Irvine's Defensive Pressure Too Much for Fullerton

Game action against Long Beach
Photo by Matt Brown

Box Score (PDF)

FULLERTON, Calif. – The Titans couldn't handle the pressure of UC Irvine's full court press and defense overall on Wednesday night. Shooting 35.5% from the field, Fullerton would go on to lose their fifth straight losing to the Anteaters 76-60. 

After the game, head coach Jeff Harada said, "I liked that we played hard until the end, but unfortunately we had trouble making shots and getting stops when we needed them. Part of that was their press and part of that was Green being a tough matchup, but I felt we could have been better at both of those things."

Junior Hannah Thompson led the way offensively for the Titans again, recording her second consecutive (and fourth of the year) 20-point performance finishing with 21 points thanks to a three as the final horn sounded. Junior Daeja Smith ended up with double-double number 10 on the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman Triann Thompson was the third and final double-figure scorer for Fullerton finishing with 10 points to go along with a game-high four assists.

UCI also saw three scorers reach double-figures led by Morgan Green who put up 30 points on 10-14 from the field. It's the second 30-point performance against the Titans this season. Jordan Sanders finished the game 12 points, while Andee Ritter finished with 11 off the bench. Tahlia Garza led the Anteaters with 10 rebounds.

H. Thompson got off to a quick start scoring Fullerton's first five points of the game as the teams went back-and-forth to open the game. However, two unanswered threes in the final minute and a half including a buzzer beater from Green would put UCI up by eight at the end of the first ten minutes of play.

Irvine came out for the second with the hot hand, opening up the quarter on a 10-1 run and extending their lead up to 16. But the Titans quickly brought it back going on a 9-0 run of their own to close out the half. At the break, Fullerton trailed by eight.

After Smith put in the first bucket of the second half for Fullerton, UCI went on a tear getting 11 unanswered points without missing a shot to push their lead up to 17 points. The Titans finally put an end to the run, but the Anteaters kept up the pressure and found themselves up by as many as 22 points before the quarter ended.

Fullerton showed some late life shooting over 50% in the final quarter, but the deficit was too much to overcome.

The Titans get a week off from games as they'll prepare for their trip to the islands next week. They face off against the Rainbow Wahine, whom they beat 69-57 at Titan Gym to open up conference play, on Thursday, Feb. 8 at 10pm PT.


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