Cal State Fullerton women focus on future after Big West tourney loss to Hawaii

  • After finding the lane blocked by a Hawaii defender, Cal State Fullerton forward Amiee Book passes the ball off during a Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinal game on Wednesday night at Long Beach State. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • CSU Fullerton guard Raina Perez #2 takes a shot in the first half against Hawaii in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

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  • CSU Fullerton guard Raina Perez #2 works her way to the basket in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • Hawaii guard Julissa Tago #0 stretches for a rebound against CSU Fullerton in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • CSU Fullerton guard Raina Perez #2 finds her shot blocked by a Hawaii defender in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • CSU Fullerton forward Amiee Book #13 tries to work her way to the basket against Hawaii in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • Hawai’i head coach Laura Beeman chats with guard Nae Nae Calhoun #24 in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • A lone credentialed spectator watches the game from the upper row of the Walter Pyramid in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • Hawaii forward Amy Atwell #25 takes a shot in the Walter Pyramid empty of fans in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • CSU Fullerton head coach Jeff Harada gets frustrated after a turnover in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • CSU Fullerton guard Raina Perez #2 runs the offense in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • CSU Fullerton guard Raina Perez #2 drives the ball to the basket around Hawaii guard Nae Nae Calhoun #24 in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • CSU Fullerton forward Carolyn Gill #23 loses the ball under her basket in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • CSU Fullerton head coach Jeff Harada watches from his bench in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • CSU Fullerton bench erupts after a 3-pointer in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • CSU Fullerton guard Raina Perez, right, has the ball stripped away by Hawai’i forward Myrrah Joseph #5 in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • CSU Fullerton forward Madison Freemon #22 reaches for a rebound against Hawaii in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • CSU Fullerton and Hawaii in a spectator free area in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

  • CSU Fullerton guard Taylor Turney #21 scores on a layup in the Big West Conference women’s tournament quarterfinals in Long Beach on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

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LONG BEACH — The revival of women’s basketball at Cal State Fullerton took a pause Wednesday night. But Coach Jeff Harada says that is all it will be.

The Titans posted their first winning season since 1991 then won their first Big West Conference Tournament game since 2015 on Tuesday, but they were beaten by Hawaii 72-59 in their quarterfinal game at the Walter Pyramid.

They finish the season 17-14, return everyone for the 2020-21 season, and have learned a lot about winning games and handling adversity.

“I’m extremely proud of what they have accomplished this season,” said Harada, in his third season. “They put up with me every day, and I can be tough and don’t let them slide. But all that is why we are where we are.

“This doesn’t take away anything we accomplished this season.”

“We’ve gained so much confidence this season,” junior Taylor Turney said. “We were picked to finish ninth in the league, and we almost finished second and we got to the quarterfinals.

“We’ve already talked about what we can do next season, how we can take this further.”

The Titans were playing for the second time in as many days while Hawaii finished its season Saturday. The Rainbow Wahines have one of the deepest benches in the league; nine players rotated into the game and seven finished with seven points or more.

The score was tied at 6-6 when Hawaii went on a 12-1 run to take an 18-7 lead after a quarter, basically putting a hold on the game and allowing the Wahine to dictate the pace and keep Fullerton chasing.

The Titans made just two of 13 shots in the first quarter.

“They sped us up early and threw off our timing,” Harada said. “When we did get opportunities, we kind of rushed our shots. That was basically the game. The margin the last three quarters was just two points.”

Hawaii did whatever it could to take Big West Player of the Year Raina Perez out of the game, crowding her regardless of where she was on the court.

“They switched screens and built a wall around her so that she couldn’t even kick a pass out,” Harada said.

Perez scored 10 points and made just four of 20 shots for 10 points. Julissa Tago led Hawaii with 15 points, and Nae Calhoun had 10. Turney led the Titans with 16 points and Aimee Book added 14.

Hawaii coach Laura Beeman said the Wahine’s depth was a factor.

“We have two or three players on the bench who are good enough to start, but no one feels entitled because we use everyone,” she said. “We pick each other up knowing we have that much bench.”

The women’s tournament continues with semifinals on Friday afternoon at the Honda Center. Eighth-seeded Cal Poly, which defeated No. 3 seed UC Irvine, will face top-seeded UC Davis at noon and Hawaii will face No. 2 seed UC Santa Barbara at 2:30 p.m. The championship game is Saturday at 3 p.m.

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Cal State Fullerton women avenge earlier losses to CSUN in Big West tourney opener

LONG BEACH — Cal State Fullerton junior Taylor Turney had to make a frantic phone call a few hours before Tuesday’s Big West Conference women’s basketball tournament game against Cal State Northridge.

She had to call her parents, who were driving into Southern California from their home outside of Las Vegas. The conference decided Tuesday afternoon to prohibit spectators at all of this week’s men’s and women’s tourney games because of the coronavirus threat.

“I heard at practice,” she said. “What? No fans? My family was driving in. They were in Barstow and turned around. My mom was crying, but I think she’ll be OK.”

No doubt. Turney had a brilliant effort in the sixth-seeded Titans’ 67-52 first-round win at the Walter Pyramid, scoring 27 points on 10-of-19 shooting with three 3-pointers and nine rebounds to advance the team to a Wednesday quarterfinal against fourth-seeded Hawaii.

