Dec. 13, 2007
FULLERTON, CA - With their biggest classroom test(s) of the season now behind them, the Cal State Fullerton women's basketball team (1-6 overall) now turns its focus back to its work on the court as the Titans close out a three-game road swing with an afternoon tip against Nevada on Sunday (Dec. 16) at 2 p.m. in the "Biggest Little City in the World," Reno, Nev.
CATCH THE GAME: Live in-game statistics and live streaming Internet video (on a subscription basis) will be available for Sunday's contest at www.nevadawolfpack.com. Links to each event will be made available just prior to gametime.
SERIES RECORDS: The Wolf Pack lead the all-time series by a 9-6 count, including a 5-2 advantage in games played in Reno... Fullerton won the last meeting, 53-49, at home on Dec. 6, 2005, snapping an eight-game losing streak in the process... the Titans' last win in Reno came all the way back in 1994 as they defeated the Wolf Pack, 70-61 on Feb. 17 when the two teams were members of the Big West Conference... Fullerton has lost in each of its last five trips to Reno, but hasn't played there since the 2004-05 season opener (a 71-56 loss).
ABOUT THE WOLF PACK: Nevada enters the weekend having won four of its last five meetings and will be playing its third straight against a Big West school after splitting its games last weekend with a loss at UC Irvine (77-74) and a win at UC Riverside (62-52)... The Wolf Pack is 3-1 this season at home, averaging 68.5 ppg and allowing just 59.0 ppg... Dellena Criner leads the offense, averaging just over 17 points per game and shooting .402 from the floor while leading the team in scoring in six of the team's nine games... Mikail Price is also averaging double figures at 11.9 ppg to go with a team-high 25 steals and shooting at a .423 clip from three-point range.
BENNETT HITS THE BOARDS: If she hits the books during this week's final exams as hard as she hit the boards last Friday at Pepperdine, senior Alison Bennett is going to pass with flying colors. Bennett, a 2006-07 Big West All-Academic Team member, set a career-high with 12 rebounds against the Waves and collected the most rebounds by a Titan since Charlee Underwood also had 12 boards against Cal State Northridge in the quarterfinals of the Big West Tournament last season.
AND SO DOES THE TEAM: Cal State Fullerton, which ranks last in the Big West Conference in rebounding at 31.0 rpg entering this week's games, made a huge stride to digging themselves out of that hole, setting season-high's with 43 rebounds and 21 offensive boards last Friday night against Pepperdine - well above the Titans' season averages of 29.0 rpg and 9.7 o-rpg entering the contest.
GROVE GOES TO WORK: Freshman guard Lyndsey Grove had the best offensive game of her brief Division I career on Friday night at Pepperdine, netting a career-best 16 points to go with five rebounds in the Titans' narrow loss to the Waves. Grove, who was averaging just 2.2 ppg entering the contest, put forth her best scoring effort since netting 11 points in her collegiate debut at Utah Valley State in the team's Nov. 10 season opener.
ONE POINT AT A TIME: Freshman guard Ashley Richie keeps raising the bar one point at a time, setting a new career high in scoring for the fourth consecutive game with 14 points against Pepperdine last Friday night. Richie, who has improved her scoring average by almost six points since mid-November, scored 10 points vs. UTEP, 12 more vs. USC, and 13 at San Diego State before the game against the Waves. She has started each of the Titans last three games and has scored in double figures in the team's last four contests, averaging 12.3 ppg in that stretch while shooting .417 (20-for-48) from the field.
THOMAS FIGURED OUT?: The Titans hope not. Pepperdine held Fullerton forward Toni Thomas to a season-low 11 points before fouling out last Friday - 10 points below her season average entering the game and the lowest point total for the junior since netting only two points against San Diego in the game prior to the start of her current 28-game double-digit scoring streak.
TITANS LOOKING TO STRIKE GOLD IN THE SILVER STATE: Fullerton has not fared well within the State of Nevada, posting just a 7-25 record within the state borders and losing its last eight games in Nevada dating back to a 72-66 win over UNLV on Jan. 19, 1996.
MORE FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Sophomore Montoya Fontenot scored the first two points of her career on Dec. 2 at San Diego and was joined in the scoring column by another pair of first-timers on Friday night at Pepperdine as sophomore Danielle Parker (3 pts., 4 reb.) and freshman Jenna Breite (2 pts., 4 reb.) got into the scoring swing of things.
TALE OF TWO TEAMS: With six of Cal State Fullerton's next seven games taking place on the opponents' floor, the Titans will need to pick things up if they are to log their first road victory of the 2007-08 season. Fullerton, which has lost its last seven straight true road games dating back to last season, is averaging just 62.2 ppg and shooting .361 from the floor for the season away from home while opponents are hitting on 49 percent of their shots and averaging 77.8 ppg. Contrast that performance with that of the Titans at home, who are averaging 73.3 ppg and shooting .434 from the field in three games.
MISS AUTOMATIC: Send Fullerton freshman Lauren Chow to the free throw line this season and the Titans are pretty much assured to come away with points. Chow, who hit 17 consecutive free throws to start her Division I career, leads the Big West Conference and ranks No. 8 in the nation in free throw percentage at .947 (18-for-19), including a league-best 11-for-11 in a victory over San Jose State on Nov. 17.
TITANS IN THE NCAA: Entering this week's games... Thomas is ranked No. 17 in the nation in scoring at 20.0 ppg and is No. 92 in the nation with a .506 field goal percentage... freshman Lauren Chow ranks No. 98 in assists per game (4.29), No. 81 in the nation in steals per game (2.6), No. 45 in three-point percentage (.429), and No. 33 in three-point field goals per game (2.6).
