San Jose, Calif. - A Brea Matthews layup with 7:32 to play cut Cal State Fullerton's lead to three points, but the Titans finished the game on a 22-to-9 run and defeated the San Jose State women's basketball team 81-65 on Thursday night in the Event Center.
"We expended a lot of energy getting the game down to a one possession situation," head coach Tim La Kose said. "We just ran out of steam tonight. Our bench was a bit short and we couldn't complete the comeback."
After hitting over 50 percent from the floor in their previous two games, the Spartans (3-9) struggled on Thursday making 21-of-56 attempts for 37.5 percent shooting.
From the line, Cal State Fullerton (6-5) was 14-of 14 compared to San Jose State's 20-of 31, including missing nine of their 23 chances in the second half.
After Sara Plavljanin, who finished with nine points, seven boards and four assists, sank a 3-pointer to give the Spartans an early 5-4 lead, Cal State Fullerton's Alex Thomas made a layup to put the Titans ahead. It would be a lead they would never relinquish.
Thomas would score eight of her 10 points in the first 20 minutes. A Megan Richardson layup with 7:14 to play before halftime gave Cal State Fullerton it largest lead of the first half, 13 points at 31-18. The teams went to the locker rooms with the Spartans trailing 44-34.
To open the second half, a Matthews' 3-pointer cut the lead to seven. With 14:51 to play a Brittany Johnson layup made it a four-point game, 49-45. After a bucket by Megan Richardson, who led all scorers with 27 points, and two free throws, Fullerton pushed its advantage out to eight, 53-45.
San Jose State trimmed the lead to three, 53-50 at the 11:33 mark, after a pair of Matthews' free throws. The Titans pushed their lead back to eight in a little less than a minute, before the Spartans got it down to three with 7:32 left.
Richardson scored nine of the Titans final 19 points as Cal State Fullerton pulled away for the 81-65 win.
The Spartans were led in the scoring column by Brittany Johnson's 26 points, one shy of her career-high. Johnson has hit double-figure scoring in each game this season and a total of 13 straight dating back to last season. Myesha Broaden added 10 points and led all players with nine rebounds.
San Jose State has to wait nine days to get the taste of this loss out of their mouths. They return to action on December 31 when they host the Brown University Bears. Tipoff for the New Year's Eve game is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. in the Event Center.-