It was the first tourney win for Fullerton since 2015, on the heels of the program’s first winning season since 1991. The Titans snuffed out a seventh-seeded CSUN team that had swept the two regular-season meetings, this time holding the Matadors to 31 percent shooting and forcing 13 turnovers.

Turney stepped up on a night when Big West Player of the Year Raina Perez had shooting issues early but finished with 14 points, 11 assists, four steals and seven rebounds.

“It’s another step in learning how to win,” Fullerton head coach Jeff Harada said. “We lost the last two regular-season games and missed a chance to lock up the No. 2 seed, but it says a lot about the maturity of this team in learning how to win big games and put losses behind you.”

Fullerton (17-13) scored 32 of its 67 points in the paint and turned the ball over just seven times. Forwards Aimee Book (12 points, 10 rebounds) and Carolyn Gill (10 points, 3 blocked shots) also contributed.

Meghann Henderson led CSUN with 15 points and seven rebounds.

“They did a very good job tonight,” CSUN coach Justin Flowers said. “We had some defensive breakdowns and gave up too many easy field goals. It was different than the first two games.”

Perez and Turney have made a huge impact on the Titans’ program. Harada had to build a team from scratch and hit the transfer portal to find Perez, who started her career at Northern Arizona, and Turney, who started at San Jose State.

“They put a lot of emphasis on me tonight,” Perez said, “but you can impact the game in other ways. I started looking for my teammates instead of worrying about my shot. It was great to see the team pick me up.”

The conference decision to shutter the game from fans was a response to the growing number of coronavirus breakouts in Southern California. Only team personnel, game management, the media and a handful of ancillary personnel were in the Pyramid.

The first game between host Long Beach State and Cal Poly had an unusual feel. The second game, which didn’t start until nearly 9 p.m., was a bit more eerie, with the voices of coaches and the ESPN broadcast team the dominant sounds.

“It made it easier for me to talk to the defense,” Harada said. “I’m not sure if it help or hurt. I’m sure we had some fans who were sad because we’ve drawn a nice following this season.”

“It was awkward not having fans at the game, but in the end, the game’s the same,” CSUN’s Henderson said.

“I’m a coach. It didn’t affect me at all,” Flowers said. “I’m really not sure it was a big deal. It’s not a completely foreign thing for us when we play home games like this when (no) students are in school.”

Eighth-seeded Cal Poly will meet third-seeded UC Irvine in the first quarterfinal on Wednesday at 6 p.m. followed by Fullerton and Hawaii at approximately 8:30 p.m. The semifinals are Friday afternoon at the Honda Center, with the championship game scheduled for Saturday at 3 p.m., also at the Honda Center.

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Austen Awosika, Cal State Fullerton rout Cal State Stanislaus

FULLERTON — Senior guard Austen Awosika had a career-high 26 points and Cal State Fullerton rolled past Cal State Stanislaus 82-62 for a homecoming victory on Saturday night at Titan Gym.

Awosika, who shot 8 for 13 from the field and 9 for 11 from the foul line, added six rebounds and six assists. Awosika, whose previous high was 19 at St. Mary’s on Dec. 11, 2018, topped that with 20 in the first half.

Sophomore guard Wayne Arnold had 14 points (four 3-pointers), four rebounds and two assists for Fullerton (2-2), while senior guard Brandon Kamga added 12 points and nine rebounds and freshman guard Tory San Antonio had five points, eight rebounds, four steals and two assists.

Ty Davis had 16 points for the Warriors, an NCAA Division II program, and Darius Scott added eight points and seven rebounds.

The Titans led 42-34 at halftime before pulling away in the second half. They led 53-41 at the 14:38 mark when a 9-2 run extended the margin to 62-43.

Fullerton shot 50.8 percent (30 for 59) from the field and 80 percent (16 for 20) from the free-throw line. The Titans outrebounded the visitors 38-30 and assisted on 15 of their 30 baskets.

Fullerton does not play again until it hosts Hofstra next Sunday (Nov. 24) at 5 p.m.

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Matt Chapman’s drive to be better doesn’t stop with A’s

The chip on his shoulder isn’t the direct reason for Matt Chapman’s incredible arm strength. The mind games Cal State Fullerton baseball coach Rick Vanderhook tried playing with him aren’t the reason Chapman seems to know what’s going to happen before it happens.

The platinum glove sitting on his mantle, emblematic of Chapman’s status as the best defensive player in the American League, isn’t the direct result of a golden light flashing above him after his 2018 breakout season with the Oakland Athletics.

No. To understand why Chapman — one of 10 Cal State Fullerton baseball products currently on a major league roster — is an All-Star and considered not only one of the game’s brightest stars, but its best defensive player, you must take all of it into account. The chip on the shoulder, the head games, the mindset he carries around like his Gold Gloves that he still isn’t one of the game’s upper echelon players – despite evidence to the contrary.

And that evidence, which comes in weekly, is considerable.

Last year, Chapman hit a career-high-at-any-pro-level .278, with 24 homers, 68 RBI, 42 doubles and 100 runs. His 8.2 WAR (wins above replacement, a stat that measures how much a player is better than the average major leaguer) was third in the American League behind Boston’s Mookie Betts and the Angels’ Mike Trout, who went 1-2 in league MVP voting.

Those offensive numbers only scratched the surface why Chapman finished seventh in MVP voting. Because when Chapman’s name is brought up, things get rather defensive.