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR?: Alright, so we're not quite to the halfway mark of the season yet, but Chow is making an early case for league freshman of the year honors. The Titans' rookie ranks third in the Big West Conference in scoring thus far and is one of only three underclassmen (and one of only two freshmen) to rank among the league's top 15 scorers. She also leads the league in six other categories including assists (4.29 apg), steals (2.57 spg), and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.50).
THE STREAK CONTINUES: Despite scoring just 11 points in her last game, junior Toni Thomas extended her scoring streak to 28 consecutive games dating back to the Titans' Dec. 18 victory over San Francisco last season. The San Bernardino, Calif., native has 57 career double-digit scoring performances in 67 games and, after back-to-back 20-point games this season against Utah Valley and San Jose State, and a 32-point game against UTEP, has 19 career 20-point-plus outings. Thomas has scored 511 points during her current streak, averaging 18.3 ppg, and shooting .468 (178-for-380) from the floor and .811 (142-for-175) 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.
MILESTONE REACHED: After only 64 career games in a Titan uniform, Thomas became the 17th player in the history of the program to reach 1,000 career points against UTEP on Nov. 23, scoring 32 points to push her, not only past the milestone barrier, but also into 16th place on the all-time scoring chart with 1,009 career points, passing Joey Ray (1988-92), who had 1,004 career points. Thomas now has her sights set on 14th place, needing just 70 points to pass Terri Withers (1981-85) and Amber Pruitt (2002-06) on the all-time list.
QUICKLY NOW: Thomas became only the ninth player in program history to reach the 1,000-career points plateau in her first three seasons and the fastest since Claudette Jackson (1990-92) accomplished the feat in just two years - a span of 61 total games - after transferring from Golden West College in nearby Huntington Beach, Calif.
MILESTONE REACHED (PART II): With her six rebounds on Sunday at San Diego State, junior forward Toni Thomas became only the 10th player in the history of the program to score at least 1,000 points and grab 500 rebounds in their careers. She is the third player in as many seasons to accomplish the feat joining Amber Pruitt (1,078 points/580 rebounds) in 2006 and Charlee Underwood (1,382/630) in 2007. Other members of the club include Eugenia Miller-Rycraw (2,415/1,162), Nancy Ratliff (1,580/554), Nancy Dunkle (1,559/729), Meg Gallagher (1,421/675), Marlene Kline (1,260/531), Claudette Jackson (1,100/536), and Terri Withers (1,078/805).
PRESENTED BY AT&T: If it were legal in the NCAA's eyes to have players sponsored by companies, AT&T or some of the other national long distance carriers might want to look into Lauren Chow. Chow, who also stands among national leaders in both of the following categories (see note above), leads the Big West Conference with a .429 three-point percentage (18-of-42) and 2.57 three-pointers made per game. Her 18 three-pointers made rank second behind only Pacific's Jake Kelly (20) in the Big West standings.
TITANS ADD TWO EARLY SIGNEES: Cal State Fullerton head women's basketball coach Dr. Maryalyce Jeremiah announced that Destainee Rudison and Megan Richardson have signed National Letters of Intent to continue their playing careers at Cal State Fullerton beginning with the 2008-09 season.
"The addition of these two recruits to the Titan roster will provide more scoring and rebounding to the team," Dr. Jeremiah said. "Both of these athletes can shoot, rebound, and run the floor. With only two scholarships available we are thrilled that we were able to sign our first choices at both positions."
It will be a reunion of sorts for Rudison, a 5-11 forward from Hesperia, Calif., who will join former Silverado HS teammate and current Titan freshman Ashley Richie on the Fullerton roster next season.
Rudison helped the Hawks to a CIF Southern Section Division III-A title as a junior, averaging 14 points and just under 11 rebounds per game as Silverado HS finished 23-8 overall and 7-1 in the Desert Sky League.
"Destainee is an agile, good shooting `4' player who can shoot from the perimeter and will add great quickness to the back line of the team," Dr. Jeremiah said. "She was a sought-after recruit by several major programs and we are so excited about her future as a Titan. Silverado has been very good for us with Richie, and now Rudison, becoming Titans. Their program is solid and so are these two really good basketball players."
Richardson, a 5-10 guard from Manhattan Beach, Calif., is entering her senior season at Mira Costa HS, where she is a three-time All-Bay League honoree - including first-team honors as a sophomore and junior.
An All-CIF Division I-A First-Team selection as a junior, Richardson averaging 14.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game last season, helping the Mustangs to a 25-8 overall record and an 8-2 mark in league play.
Mira Costa was a runner-up to San Clemente HS in the Division I-A Southern Section championships after entering the tournament as a No. 5 seed and reached the semifinals of the Southern California Regional Championships.
"Megan was one of the most highly-recruited players by the Titans in a very long time. She too was highly sought after and we knew without a doubt that she would bring so much to our program," Dr. Jeremiah said. "She can shoot it, run the floor and direct traffic on the court because she sees the floor so well. Megan will add size and intelligence to our back court. She is a great addition to our program."
HAVEN'T SEEN THIS IN A WHILE: With her 32-point outburst against UTEP last weekend, junior Toni Thomas became the first Titan to score 30-or-more points in a game since Natascha Stokely had 36 in a 96-87 win at Long Beach State on Feb. 22, 1998. The performance was Thomas' first 30-point game after scoring 20 points or more on 18 different occassions.
AND WE REALLY HAVEN'T SEEN IT...: Each of the last seven 30-point performances by a Titan player have come on the road. The last Fullerton player to score 30-or-more points at home was Koko Lahanas, who had 31 points in a win over UC Santa Barbara on Feb. 26, 1995 at Titan Gym.
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.