IRVINE, Calif. – In the final game of the 2017-18 season, Cal State Fullerton women's basketball showed its pride as they fought hard to finish the season with a win but ultimately fell short to UC Irvine 78-58 Saturday afternoon at the Bren Events Center.
"It obviously wasn't the way we wanted to end our season but I was proud of the fight we showed. To have 28 turnovers, shoot 38 percent and only be down 10 points with seven and half minutes to play showed tremendous resolve," said Head Coach Jeff Harada. "We just dug ourselves too deep of a hole and you can't do that and expect to win games at this level."
Fullerton trailed by as many as 23 points in the second half. The Titans were unwilling to give up however, as they battled back in the fourth quarter to cut the Anteaters lead to just nine points before ultimately dropping the game.
By the attitude of the Titans you wouldn't have been able to tell it was the last game of their season. Especially center Daeja Smith who picked up her 13th double-double of the season with an impressive 18 points and a career-high 17 rebounds.
"Daeja (Smith) had a monster game and hopefully it inspires her to want to be even better heading into the off season and as a senior," Harada said.
Freshman Carolyn Gill continued to play with immense hustle and effort throughout the game to pick up her first career double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Her 12 rebounds also ties a career-high from earlier this season.
Point guard Jade Vega made several great plays throughout the contest, setting up her teammates for easy buckets by driving past her defender and finding the open player. Vega had a nice statline across the board with eight points, five assists and five rebounds.
Hannah Thompson was one of the beneficiaries of the great passing from Vega as she finished with 10 points on the day.
Fullerton wraps up the season with an overall record of 8-21 and a conference record of 3-13. While the Titans would have liked to have a better season, they did win more games than the past two season combined in the first season under Head Coach Harada.
"Overall I thought we had some really great and some not so great moments this year. We were able to double our overall win total and triple our conference win total from a year ago," Harada said. "Aside from the wins and losses I do believe we have taken the right steps to change the culture and create a winning environment with our program. I'm definitely excited for the future of Titans Women's Basketball."
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