En route to winning the Gold Glove, the Wilson Overall Defensive Player of the Year and the Rawlings Platinum Glove Award, which goes to the best defensive player at any position, Chapman led all AL third baseman in defensive WAR, in range factor, in putouts and assists. His 3.5 defensive WAR means he’s 3½ times a better defender than the average major league third baseman, while leading in range factor means he’s getting to balls no other third baseman can reach.

Balls like the one Toronto’s Yangervis Solarte hit last year. The A’s were in a shift for the left-handed Solarte, which meant Chapman was essentially playing shortstop. Solarte poked a ball away from the shift down the third-base line. Chapman roamed over, backhanded the ball, then threw against his momentum and nipped Solarte by a half-step.

“I’ve never seen a corner infielder save as many runs as he does,” said Athletics Manager Bob Melvin, who had to dig to find “just one play” that illustrates Chapman’s elite glove. “It starts with his arm strength. With his arm strength, it allows him to play deep, which allows him to get to more balls, whether it’s down the line or whether it’s in the hole. That allows us to move our shortstop toward the bag a little more.

“Even though he plays deep, he’s the best at bunts. He still comes in and gets guys on bunts. It just feels like there’s no way to get a ball by him.”

The evidence continues pouring in this season. Chapman made his first All-Star team and through Monday, is hitting .257 with 24 homers, 64 RBI, 27 doubles and a .515 slugging percentage. His errors are down from 20 to seven, and he once again leads AL third basemen in range factor, runs saved, putouts and assists.

Yet, Chapman refuses to acknowledge the evidence. That’s because he’s so focused on the process that produced that evidence.

“To be honest, I still feel that I haven’t realized that (being one of the upper echelon players). That’s why I’m really hard on myself,” he said.

Enter the chip on the shoulder. Chapman grew up in El Toro as one of those proverbial very good-but-not-great players who always had someone overshadowing him. In this case, it was Nolan Arenado, the same Nolan Arenado currently holding down the title as best third baseman in the National League for the Colorado Rockies.

Chapman learned very early that there are a plethora of ways to be successful in baseball, but only one way to find that success: grind, grind and grind some more. While waiting for his growth spurt to catch his classmates, he built a foundation of fundamentals: fielding, running and analyzing the game from every angle. When he filled out after his sophomore year and added arm strength and power to his arsenal, Chapman thought the offers would roll in.

They didn’t. The only school he heard from was Cal State Fullerton.

“It was always my dream to go there,” he said. “They recruited me, and I felt like my mindset and the way I operate works perfectly for there: hard-working; nobody’s too special, and everyone has to earn everything. I was put on an even playing field for the first time, and the best man got the job. I finally got to prove my worth.”

This turned out to be one of those blessings-in-disguise situations that probably enabled Chapman to have such a seamless transition to the major leagues. Because playing for the no-nonsense Vanderhook served as a perfect finishing school for Chapman, not only because of Vanderhook’s doctoral-level command of the game’s innumerable nuances, but his incessant skill at making his players as uncomfortable as possible.

“Hookie’s no joke. I learned you have to be tough if you’re going to go there, and I learned how to be comfortable being uncomfortable,” Chapman said.

“He always used to challenge me, but he learned he didn’t have to challenge me too much, because I always rose to the occasion. The most he could do to me to make me mad was to tell me I was selfish and didn’t care about the team because that’s the furthest thing from the truth.

“That made me mentally tough coming out of there. I learned how to play the game inside and out. It’s like going to the Navy SEALS of baseball.”

It also explains why Chapman was the Athletics’ No. 1 draft pick in 2014, why he was an everyday major leaguer by the middle of 2017, a Gold and Platinum Glove owner in 2018 and an All-Star by 2019. His transition was virtually seamless because the Fullerton Finishing School already had a strong foundation to work with. Chapman knew the game. He just needed the right people to know that.

“You knew he would catch up as far as making adjustments and just his aptitude and understanding in playing baseball would suggest he’s going to develop pretty quickly and that’s exactly what you’re seeing,” Melvin said.

“Matt’s definitely a typical Titan baseball player in that he’s hard-nosed, he’s a team leader by example, but he also plays the game with a passion,” said former Cal State Fullerton standout Mark Kotsay, the Athletics’ quality control coach. “He cares about the game, and he cares about his teammates. He’s absolutely a Titan at heart.”

And now, Chapman is a purposeful and more relaxed Titan. The chip on his shoulder, the mind games that never stuck in his eventual Gold Glove, the mindset that built a four-tool All-Star who is on pace to become the greatest defensive player of his era all did their jobs.

Not surprisingly, Chapman is smart enough to understand that.

“I was bitter I didn’t get drafted. I didn’t get recruited by a bunch of colleges,” he said. “This is something not many people know, but I have Tourette’s. When I was younger, I was always a little shy about it and nervous about people knowing it. I felt different. For me, it motivated me to prove people wrong. I always had the mindset that I was different. I wanted to prove people wrong and that stuck with me forever.

“I’m pretty comfortable with it now, but it was definitely something I was embarrassed about when I was younger. I wanted nobody to know about it because of how kids are. But now that I look back on it, it was a blessing in disguise because it made me who I am today. It gave me that drive and that chip on my shoulder.”

