMAS: Junior forward Toni Thomas was named to the preseason all-conference team, joining Long Beach State's Karina Figueroa, UC Santa Barbara's Jenna Green and Jessica Wilson, and UC Riverside's duo of Seyram Gbewonyo and Kemie Nkele. Thomas was a first-team all-conference and all-tournament team honoree as a sophomore last season, leading the league in scoring (17.5 ppg) and finishing fourth in the conference in rebounding (8.3 rpg).
ROAD WARRIORS: The Titans will open their 2007-08 season seemingly living out of their suitcases as 11 of Fullerton's first 15 regular season games will be played away from the friendly confines of Titan Gym where they posted a 10-4 record last season and have won 19 of their last 26 games.
SOLID BLOCK TO BUILD ON: Fullerton is coming off one of its most successful seasons in recent history as the Titans' 16 wins and .500 winning percentage last year were the highest for the program since the 1990-91 squad finished 25-8 (.758) en route to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
WINNER: Cal State Fullerton Head Coach Dr. Maryalyce Jeremiah became the winningest coach in school history with last season's win over San Jose State on Nov. 11 and enters this, her 28th year as a head coach, among the top 50 winningest active coaches in the nation, ranking No. 35 with 419 career wins.
CALIFORNIA GIRLS: It's only fitting that in the all-California Big West Conference that Cal State Fullerton has a roster made up entirely of California players. The Titans are one of two schools (UC Davis being the other) in the league with such a roster.