Five Hit Double Digits in 66-64 Win at Cal State Fullerton
Lions hold off Titans to win fourth in a row on the road
Dec. 9, 2009
FULLERTON, Calif. - Needing a total team effort, LMU got it on Wednesday night, putting five players in double figures to hold off Cal State Fullerton 66-64 in a non-conference game at Titan Gym in Fullerton, Calif. Sophomore Alex Cowling led the Lions (5-4) with 18 points to help LMU improve to 3-1 this season over teams from the Big West Conference and record their sixth straight win against the Titans (3-5).
Cowling, LMU's leading scorer on the season at 15.6 points per game, bounced back from a 6-for-16 performance last time out by connecting on nine of her 13 shots against the Titans. Cowling led all players with 18 points and added six rebounds but it was the contributions of her teammates that lifted LMU. Only six players in total scored but five were in double figures as senior Jenna Sybesma came off the bench for 11 points while juniors Renahy Young and Melanie Ysaguirre and sophomore Candice Nichols each chipped in 10. Young also dished a career-high seven assists while Ysaguirre recorded her first career double-double by pulling down 10 rebounds. Senior Lisa Helmers also had a fine outing, coming off the bench for seven points and six boards.
Statistics show that when the Lions shoot 45% or better from the floor this season, they are undefeated. They kept that trend going, connecting on 46.3% (25-for-54) overall, including 50% (13-for-26) in the second half to improve to 4-0 when hitting 45% or better. That helped overcome a 1-for-10 performance from three-point range while they hit 71.4% (15-for-21) at the free-throw line. Rebounds also proved a difference-maker, with LMU holding a 41-31 advantage on the glass.
Megan Richardson had 17 points to lead Cal State Fullerton and was joined in double figures by Lyndsey Grove and Jasmine Scott with 14 and 12 points, respectively. The Titans shot 40.3% (25-for-62) from the floor and stayed in the game by knocking down 47.1% (8-for-17) from long-range, including 7-of-10 in the second half. They didn't help themselves at the line, however, going just 6-for-11 (54.5%).
LMU came out aggressive, starting the game on a 12-2 run that extended to 18-6 on a layup by Young. The Lions were pounding the Titans inside, with six of their first seven baskets coming in the paint. Slowly, Fullerton began to crawl back, cutting it to four, 23-19 on Scott's layup with 7:04 left in the first. Despite being held without a basket for the final 3:41 of the half, the Lions maintained their lead with hard-nosed defense, holding the Titans without a bucket for the last 2:02 in taking a 30-23 lead into the break.
Fullerton rallied to start the second half to take their first lead of the contest on back-to-back three-pointers by Grove and Britt Peters and a Richardson driving lay-up to lead, 31-30, two minutes in. However, the Lions threatened to run away with the game, responding with a 15-4 run over a six-minute span to grab what seemed to be a commanding 10-point, 45-35, lead with just under 13 minutes to play. Ysaguirre capped the run with the final five points on three-point play and a layup.
Fullerton's long-range attack brought it back once again as the Titans got three-straight from long range with Grove, Scott, and Richardson hitting on the next three possessions to trail just 45-44 with 11 minutes remaining.
The two teams traded baskets over the next two minutes before another spurt by Fullerton gave it the lead once again with just under seven minutes to go. LMU, however, would battle back to finally close out Fullerton, tying the game on a free throw by Young and taking the lead for good seconds later on a basket by Sybesma as the Lions pulled ahead, 53-51. LMU held off the Titans by connecting on a solid 7-of-8 from the line in the final minute, including a pair from Nichols with four second left that proved vital when Grove knocked down a long two at the buzzer.
The Lions have now won four in a row on the road to improve to 4-1 away from Gersten Pavilion this season. They face another tough test this Saturday when they visit New Mexico at 1 p.m. MT/noon PT.