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Whicker: Cal State Fullerton’s seniority vs. UC Irvine’s gaudy record in Big West final

  • Cal State Fullerton forward Josh Pitts, right, shows his excitement as guard Jamal Smith draws a foul and scored a basket during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against UC Santa Barbara at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • UC Santa Barbara guard Max Heidegger, left, tries to drive toward the basket as Cal State Fullerton guard Kyle Allman Jr. defends during the first half of Friday’s Big West Tournament semifinal at Honda Center. Allman came up with several big defensive plays in the final minutes of the Titans’ 64-58 victory. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

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  • UC Santa Barbara guard Ar’Mond Davis, left, goes up for a basket under as Cal State Fullerton forward Jackson Rowe defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Kyle Allman Jr. slams a dunk during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against UC Santa Barbara at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Khalil Ahmad celebrates after defeating UC Santa Barbara in an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton head coach Dedrique Taylor gives instructions to his players during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against UC Santa Barbara at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Khalil Ahmad, top, shoots over UC Santa Barbara forward Jarriesse Blackmon during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Kyle Allman Jr., center, drives hard around UC Santa Barbara forward Jarriesse Blackmon, left, to put up a shot for the score late in the second half of the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Kyle Allman Jr., right, blocks the shot by UC Santa Barbara guard JaQuori McLaughlin during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Jamal Smith celebrates after defeating UC Santa Barbara in an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • UC Santa Barbara guard Max Heidegger, right, runs into Cal State Fullerton guard Landon Kirkwood and loses his footing in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Landon Kirkwood, center, scores a basket around UC Santa Barbara forward Jarriesse Blackmon, right, in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Kyle Allman Jr., right, blocks a shot in the lane by UC Santa Barbara guard JaQuori McLaughlin to maintain the Titans’ lead during the final minutes of their Big West Tournament semifinal on Friday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • As UC Santa Barbara guard Ar’Mond Davis, left, reacts after the Gauchos turned over the ball to Cal State Fullerton, guard Landon Kirkwood, center, and forward Jackson Rowe, right, do a little celebrating in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • UC Santa Barbara head coach Joe Pasternack yells instructions to his players during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Cal State Fullerton at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • UC Santa Barbara guard Max Heidegger, left, and Cal State Fullerton guard Kyle Allman Jr., right, wait for the ball to come down for the rebound in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton forward Johnny Wang reaches to control the rebound against Santa Barbara in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton forward Davon Clare, center, moves toward the basket between UC Santa Barbara forward Robinson Idehen, left, and forward Jarriesse Blackmon, right, in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Landon Kirkwood, right, scoops top a loose ball in front of UC Santa Barbara guard Sekou Toure in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • UC Santa Barbara forward Amadou Sow hangs from the rim after a dunk, as Cal State Fullerton forward Josh Pitts, left, and forward Jackson Rowe stand nearby during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • UC Santa Barbara guard JaQuori McLaughlin, right, shoots over Cal State Fullerton forward Jackson Rowe during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • UC Santa Barbara forward Amadou Sow, left, shoots over Cal State Fullerton forward Johnny Wang during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Khalil Ahmad dunks with two seconds left for the final points of his team’s 64-58 victory over UC Santa Barbara in Friday’s Big West Tournament semifinal at Honda Center. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton forward Johnny Wang, left, lets out a yell after the Titans scored to extend their lead over UC Santa Barbara with minutes left in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Landon Kirkwood, left, and guard Austen Awosika, right, celebrate the Titans’ win over UC Santa Barbara in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Khalil Ahmad is being congratulated by the fans after defeating UC Santa Barbara in an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • UC Irvine guard Robert Cartwright grabs the rebound in front of Long Beach State center Temidayo Yussuf, center, as UC Irvine forward Elston Jones, left, reaches in during the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Long Beach State guard Deishuan Booker, right, goes up to the basket as UC Irvine forward Tommy Rutherford defends during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Long Beach State forward Mason Riggins, left, shoots in front of UC Irvine forward Elston Jones during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • UC Irvine guard Evan Leonard, right, tries to block the shot by Long Beach State guard Drew Cobb during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • UC Irvine guard Evan Leonard, center, goes up for a dunk next to Long Beach State guard Deishuan Booker, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • UC Irvine coach Russell Turner, center, reacts after a foul was called on the team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Long Beach State at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • UC Irvine forward Collin Welp, right, is fouled by Long Beach State forward KJ Byers during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • UC Irvine forward JC Butler, left, goes up to the basket as Long Beach State forward Mason Riggins defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • UC Irvine guard Robert Cartwright, center, drives through traffic to score in front of Long Beach State guard Deishuan Booker, right, during the second half of their Big West Tournament semifinal on Friday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • UC Irvine guard Robert Cartwright, right, steals the ball from Long Beach State guard Deishuan Booker during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Long Beach State forward Mason Riggins, back, tries to steal the ball from UC Irvine forward Tommy Rutherford during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • UC Irvine guard Max Hazzard, right, shoots over Long Beach State forward Mason Riggins during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Long Beach State guard Deishuan Booker, center, shoots between UC Irvine guard Robert Cartwright, left, and forward Tommy Rutherford during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Long Beach State guard Drew Cobb can only watch as UC Irvine forward JC Butler controls the loose ball in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Long Beach State guard Drew Cobb, right, and UC Irvine forward JC Butler go after a loose ball in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • UC Irvine forward JC Butler, Long Beach State guard Drew Cobb and Long Beach State guard Deishuan Booker, from left, go after a loose ball in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • UC Irvine forward Elston Jones, right, keeps the ball away from Long Beach State forward Mason Riggins, left, and another Long Beach State player in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • UC Irvine forward Tommy Rutherford, center, muscles his way past Long Beach State forward KJ Byers, left, and forward Mason Riggins, right, to score a basket in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Long Beach State center Temidayo Yussuf, right, protects a rebound from UC Irvine forward Tommy Rutherford in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • UC Irvine forward Jonathan Galloway, center, gets to the rebound before Long Beach State forward Mason Riggins, left, and guard Deishuan Booker, right, in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • UC Irvine forward Jonathan Galloway gestures after scoring during the second half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against Long Beach State at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • UC Irvine forward Tommy Rutherford, left, tries to block a shot by Long Beach State guard Deishuan Booker in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • UC Irvine players cheer their team on as they score another basket with seconds left in their Big West Tournament semifinal victory over rival Long Beach State on Friday night at Honda Center. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Long Beach State forward Mason Riggins, left, wipes his face with a towel as the team plays the final minutes of an NCAA college basketball game against UC Irvine at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. UC Irvine won 75-67. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

