After an exceptional first half against UCLA on Dec. 5, the Cal State Fullerton women’s basketball team has not shown the same intensity since.
“We have to play hard, period,” Titan Head Coach Denise Curry said. “If we don’t play hard, we’re not going to win any games.”
Curry was particularly disappointed with her team’s performance Wednesday night against Loyola Marymount.
In that game, the Titans (1-4) fell behind early and never came close to penetrating the Lions’ pressure, losing 84-56.
“Our intensity wasn’t what it should have been,” Curry said.
Later in the second half of that game, Curry started to send in more of her bench players in an effort to boost the offense.
“That was just trying to find someone to go out there and put in a 100-percent effort,” Curry said. “We had to find someone to get the job done.”
But the game was not without its bright spots.
A nagging problem has been the team’s performance from the free-throw line.
But in the second half against LMU, the Titans hit 13 of 15 after not being allowed to see the basket from the stripe in the first half.
Also, players coming off the bench provided some needed defense and stability.
Junior forward Ada May Lake pulled down six rebounds — tops on the team for the game.
Junior center Erin Whiteside had to stare down a large opponent for the second straight game but still added 12 points of her own.
“I think Erin did a good job,” Curry added. “She has been our best post defensive player.”
But Curry added that the Titans’ response to LMU’s pressure defense was something that had to be addressed.
“We expected them to press and we didn’t do a good job against it,” Curry said. “We did not put enough pressure on their outside passers.”
The Titans will now face their longest road trip of the young season, a two-game trip to northern California to face San Jose State on Saturday and Santa Clara on Sunday.
It is the first time this season that the Titans will play games on back-to-back days.
That will be followed by back-to-back home games on Dec. 19 and 20.
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Still a factor for the Titans is the inability to determine a timetable for the return to action of senior guard Gabrielle Castro and sophomore forward Loren Gualco.
Both are suffering from back injuries, but Castro’s rehabilitation has been slow.
Back to the lineup against LMU was senior guard Rhonda Anderson, who had been out with a sprained ankle.
“She’s still limping noticeably,” Curry said. “She’s not 100 percent.”
Senior guard Andrea Thieme continues to play with a face guard after breaking her nose in practice. Though able to play, there is still vision impairment with the device.
Thieme had 12 points in 19 minutes against LMU.