FULLERTON, Calif. – The Titans win the fourth quarter battle and come out on top of Long Beach 67-61 to move to 7-9 (2-1 BWC) for the season. Junior Hannah Thompson led all scorers, matching a career-high 21 points in the victory.
"Really proud of the way we battled," said head coach Jeff Harada. "Both teams had opportunities to win this game and we found a way to pull it out. We didn't play our best tonight and Long Beach had a lot to do with that. They forced us into too many turnovers and we have to learn to value possessions. We talk about having poise under pressure and we did at times tonight, but we were just too inconsistent."
Harada continued, "Ultimately the game came down to some timely shots, critical stops, rebounding and free throws. We were able to do those things when we needed to and we're excited to get our second conference win."
H. Thompson was one of three Titans to reach double-figures in the win over the 49ers. Junior Daeja Smith recorded her eighth double-double of the season with 17 points and 12 rebounds while freshman Triann Thompson recorded her fourth straight double-digit game with 11 points. Freshman Carolyn Gill had a fantastic night crashing the boards pulling down 11 rebounds and dishing out a team-high four assists.
Long Beach only saw two of their players reach double-figures as Ma'Qhi Berry led the 49ers with 16 points and a game-high eight assists. Berry also had a team-high nine rebounds. Naomi Hunt was the other double-digit scorer putting up 14 points off the bench.
The first quarter was back-and-forth between the two teams as neither team could get on any kind of run. Long Beach outscored Fullerton 17-14 thanks to 50% shooting from the floor. The Titans weren't far behind shooting 44.4%. The storyline was written from the beginning though as the 49ers struggled with fouling from the beginning. CSF was 5-6 from the line in the first quarter.
Fullerton dominated the second quarter. Led by H. Thompson's nine points, the Titans outscored the 49ers by 12 points. Long Beach was held to just 4-20 from the field and 1-7 from beyond the arc as they only mustered up nine points for the entire quarter.
Long Beach repaid the favor though in the third quarter as their high-pressure defensive only gave up nine points to the Titans, five of which came from the free throw line. Fullerton's third quarter was one of the worst shooting quarters they've had all season, going 2-15 (13.3%) from the field. The Titans were clinging to a two-point lead going into the fourth.
The fourth quarter was the best offensive quarter for both teams and it made for an entertaining end. The first five minutes of the quarter were very back-and-forth as neither team could break through. But with 4:27 on the clock, junior Jade Vega dropped in a floater that would start a 9-0 run for the Titans. Fullerton never looked back after that as they held on to defeat rival Long Beach 67-61.
With their second conference win, Fullerton has already bested their Big West win total from the last two seasons. The win over Long Beach also snaps a seven-game losing streak against the 49ers and their first win at Titan Gym since 2012.
The Titans will see their first road action of conference play as they travel to UC Riverside for a 2:00 game against the Highlanders on Saturday.
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