FULLERTON, Calif. – The Titans outscored the Roadrunners by double-digits in the second half to defeat UTSA 55-46 and record their second straight win.
"Really proud of our effort and poise tonight," said head coach Jeff Harada. "We grinded out a tough win against a very long and athletic team. They really bothered us defensively with their length and that's a reason our shooting percentage was so low. We had good looks, but it came down to the little things we teach in practice every day and while it sounds cliché, defense, rebounding and free throws won the game for us.
"I thought our zone was effective despite only practicing it the last two days," Harada continued. "My biggest concern was rebounding out of it, but we ended up out-rebounding them so that showed the toughness and grit we played with tonight. Carolyn [Gill] had a big night on the glass, while Jade [Vega] and Daeja [Smith] had a much better second half for us. Overall, just really happy for our team because we definitely took a step forward tonight."
Fullerton had three players reach double-figures led by junior Jade Vega who matched a season-high with 16 points. Junior Daeja Smith recorded her fifth double-double of the season putting up 12 points and pulling down 11 rebounds. Junior Hannah Thompson contributed 11 points off the bench in the victory. Freshman Carolyn Gill also had a big night with eight points and a career-high 12 rebounds.
For UTSA, only one player reached double-figures and that was Carlie Heineman who put up 13 points. The next highest scoring Roadrunner was Marie Benson with eight points. Tija Hawkins and Timea Toth tied for the team lead with eight rebounds each.
It was an even matchup from the beginning as both teams put up 10 points in the opening quarter. The Roadrunners were led by four points from Benson while the Titans were led by four points from Gill.
Fullerton picked it up defensively in the second quarter as they forced six turnovers while only allowing UTSA to shoot 4-13 (30.8%) from the field. Unfortunately for CSF, they struggled as well shooting 4-12 (33.3%) from the field and 0-3 from beyond the arc. Going into halftime, the Roadrunners led by one point, 20-19.
The third quarter did not start well for Fullerton as they fell behind by eight points within the first three minutes of the period. However, they turned it around at the five-minute mark. Led by six points from Vega, the Titans would go on a 13-2 run to end the quarter and came out on top by four going into the final period.
Led by eight fourth quarter points from Smith, the Titans outscored the Roadrunners 18-13 to finish off the win. Fullerton was clutch from the free throw line down the stretch shooting 7-8 (87.5%) in the final two minutes of play.
The Titans hit the road again for a game against Utah Valley University on Saturday, Dec. 23. Tip-off is 1:00 p.m. PT.
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