Cal State Fullerton women’s basketball defeated the San Diego State Aztecs, 60-56, in their second home game of the season on Nov. 16 at Titan Gym.
Freshman guard Lily Wahinekapu filled the statistics sheet for the Titans as she posted a career-high 24 points along with five rebounds, four assists and four steals.
Freshman forward Aixchel Hernandez earned her first collegiate double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds off the bench.
The game was a fast-paced match and the Titans were able to pull away for the majority of play, but in the final minutes, they allowed the Aztecs to lessen the deficit.
However, clutch free throws made by Titan graduate forward Carolyn Gill and Hernandez extended Fullerton’s lead to 60-53 before San Diego State guard Mallory Adams made a buzzer-beating three-pointer that ended the game, 60-56.
“I really want to say how proud I am of them for executing the scouting report. They really paid close attention to detail in tonight's game and it showed,” said Jeff Harada, the CSUF head coach. “We know we’ve got to do a better job closing out games but you expect that with a young team and they’re learning how to win every day and how to play with the lead.”
The opening five minutes of the first quarter saw San Diego State dominate behind strong play from senior guard Mercedes Staples and build a commanding 9-0 lead to start off the game, but the Titans made some adjustments to counter the early Aztecs offensive onslaught.
The Titans ended the quarter on a 15-2 run fueled by strong play from Wahinekapu and junior forward Kathryn Neff as they contributed six points each in the period putting Fullerton in the lead 15-11 going into the second quarter.
The second quarter saw the Titans start to pull away from the Aztecs as they managed to run their offense more fluently and get more stops on the defensive end.
Fullerton did a great job of scoring off turnovers, getting to the basket, and shooting the ball this quarter as they ended up with a 30-16 lead heading into the break, which put the Titans in great position moving into the next half.
CSUF shot 38% from the field, but shot well behind the arc at 36% in the first half.
San Diego shot worse at a low overall percentage of 24% from the field, while shooting at an even lower 22% from the three-point line.
The third quarter was entirely about the offensive output from Wahinekapu, who scored 13 of her 24 points in the third quarter, as San Diego State had no answer for the recently crowned Big West player of the week.
Fullerton ended the third quarter with all of the momentum on their side and secured the win despite getting outscored by San Diego State 28-13 in the fourth quarter.
CSUF will hit the road for their next game to take on the Air Force Falcons inside the Clune Arena in Colorado on Nov. 20 at 12 p.m.