With heavy hearts, Titans match up with Big West foes

JOHN PEKCAN / Daily Titan

JOHN PEKCAN / Daily Titan

The CSUF women’s basketball team has their work cut out for them this weekend as they look to end their six-game losing skid as they clash with Long Beach State and UC Irvine.

Emotions are still running high for the team as they continue to cope with the death of assistant coach Monica Quan on Feb. 3. The team dropped their first game in an emotional return against UC Riverside 64-45 on Saturday. The bright spot of the game was a career high 17 points by freshman guard Annie Park on 5-of-9 shooting from 3-point land. The Titans will look to get their first win for coach “Mo” against rivals Long Beach State tonight at 7 p.m. in Titan Gym.

The Titans (7-15 overall, 3-7 conference) come into the game losers of six straight with double digit losses in five of the six games. They will look to rally against Long Beach State (12-11 overall, 5-6 conference) who has had their share of struggles losing three of their past four contests. The Titans boast a 6-5 home record and will look for support from the crowd after a season high in attendance in the loss to UC Riverside.

The 49ers won the first meeting of this season 45-39 on Jan. 19 in a low scoring affair in which the Titans shot a dismal 19 percent from the field. The loss snapped a six-game winning streak against the 49ers and dropped the overall record against Long Beach State to 33-61. However the Titans outrebounded the 49ers 49-36 and forced 23 turnovers. Junior guard Alex Thomas scored a career-high 20 points and sophomore forward Kathleen Iwuoha grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds, and they will look for a similar effort to win tonight’s game.

The Titans will begin a three game road trip Saturday when they travel to UC Irvine to take on the Anteaters (6-17 overall, 2-9 conference) as part of a doubleheader that includes the men’s basketball team. The women’s team plays at 5 p.m. and the men play following the conclusion of the women’s game.

The Titans have struggled on the road this season with a 1-8 away record, but the Anteaters have equally struggled to defend their home court, also posting a 1-8 home record. The Titans bested UC Irvine 65-51 in their first meeting of the season Jan. 17, which was the first career start for Park. The win brought the all-time matchup between the two teams to 33-33.

Park took advantage of her opportunity while sophomore guard Chante Miles dealt with an injury and posted new career highs in points, rebounds and assists. Park’s performance earned her more starts, coming off the bench only twice since that game. Thomas had 18 points in the game, and her and Park combined for 31 points. Iwuoha chipped in eight points and eight rebounds in the win.

The Titans’ defense was stout, holding UC Irvine to 33.9 percent shooting. The Titans created lots of easy opportunities as they outscored the Anteaters 36-24 in the paint. The Titans will look for a strong defensive effort against both Long Beach State and UC Irvine this weekend.

For more information, visit FullertonTitans.com.

About Tameem Seraj

Tameem is a journalism major and kinesiology minor in his senior year. This is his third semester on the Daily Titan staff and second as sports editor. He transferred to CSUF from Irvine Valley College/Saddleback College, where he was sports editor for The Lariat. The sports enthusiast’s parents say sports is like a religion to him and his heart lies with the Los Angeles Angels, Anaheim Ducks, San Diego Chargers, Los Angeles Galaxy, Liverpool F.C., Minnesota Timberwolves and of course the CSUF Titans. His dream job is to be a beat writer for any of the aforementioned teams.