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ANAHEIM — As a freshman, Kyle Allman Jr. averaged 5.3 points. Khalil Ahmad averaged 14.3. Jamal Smith averaged as many calories as he could amass, as a redshirt.

Dedrique Taylor, Cal State Fullerton’s coach, was in his third year, but it seemed like every minute was a do-over, a disheartening trip back to the starting blocks. He won 10 games in that 2015-16 season, giving him a total of 30 and an average of 10.

On Friday night at Honda Center, the Titans put together a 24-10 run, caught and passed UC Santa Barbara, and won their fifth consecutive Big West Tournament game 64-58.

On Saturday night they play UC Irvine, the top seed, in hopes of a second consecutive title.

“I looked out there and I saw guys that looked nothing they did back then,” Taylor said. “Back then they didn’t have facial hair, they were uglier than ever. Now they’re muscular, they’re physically mature, and you have to credit their experience, their belief. I think tonight we managed to impose our will.”

The third-seeded Titans squared their record at 16-16 thanks to smothering defense at the end. Second-seeded UCSB missed its final 10 field-goal attempts and didn’t have a basket in the last 7:07.

Allman blocked his 11th and 12th shots of the season, Jackson Rowe added another rejection, and Smith was the point of the spear, taking charges, making steals and influencing a game while only taking (and making) one shot.

The Titans are embracing seniors like Allman, Smith and Ahmad because they’ll have to let go of them, whenever this team loses.

“They’ve changed the face of this basketball program,” Taylor said.

“We talked last night about how we know we’ve only got a couple of games left together,” Ahmad said, “and we don’t want it to end soon.”

Ahmad has 60 points in these two tournament games and 1,714 overall. Allman, the all-time CSF leader in games played, has 1,617 points.

And Taylor shook his head when someone cited the accumulated minutes. Ahmad played 39 Friday, 43 in Thursday’s overtime win over UC Davis. Allman played 40 Friday, 43 Saturday.

“If I was out there playing, I might be concerned about minutes,” Taylor said. “These guys are 21, 22 years old. It’s go time.”

UCI beat Fullerton by seven at home and by 17 on the road this season, but in last year’s final the Titans dominated 71-55.

This UCI team (29-5) is plus-7.5 in rebounds-per-game, which might be the main reason it has a 15-game winning streak and is on the cusp of becoming the first 30-game winner in the Big West since UNLV’s 34-1 NCAA semifinal loser in 1991.

It was the proximate cause of its 75-67 semifinal win over a Long Beach State team that came in with six consecutive victories and the only Big West win over the Anteaters all season.

UCI won the boards 21-11 in the second half, which led to a 16-4 edge, overall, in second-chance points. Once the Anteaters decided to drive the ball on a night when they went 2 for 12 from deep, the formula kicked in.

But it is really hatched on the Bren Center floor, every other day in practice, when Coach Russell Turner calls for the 2-on-2 rebounding drill.

“Two big guys, two little guys, all of them blocking each other out,” Turner said. “No out of bounds, no fouls.”

“Love that drill,” guard Robert Cartwright said, rolling his eyes.

“And we got a lot of big guys,” guard Evan Leonard said, smiling wearily.

“A lot of Hall of Fame coaches have used it, it’s been around a long time,” Turner said. “I love it. It’s a chance for us to embrace our physicality.”

Jonathan Galloway, Tommy Rutherford and Elston Jones swallowed up 19 of those rebounds, and the Anteaters physicaled their way to a 48-34 second half. They also managed to get through the 49ers’ press, replacing their turnovers with 2-on-1 breaks and dunks. But it was a nervous night for the Anteaters, who trailed by seven early in the second half and, at times, were exhibiting the thousand-yard-stare of a favorite on the defensive.

Cartwright’s career-high 17-point night, built mostly on drives, solved much of that. But the Anteaters could have used the quickness and playmaking of Eyassu Worku, who missed the game with a leg injury.

“He’s playing tomorrow night,” Turner said. “We didn’t want him to play back to back. And I wanted to make sure he played in the final. So it was a gamble that could have easily not paid off, not playing him tonight.

“His speed and decision-making ability are critical. He gives us another speed handler. And not having him also takes away an opportunity to give our guys some rest. We played Rob (Cartwright) 35 minutes. He’s got great natural energy, and he wasn’t just settling for jump shots tonight. I’m of the opinion he can handle those minutes, plus whatever we can get out of it tomorrow.”

