An 11-2 run in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter gave Cal State Fullerton women’s basketball the 67-62 win over Dartmouth in Titan Gym on Wednesday.
The Titans (3-4) trailed 60-56 with less than five minutes in the game. Six of their final 11 points came from the free-throw line.
“I think it was very important toward the end,” guard Raina Perez said. “To be honest, it was all Jade (Vega) going 14-15 throughout the game.”
Dartmouth (2-3) seemingly took control of the second half with a 14-2 run that gave it an 8-point lead in the third quarter. However, Fullerton was able to claw back into the game from the free-throw line.
In the last four minutes of the third quarter, CSUF hit six of its eight free throws to tie the game heading into the fourth quarter. They finished 24 of 32 from the line as a team.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Titans head coach Jeff Harada yelled at his team for being in the wrong defensive set after a Dartmouth basket. The Titans seemed to respond to his anger as they held the Big Green scoreless for the last three minutes of the game.
“We didn’t want to have a little slip-up and have them get a layup or an easy shot,” Perez said. “We needed to get a stop in order to win the game … if you don’t get stops, you’re not gonna win the game.”
Eight of Perez’s team-high 17 points came in the fourth quarter but none of her four assists came in the fourth quarter. She said her late dominance came because she was the open person.
“Jeff likes us to see who’s open. If a person is open, then that’s who we’re going to,” Perez said.
Neither team was able to establish a rhythm or control the game. Runs of double-digit points dictated who would own the lead each quarter.
Perez attributed the lack of flow to “little mistakes” such as offensive rebounding. CSUF grabbed four offensive rebounds while Dartmouth had 20.
In their first six games of the season, the Titans attempted an average 20.3 3-pointers per game. Perez said Harada told the Titans to know their game, which led to them only shooting 11 3-pointers on Wednesday.
“(He said) it’s not just a 3-point contest, but I think we took it too hard. We need to know what we can do best,” Perez said.
Perez said the main thing she believes Fullerton needs to clean up before its game on Saturday against Cal State Bakersfield is its ball control. She guessed off-hand that the Titans average 20 turnovers per game, which is close to their actual rate of 19.1.
Saturday’s homecoming game will tip-off at 2 p.m. in Titan Gym.
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