The Cal State Fullerton women’s basketball team extended its losing streak to five games after falling to UC Davis Thursday night and to the Big West Conference leader, Hawaii, Saturday evening.
Senior guard Chante Miles carried the Titans against UC Davis, leading all scorers with 33 points and scoring 15 of her team’s first 30 points. Miles’ point production, however, wasn’t enough to lift the Titans over the Aggies and Sydnee Fipps, who lead Davis with 27 points.
The game was a close contest throughout, with six lead changes and five tied scorelines.
The Titans fell behind by as much as seven points in the second half, but with Miles’ hot hand and Kathleen Iwuoha’s defensive presence, CSUF was able to take a four-point lead when the team went on a 17-6 run with 5:48 left in the game.
In the end, the Aggies proved to be too much to handle, outscoring CSUF 12-5 in overtime to secure the 74-67 victory.
“We showed emotion and we showed passion and we showed fire. The problem is good teams don’t just do it in spurts; good teams consistently do it. We haven’t learned that yet,” said Head Coach Daron Park.
Iwuoha, who lead the Titans in rebounds Thursday night with eight, was helped off the court in the game’s closing minutes due to cramps. Iwuoha returned in the final minute of overtime, but the Aggies lead was too much to surmount.
“We didn’t execute as well as we should have,” Miles said.
Looking to execute more effectively on Saturday, Fullerton stayed even with Hawaii through the first 10 minutes of action.
After the game was knotted at 12, Hawaii ramped up the physicality on defense and went on a 10-2 run to open an eight-point lead, the same amount by which they led at halftime. Miles shouldered the load once again for the Titans, tallying 10 points in the first half.
“(Hawaii is) big, they’re physical, they play hard, they really get into you and defend and they do a really good job disrupting what you’re trying to do,” Park said.
The Titan defense was gritty as well, holding Hawaii to under 40 percent shooting and no free-throw attempts. Even more impressive, Fullerton held Hawaii’s leading scorer Shawna-Lei Kuehu to just two first half points.
However, Kuehu was not to be denied in the second half. In the final 15 minutes, the senior scored 15 points.
“(Kuehu) looked at our team and she said ‘All right, let’s see if you can stop me,’” Park said. “She put her head down and she went and she got what was hers and she finished. That’s what gutsy, tough kids do.”
Fullerton made several runs to cut into the lead, but the stout Hawaii defense denied the comeback effort and cruised to a 54-43 win. The Rainbow Wahine compiled eight blocks and held the Titan offense to just three assists on the night. The main weapon for Fullerton, the 3-pointer, was ineffective against Hawaii, as the Titans went 1-for-8 from behind the arc.
“Sometimes you just got to say ‘I’m better than you today, I’m going to go get what’s mine,’” Park said. “We lacked that mentality, some of us. The difference tonight—I thought Hawaii had that mentality.”
Miles led all scorers with 21 points on the night, her 21st consecutive game scoring in double figures. Iwuoha posted a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
With the pair of losses, Fullerton drops to 9-14 on the season and 3-7 in conference play.
The Titans will look to snap their losing skid on the road against Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Thursday.