LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Freshman Jade Vega scored five points within the last 10 seconds of the game including the game-winning layup at the buzzer to lead the Titans to a 75-73 victory over Loyola Marymount at Gersten Pavilion on Tuesday night.
The freshmen trio of Michelle Berry, Dani Craig and Vega all scored in double-digits to give the Titans (2-0) their best start since 2011.
Berry scored 24 points and collecting seven boards while Craig scored a career-high 22 points while going 6-11 from behind the arc. Karima Gabriel was strong for the Titan defense, chipping in 11 rebounds and 5 blocks.
Third-year head coach Daron Park commented on the come from behind victory by the Titans.
“What a great hard fought game by both teams. I’m so proud of our fight and resolve,” said Park. “Our kids never quit and made some great plays down the stretch.”
In the first period, LMU got on the scoreboard first with a three-pointer from Leslie Lopez-Wood and jumped quickly ahead until the Titans’ first three of the game came from Dani Craig. The freshman led the Titans in the first period scoring six points while logging one board and an assist, while Berry put up five points and two rebounds.
Early in the second period, the Titans fell into a double digit deficit trailing 28-18 until Berry found her way to the free throw line in combination with a layup to close the gap to 28-23.
Yet the Lions extended their lead again in the second period, having their largest margin of the game thus far at 13 with just over 2 minutes left in the game leading 40-27. Berry hit two free throws and Amanda Tivenius chipped in three from the line to get the Titans back within 10.
After scoring 18 points in the second half, the Titans put themselves within a seven-point margin at the end of the first half being led by Berry and Craig with 13 and 8 points, respectively.
The Lions opened up the third quarter on a 10-3 run until back to back three-pointers from the duo of Berry and Craig put the Titans back in the game. The Titans later found some momentum by going on a six-point run to close the gap to four, trailing 55-51 with just over three minutes left in the third period.
Cal State Fullerton outscored LMU in the third quarter 22-15 to tie the game up at 58 heading into the fourth quarter.
In the final quarter, LMU came out hot leading the Titans by four at one point until Craig hit her sixth three-pointer of the game to put the Titans down by one. In a back and forth battle between the two teams, the game boiled down to the very end.
With less than 10 seconds on the clock and the Titans trailing by three, Vega came through with a clutch three-pointer to tie it up. After LMU missed a layup, junior Sami Logan came down with the rebound to get it over to Vega who ran it down court and put up the layup right at the buzzer to give the Titans their second win of the season.
Coach Park added, “I am so proud of this team and so excited to get back to work tomorrow and continue to get better.”
Fullerton returns to action on Friday night as they head to Malibu to take on Pepperdine at 7 p.m.
NOTES: The Titans have improved their overall record against LMU to 7-9… The 2-0 start is the best start for the Titans since head coach Daron Park took the reins in 2013… The freshmen trio of Berry, Craig and Vega have posted back-to-back games scoring in the double-digits… The Titans shot 46.3% while hitting 40.9% from behind the arc and 69.6% from the line… Again Berry and Craig were the only two Titans to play all 40 minutes.