A road swing is on the horizon for the Cal State Fullerton women’s basketball team this weekend, as it travels to UC Riverside and Cal State Northridge.
The Titans (9-10 overall, 3-3 Big West) travel inland Thursday to the Student Recreational Center Arena in Riverside looking for the season sweep of the Highlanders (13-8 overall, 4-3 Big West). The sweep won’t come easy, with Riverside on a 3-game winning streak and boasting an 8-1 record at home.
The Titans enter the game stumbling a bit of late, losing three of their last four contests. The road has presented mixed results for Fullerton, yielding an average 5-5 record.
The key for Fullerton will be containing Riverside guard Brittany Crain, the Big West Conference’s leading scorer with 24 points-per-game. Crain is lethal from long range, draining over 40 percent of her 3-pointers.
In their first matchup of the season, a 58-49 CSUF win, the Titans kept Crain in check with 18 points off of 6-of-21 shooting from the field.
Fullerton Head Coach Daron Park has made it a point all season to shut down the opposing team’s leading scorer and force supporting players to produce points. Given the success of the strategy in the teams’ first meeting, Park will surely continue to roll with the same game plan.
The Titans will counter with the second leading scorer in the Big West, Chante Miles. The senior guard is averaging 19.7 points per game and is coming off a 25-point effort against Long Beach State. Miles was equal to Crain’s 18 points in the first matchup, but will look to best the conference leading scorer Thursday night.
Fullerton will also need Kathleen Iwuoha to step up if the Titans are to find success this weekend. Iwuoha is the leading rebounder for the Titans, grabbing 6.6 boards per game. The senior forward missed three games after suffering a concussion, but has produced double-digit scoring efforts in the two games since her return to action.
Two days after playing UC Riverside, the Titans head to the Matadome to spar with the Matadors in their first meeting of the season. Coming into the weekend, the Matadors hold a 14-8 overall record and a 4-4 conference mark.
Northridge will prove to be another tough road test for Fullerton, as the Matadors are 8-2 at home. Last season, Northridge swept Fullerton.
Ashlee Guay is the top scorer for Northridge with 15 points per game, but if the Titans focus solely on her, the Matadors will strike with the rest of their balanced attack. Fullerton should be wary of the Northridge 3-point threat, Cinnamon Lister, who is shooting 39.8 percent from behind the arc.
The road swing comes at a pivotal time of the season, giving the Titans a chance to move their record to over .500 and climb back up the Big West ladder. Fullerton is on a quest to become the first Titan women’s basketball team to have a winning record in the past 24 years. Miles will likely shoulder the load of the team and help the Titans find their winning ways.
Tipoff against Riverside is at 7 p.m. Thursday, while Saturday’s game against Northridge begins at 4 p.m.