Cameron Yong
Cameron Yong

Jan. 12, 2013
Titans 54 – Highlanders 49

In need of an elusive conference win, the UC Riverside women’s basketball team (7-7, 0-3) squared off against Cal State Fullerton (6-9, 2-1) hoping to take advantage of a team that is winless on the road. The search continues as the Highlanders committed a season high 25 turnovers, including a costly error with three seconds remaining to surrender a 54-49 loss to the Titans.

The whistles of the officials were flowing early; UC Riverside was called for five fouls within the opening two minutes of the game. The Titans, who haven’t won in the SRC Arena since 2008, benefited as Fullerton scored the first five points of the match before Tre’Shonti Nottingham flung up a three point prayer that connected. The Highlanders settled in and raced to a 15-7 lead following a Natasha Hadley jumper.

Over the next few minutes the Titans recovered, scoring 10 consecutive points to lead 17-15 as Riverside lost it’s rhythm offensively while continuing to make sloppy mistakes. Four trips to the charity stripe pushed UCR back into a 19-17 advantage, which grew to 25-20 at the half. Both teams struggled as 28 fouls were called in the first half alone. The Highlanders shot an abysmal 19 percent (4 for 21) from the field, but were gold from the free throw line making 16 out of 17 attempts.

UC Riverside looked to seal the deal early, as Nottingham opened the second half with a three pointer followed by a Brittany Crain mid-range jumper that ballooned the lead to 30-20 with just a minute gone in the half. Despite turnovers by the Highlanders, the home team stretched the lead to 12 at 34-22 with 13:24 remaining in the game. The Titans, however, showcased the epitome of resilience as they started to chip away at the UCR lead. Cal State Fullerton went on an impressive 23-8 run over the next nine minutes to pull ahead 45-42, which was capped off by a Mya Olivier three pointer with 3:53 remaining.

With the momentum clearly shifted, the Highlanders were struggling but rallied back to bring the score within one at 50-49 behind a Hadley jumper; however, the achilles heel of the team, the turnovers, began to reemerge as an illegal screen was called on Hadley resulting in the Highlanders 24th mistake and an empty possession. Two successfully converted free throws brought the Titans to a 52-49 lead before a careless mistake on an inbound play saw the Highlanders turn the ball over for the 25th and final time. Fullerton made another jumper that sealed the game.

Nottingham led all players with 16 points but shot only 20 percent from the field while committing six turnovers. Crain added 11 points and Janelle Kearney grabbed a career high 10 rebounds. Alex Thomas paced the Titans with 13 points.

UC Riverside averages 22.5 turnovers per game, which leads the Big West Conference. In the last three games (all losses), they have committed over 70 turnovers (23.3 avg).

The Highlanders look to clean up their play before the next game at Long Beach State on Thursday, Jan. 17.