He was referring to Saturday, the first time that one of these days won’t have a tomorrow.

—- BIG WEST TOURNAMENT —-

No. 1 seed UC IRVINE (29-5) vs. No. 3 Cal State Fullerton (16-16)

Championship game

When: Saturday, 9 p.m.

Where: Honda Center

TV: ESPN2

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Cal State Fullerton rallies to beat UCSB, sets up Big West title game against UC Irvine

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Kyle Allman Jr., right, blocks a shot by UC Santa Barbara guard JaQuori McLaughlin to maintain the Titans’ lead with minutes left in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton forward Davon Clare, center, moves toward the basket between UC Santa Barbara forward Robinson Idehen, left, and forward Jarriesse Blackmon, right, in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

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  • UC Santa Barbara guard Ar’Mond Davis, left, goes up for a basket under as Cal State Fullerton forward Jackson Rowe defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Landon Kirkwood, right, scoops top a loose ball in front of UC Santa Barbara guard Sekou Toure in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • UC Santa Barbara forward Amadou Sow, left, shoots over Cal State Fullerton forward Johnny Wang during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • UC Santa Barbara guard JaQuori McLaughlin, right, shoots over Cal State Fullerton forward Jackson Rowe during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • UC Santa Barbara forward Amadou Sow hangs from the rim after a dunk, as Cal State Fullerton forward Josh Pitts, left, and forward Jackson Rowe stand nearby during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton forward Johnny Wang reaches to control the rebound against Santa Barbara in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • UC Santa Barbara guard Max Heidegger, left, and Cal State Fullerton guard Kyle Allman Jr., right, wait for the ball to come down for the rebound in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • UC Santa Barbara guard Max Heidegger, left, tries to drive toward the basket as Cal State Fullerton guard Kyle Allman Jr. defends during the first half of Friday’s Big West Tournament semifinal at Honda Center. Allman came up with several big defensive plays in the final minutes of the Titans’ 64-58 victory. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Khalil Ahmad dunks with two seconds left for the final points of his team’s 64-58 victory over UC Santa Barbara in Friday’s Big West Tournament semifinal at Honda Center. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Landon Kirkwood, left, and guard Austen Awosika, right, celebrate the Titans’ win over UC Santa Barbara in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • As UC Santa Barbara guard Ar’Mond Davis, left, reacts after the Gauchos turned over the ball to Cal State Fullerton, guard Landon Kirkwood, center, and forward Jackson Rowe, right, do a little celebrating in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Kyle Allman Jr., center, drives hard around UC Santa Barbara forward Jarriesse Blackmon, left, to put up a shot for the score late in the second half of the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Landon Kirkwood, center, scores a basket around UC Santa Barbara forward Jarriesse Blackmon, right, in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • UC Santa Barbara guard Max Heidegger, right, runs into Cal State Fullerton guard Landon Kirkwood and loses his footing in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • UC Santa Barbara head coach Joe Pasternack yells instructions to his players during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Cal State Fullerton at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Kyle Allman Jr., right, blocks the shot by UC Santa Barbara guard JaQuori McLaughlin during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Jamal Smith celebrates after defeating UC Santa Barbara in an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton forward Johnny Wang, left, lets out a yell after the Titans scored to extend their lead over UC Santa Barbara with minutes left in the semifinal of the Big West Tournament in Anaheim on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Khalil Ahmad, top, shoots over UC Santa Barbara forward Jarriesse Blackmon during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton head coach Dedrique Taylor gives instructions to his players during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against UC Santa Barbara at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Khalil Ahmad celebrates after defeating UC Santa Barbara in an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Kyle Allman Jr. slams a dunk during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against UC Santa Barbara at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton forward Josh Pitts, right, shows his excitement as guard Jamal Smith draws a foul and scored a basket during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against UC Santa Barbara at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

  • Cal State Fullerton guard Khalil Ahmad is being congratulated by the fans after defeating UC Santa Barbara in an NCAA college basketball game at the Big West men’s tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

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ANAHEIM — The all-Orange County rematch is on.

Third-seeded Cal State Fullerton came through with clutch defense to hold second-seeded UC Santa Barbara without a field goal in the final seven minutes of a 64-58 win in the Big West Tournament semifinals on Friday night.

The Titans’ win sets up a rematch of last year’s championship game against top-seeded UC Irvine, which defeated Long Beach State in Friday’s first semifinal. Fullerton won last year’s title game 71-55.

The Titans (16-16) trailed for much of the second half on Friday, but they went on a 7-0 run, capped by a Davon Clare floater, to tie the score with three minutes left.

Then Kyle Allman Jr. delivered one of the defensive plays of the game, blocking a Jay Nagle 3-point attempt. On the ensuing offensive possession, Khalil Ahmad, who finished with a game-high 28 points, drove to the rim and drew a goaltending call, giving Fullerton a two-point lead with 1:11 left.

UCSB (22-10) called a timeout and seemed to get a good look at the basket, but Allman again arrived in the nick of time for the Titans. He swatted Jaquori McLaughlin’s driving layup attempt out of bounds. McLaughlin got another try, but Jackson Rowe appeared for a violent block off the backboard.

“I think this group of guys, they believe,” Fullerton head coach Dedrique Taylor said. “They know what they’re capable of and down the stretch, they started to galvanize each other. We just swarmed them. We had some really crucial blocks at the front of the rim there. But our group of guys, we didn’t want to go home.”

