CSUF women’s basketball will host UC Riverside on Thursday Feb. 22 in hopes of ending its nine-game losing streak.
The Titans dropped their games against UC Santa Barbara and Long Beach State. Forward Carolyn Gill and center Daeja Smith missed the game at Santa Barbara, but came off the bench against the 49ers.
Gill finished with 6 points and 10 rebounds, and Smith totaled 8 points and 5 rebounds.
For CSUF, rebounding continued to be a struggle as it was outrebounded by 14 against Long Beach State.
Despite Smith and Gill missing practice, Titans Head Coach Jeff Harada does not think their absences contributed to the lackluster performance on the glass.
“It was a combined lack of effort. We didn’t make open shots and they outplayed us. They just wanted it a little more than we did,” Harada said.
With Smith back and feeling 100 percent, she’s ready to battle down low to help her team win the rebounding war.
“We need to rebound as a team in order to win,”…”I’m going to come to fight and so is my team,” Smith said.
Fullerton shot 30.5 percent from the field and 53.3 percent from the free-throw line against Long Beach. It was only the seventh time this season the Titans had converted fewer than 60 percent of their attempts from the line, a percentage that Harada prides the team on.
He concluded that the team’s poor shooting from the line came from a few issues.
“We shot near 31 percent for the game and it trickled down to the free-throw line. Defensively, when you’re not getting stops, it affects your offense and your confidence level,” Harada said.
In both matchups against Santa Barbara this season, Harada schemed the defense to double team the post and force the Gauchos to win by making perimeter shots. Expect a similar strategy against Riverside, which sits at the bottom of the Big West in 3-point percentage.
Smith believes her interior defense is vital if the team wants to execute the game plan.
“We have to pack the paint. We want them to kick out and get them to shoot threes,” Smith said.
Despite going over a month without a win and owning the longest losing streak in the conference, Harada is still hopeful that the team can make a push for the tournament with the remaining schedule.
“Hopefully, we can put all of that behind us and understand that we’re still in the hunt and we’ve got four games left and we need to make the most out of those four games,” Harada said.
The game against the Highlanders will tip off at 7:00 p.m. in Titan Gym.