A month has gone by since the last win for Cal State Fullerton women’s basketball. The team will have two chances to earn its third Big West victory as it travels for important road games this week.
After starting conference play with a 2-1 record, the Titans have now dropped seven straight games. However, their last two games have been hard-fought and down to the wire, which gives the team hope for their games against UC Santa Barbara and Long Beach State.
“We’re confident, but at the same time it’s a big week because we haven’t won in a while and we’re hungry for a win. I think we need a win pretty badly,” said Titans Head Coach Jeff Harada.
The Titans will likely play without Daeja Smith on Thursday and Saturday after she suffered from an ankle injury while playing against Santa Barbara Saturday, Feb. 10.
During that game, CSUF nearly completed an 18-point comeback. Harada sung praises of his squad after the game despite their loss, crediting its toughness and resilience to make a comeback without Smith, the team’s leading rebounder.
“I think there’s confidence in our players knowing that we made a run and actually took the lead with Daeja on the bench so we’re excited to play,” Harada said. “We talk about your best players stepping up when they’re needed and this will be a classic example of that this week.”
Fullerton will travel to Long Beach State following the Santa Barbara game. Its last win this season came at the expense of the 49ers, so the team is comfortable travelling to Long Beach for the rematch.
“If we come out with the same energy and effort, we should be able to come out with a win like we did last time,” said Titans point guard Jade Vega.
In that game, the Titans grabbed 10 more rebounds than Long Beach State. They have only outrebounded their opponents in the seven games since.
Vega, the team’s assist leader, is experiencing a slump of her own. Over the last three conference games, she has scored one field goal per game and is yet to attempt a free throw.
Her focus, however, is not on getting her own offensive game back on track.
“I’m just going to focus on getting my teammates involved, getting them shots, getting them open and doing the other things that’ll help my team get the win,” Vega said.
While her play has not been up to par recently, Vega has maintained her role as the team’s floor general, making sure the offense is set up correctly for her teammates.
“I think it’s more important for me to be a vocal leader at tough times because we need that spark of energy and someone to look up to do something,” Vega said. “I feel like I need to be, as the point guard and as a junior.
The Titans will play in Santa Barbara’s Thunderdome on Thursday, Feb. 15 at 7:00 p.m. and in the Walter Pyramid at Long Beach State on Saturday, Feb. 17 at 4:00 p.m.