Fullerton had to play the free-throw game after that. The Titans made enough of them and the defense was stout enough to hold on until Ahmad’s breakaway dunk clinched the win with two seconds left.

The two teams were evenly matched in the first half, fitting considering they finished tied for second in the Big West during the regular season. Both shot the ball around 45 percent from the floor and struggled from 3-point range. UCSB had a one-rebound advantage, and neither team allowed the other to get into the bonus.

The lone differences were that UCSB made three free throws and Fullerton never got to the line, and the Titans turned the ball over eight times to the Gauchos’ five. The result was a three-point UCSB lead at halftime.

But then UCSB’s cold shooting changed in the second half. The Gauchos made four of their next five attempts from 3-point range to open a 10-point lead.

But in the end, Fullerton’s defense responded when it needed to put the Titans a win away from a return trip to the NCAA Tournament.

But standing in the way is their in-county rival. UCI beat Fullerton twice in the regular season, the first time by 17 points and the second by seven.

“Cannot wait,” Ahmad said. “Cannot wait.”

“We know what happened in the regular season,” added Jamal Smith, whom Taylor lauded for stabilizing the team with his play in the second half. “That definitely didn’t slip our mind and we’re coming full-force. We’re more connected than ever.”

.@CSFCoachTaylor on tonight’s win. #TusksUp pic.twitter.com/Eq2TMJiuxD

— Titans Men’s Basketball (@FullertonMBB) March 16, 2019

Not done yet. @oh_snaap25 #TusksUp pic.twitter.com/PcxTOgnxzp

— Titans Men’s Basketball (@FullertonMBB) March 16, 2019

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Animation and glass fuse in vivid mind of Cal State Fullerton artist

By Tien Do

Ever since I was young, I knew I wanted to express myself in an artistic way. Then when it came to my adolescent years, I was exposed to the possibilities of acting and 3-D animation.


CSUF art major Tien Do looks up at one of the glass orbs in David Guiterrez’s spring exhibition “Celestial Interval.” Photo courtesy Tien Do.

With this exposure, I thought for sure that these two subjects were the careers that I wanted to pursue. This all changed during my third year of study Cal State Fullerton. During that time, I was waitlisted for an introductory class on a new 3-D modeling program called Maya. I was waitlisted as No. 1, but, unfortunately, I was unable to enroll in the class. Panicking, I entered an open class, not thinking that it would drastically affect my medium or emphasis in art. The course was an introduction to glassblowing.

My first steps into that class led me to a new perspective in art making. I never left. For the past three years, not only have I been enrolled in the animation program, but I’ve been active in the glass program, as well.

The journey and experience toward the medium of glass was so surreal. It felt like I was sculpting and shaping a medium that was stubborn, erratic and filled with life. Compared to the practice I had with animation, it was the polar opposite.

With animation, I was creating a static object into something that resembles a being of life. Whereas with glass, I was creating something alive into something static. Even though these practices seem different, they hold similar qualities in terms of shaping and sculpting an object.

Like everything that includes heavy devotion, it took time to understand the medium I was using. With a determination to be more involved, I invested myself heavily into this medium of glass. I believe that during the first two semesters, I devoted 40-60 hours a week to working with glass, in order to understand the material and to better use it in my creative projects.

I would practice heavily to understand the molten properties of glass, as well as participate in helping others, including the faculty member who taught the course, Hiromi Takizawa, assistant professor of art.

That devotion didn’t go unnoticed. Surprisingly, Hiromi nominated me and helped me acquire scholarships to represent Cal State Fullerton at a prestigious glass school called Pilchuck. This facility is located in Stanwood, Wash., where artists have the opportunity to work with a master artist to develop their skills and creative thinking. This opportunity to go to Pilchuck has solidified my interest in glass into being an artist of glass. I have gone there for the past two summers — the first as a student and the second as a teacher’s assistant. Now, I will be returning for my third year, as a student for Master Artist Martin Janecky.

At the Pilchuck Glass School, you are exposed not only to the artist/session you applied for, but also to the community that expands internationally and around the world. Everyone I have met had a different way or a new way of how to create objects in glass. But that wasn’t the importance of Pilchuck; instead, it was creating a bigger family within our glass world. Since the community is quite small, I believe it is necessary and a treasure to meet various artists that come along our journey.

With this philosophy in mind, I was able to create bonds with such notable artists as Ethan Stern, Kelly O’Dell, Raven Skyriver and Morgan Peterson, among others. Meeting these artists gave me hope and inspiration. The time spent at Pilchuck can be pretty intense, since it is a workshop that lasts two to three weeks with at least 9-12-hour days, back to back. Its facility has all the equipment for the students and artists to use, in order to accomplish our creative vision. It is an experience unlike any other, and it is a great way for an artist to get the most out of the time provided for each session.


In the CSUF glass lab, art major Tien Do is heating a sculpture to add details in an image he titled “Dancing With Fire.” Photo courtesy Tien Do.

I am thankful for this alternative route or segue from the 3-D animation world. Without that experience, I wouldn’t have the knowledge to become a better craftsman and artist. I owe thanks to my mentor Hiromi Takizawa for showing me another form of art making.

Art major Tien Do will be returning to the Pilchuck Glass School in July. In the fall, he will begin his senior year of study at Cal State Fullerton and has his sights set on graduate school. His long-term goal is to open a studio for glass or animation. In the future, Do also hopes to be able extend to students the same mentoring opportunities he has been afforded.

