women's basketball team

CSUF women's basketball head coach Jeff Harada talks to his team on Jan. 1 against UC Santa Barbara at Titan Gym. (CSUF Athletics)

A huge start at the second quarter by UC Santa Barbara proved to be too much for Cal State Fullerton women’s basketball as they dropped their second matchup against the Gauchos, 79-60, on Saturday night. 

The loss put CSUF at 0-5 in the year and 0-2 in the Big West as UC Santa Barbara completed the two-game sweep that put the Gauchos at 2-6 overall.

Fullerton played a back-and-forth first quarter with UCSB, as the Titans led 14-13 at the end of the first 10 minutes. That would be the last time the Titans led though, as the Gauchos began the second quarter on a 19-0 run that lasted nearly five minutes long. 

UCSB guard Danae Miller played a huge part in that scoring run, as she had 10 points in the second quarter alone. The Gauchos outscored the Titans, 25-8, in the second quarter to give them a 38-22 lead at halftime. 

“It shows we haven’t practiced in awhile,” said CSUF head coach Jeff Harada. “We dug ourselves a hole in the second quarter, tried to make a comeback and it just didn’t happen for us tonight.”

In the second quarter, the Gauchos shot 8-for-15 from the field and made all six 3-pointer attempts — three of them came from Taylor Mole. CSUF made only three of its 16 shots and one of the seven 3-pointer attempts. 

In total, UCSB shot 50% from the field and went 53.8% from behind the 3-point line. CSUF shot only 37.5% from the field and made 36.4% of its 3-point shots. 

Miller was the leading scorer for UCSB with 20 points, and nearly had a triple double with eight assists and six rebounds. Miller, Mole, Doris Jones and Anya Choice all scored in double figures as they combined for 67 points. Aimee Book was the leading scorer for the Titans with 19 points, 13 of them coming from 3-pointers. 

“It’s tough coming off a two-week quarantine, but I think we made some strides this weekend,” Book said. “They know I shoot the ball, so just making counter moves to that, driving to the hoop, being aggressive and getting to the line, I think that’s what worked well.”

The second half continued to be much of the same, as UC Santa Barbara had made 10 consecutive 3-point shots and led by as much as 24 points midway through the fourth quarter. However, CSUF was able to close out the game strong as they outscored the Gauchos by three points in the final quarter. Even with the loss, Harada was glad his team was able to win two quarters given they are still trying to get back from quarantine.

“That one quarter really hurt us, but we were able to come on top in two quarters. Our turnovers were down again, which was great, and we played hard to the end. That’s all I ask from these kids,” Harada said.

Harada said that the defense will need to improve and he wants to get his team back in shape.

“We just want to get into a rhythm and get our timing back and just get in a flow. I think once we get those things down, I think hopefully things will be a little bit better,” Harada said.

CSUF will play on the road next week against Long Beach State on Friday and Saturday at 4 p.m. both days.

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