FULLERTON, Calif. – Fullerton trailed by 11 points with just under four minutes remaining and rallied back, but the comeback came up just short as they fell to the Matadors 70-68 on Saturday night.
Head coach Jeff Harada had this to say after the game:
"We gave ourselves a chance and while we missed our shot at the buzzer to extend the game, we can look at so many other plays that had we executed them, we wouldn't have been in that situation. Take nothing away from CSUN, but we didn't start the game like we were hungry for a win. We showed better energy in the second quarter, but ultimately our poor start came back to bite us."
The Titans only saw two players reach double-figures as they spread out their scoring against the Matadors. Fresman Triann Thompson and junior Jade Vega matched each other with 15 points each. Six of Vega's points came on back-to-back three's with less than 15 seconds remaining. Senior China Henderson and freshman Carolyn Gill tied for the team in rebounds with six each.
CSUN really only had two scorers for the game. Tessa Boagni put up a double-double with 36 points and 10 rebounds. The 36 points is tied for the eighth most points Fullerton has allowed a player to score in program history. Hayley Tanabe put up 20 points and had a game-high four assists. The next closest scorer only had four points.
"Boagni and Tanabe really stepped for them and that's what good players do. It's disappointing we didn't challenge them better," said Harada.
The first quarter was basically the Titans against Boagni as Fullerton did not have an answer for her. CSF put up 14 points as a team on 3-10 shooting for the quarter and Boagni put up 14 of the Matadors' 19 points by herself on 3-7 shooting, but 8-9 from the free throw line. Both teams had issues with fouls as CSUN committed seven while CSF committed eight.
Fullerton dominated the second quarter though. As a team, they shot 10-15 from the field and 2-3 from beyond the arc. Defensively, they stepped it up as well holding the Matadors to just 36.4% from the field and holding Boagni to just eight points. Led by T. Thompson's eight second quarter points, the Titans outscored CSUN 22-10 for the quarter and went into the break leading by seven.
However, CSUN would battle back. Led by 10 points from Tanabe, the Matadors cut the Fullerton lead to just two points by the end of the quarter. The Titans struggled to find the bottom of the net in the quarter shooting just 38.9% from the field.
It was a streaky final quarter at Titan Gym as the Matadors opened up the fourth with a 14-1 scoring run and extended their lead up to as many as 11 points. But the Titans did not give up as they went on an 11-3 run of their own in the final two minutes of play. With 2.8 seconds on the clock and trailing by three, Hannah Thompson got the inbound and was fouled immediately putting her at the line for two shots. After hitting the first, she purposely missed the second. The rebound fell into the hands of T. Thompson, but her layup attempt just rimmed out and Fullerton came up just short of an amazing comeback.
Harada continued, "A lot of lessons to learn from tonight and hopefully we take them to heart as a team. It's all a part of the growing process and I'm excited to see how we respond with Long Beach coming in next week."
The Titans are back in action Thursday, January 11 as Long Beach comes to Titan Gym for Fullerton's third consecutive home game to open up conference play.
SUPPORT THE TITANS!
Fans can purchase tickets for various Cal State Fullerton athletic events by visiting FullertonTitans.com/Tickets. The Athletic Ticket Office can also be contacted by phone at 657-278-2783 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Ticket Office is located at the Titan House off of Gymnasium Drive at the eastern end of the Intramural Fields and is open from 10 am – 4 pm PT, Monday – Friday.
FOLLOW THE TITANS
Fans can keep up with the latest in Titans athletics by following us on Facebook (@FullertonTitans), Twitter (@FullertonTitans), and Instagram (@FullertonTitans) and Snapchat (FullertonTitans). In addition, the women's basketball team has established its own official Twitter page (@WBBTitans) and Facebook Page (@WBBTitans).