 

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Cal State Fullerton coaches among Big West spring honorees

 

 

 

  • Cal State Fullerton coach John Elders celebrates his men’s team winning the 2018 Big West Conference track and field championship on May 12 at Cal State Northridge. Photo courtesy Matt Brown/Cal State Fullerton Athletics.

    Cal State Fullerton coach John Elders celebrates his men’s team winning the 2018 Big West Conference track and field championship on May 12 at Cal State Northridge. Photo courtesy Matt Brown/Cal State Fullerton Athletics.

  • Cal State Fullerton head coach Rick Vanderhook before the Titans’ 10-9 victory over Long Beach State in the regular season finale at Blair Field in Long Beach on Saturday, May 26, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Cal State Fullerton head coach Rick Vanderhook before the Titans’ 10-9 victory over Long Beach State in the regular season finale at Blair Field in Long Beach on Saturday, May 26, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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  • Cal State Fullerton head coach Kelly Ford reacts against Texas State in the fourth inning of the NCAA Division I softball regional championship at Easton Field on the campus of UCLA on Friday, May 18, 2018 in Los Angeles. Fullerton won 2-1. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

    Cal State Fullerton head coach Kelly Ford reacts against Texas State in the fourth inning of the NCAA Division I softball regional championship at Easton Field on the campus of UCLA on Friday, May 18, 2018 in Los Angeles. Fullerton won 2-1. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

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As the spring sports seasons concluded, coaches for three Cal State Fullerton teams were among those receiving Big West Conference honors.

Baseball

Head coach Rick Vanderhook was named Big West Coach of the Year and Colton Eastman was named the league’s Pitcher of the Year.

Three players earned All-Big West First Team honors: Eastman, Blake Workman and Hank LoForte.

Vanderhook earned his fifth Big West Conference Coach of the Year honor after guiding Cal State Fullerton to its 22nd league title with an 18-6 mark. In earning the Big West’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, the Titans qualified for postseason for the 40th time in program history. The five honors by Vanderhook ties George Horton for the most in school history.

 

Softball

Head Coach Kelly Ford earned her third consecutive Big West Coach of the Year award this season, sharing it with Long Beach State Head Coach Kim Sowder.

Ford earned the award after leading Fullerton to its third-straight Big West Championship crown. It’s also the third consecutive season with the Titans earning 16-plus Big West victories.

Players Deshea Hill, Zoe Richard, Ari Williams and Bryanna Ybarra were named to the All-Big West first team.

Track & Field

Head Coach John Elders was selected as the Big West Men’s Coach of the Year for the second straight year and sprinter Rasaun House was named Men’s Freshman of the Year.

In his 30th year, Elders is the school’s longest-tenured head coach. He again was named Men’s Coach of the Year while leading his Cal State Fullerton program to a second consecutive Big West championship.

Tennis, golf

In women’s tennis, CSUF standout Genevieve Zeidan was named Big West Freshman of the Year.  Zeidan, Karla Portalatin and Sarah Nuno were honored on the Big West First-Team Singles. Portalatin and Nuno also won an honor together with a spot on the First Team for doubles play.

In men’s golf, Derek Castillo was named to the First Team All-Big West.

–Cal State Fullerton, Big West Conference

 

 

 

 

 

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Cal State Fullerton expert finds the Monkees were a steppin’ stone to cultural change

  • Rosanne Welch, Cal State Fullerton lecturer in cinema and television arts, is the author of a book on the Monkees.

    Rosanne Welch, Cal State Fullerton lecturer in cinema and television arts, is the author of a book on the Monkees.

  • Rosanne Welch is a lecturer in cinema and television arts at Cal State Fullerton. (Photo courtesy of Rosanne Welch)

    Rosanne Welch is a lecturer in cinema and television arts at Cal State Fullerton. (Photo courtesy of Rosanne Welch)

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  • “It was the critics who didn’t take their music seriously. But their music had legs,” says  Rosanne Welch, a lecturer at Cal State Fullerton who has written a book on the 1960s band and its television show. (AP file photo)

    “It was the critics who didn’t take their music seriously. But their music had legs,” says Rosanne Welch, a lecturer at Cal State Fullerton who has written a book on the 1960s band and its television show. (AP file photo)

  • In this 1966 file photo, cast members of the television show “The Monkees,” from top left, Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith, from lower left, Micky Dolenz, and Peter Tork pose next to their Monkeemobile, a customized Pontiac GTO. (AP file photo)

    In this 1966 file photo, cast members of the television show “The Monkees,” from top left, Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith, from lower left, Micky Dolenz, and Peter Tork pose next to their Monkeemobile, a customized Pontiac GTO. (AP file photo)

  • The Monkees were huge teen idols. When Davy Jones got married, it was kept secret to avoid upsetting his fans.

    The Monkees were huge teen idols. When Davy Jones got married, it was kept secret to avoid upsetting his fans.

  • Rosanne Welch met Micky Dolenz in 1986. (Photo courtesy of Rosanne Welch)

    Rosanne Welch met Micky Dolenz in 1986. (Photo courtesy of Rosanne Welch)

  • Rosanne Welch with Peter Tork and Micky Dolenz during their 50th-anniversary tour in 2016 in St. Louis. (Photo courtesy of Rosanne Welch)

    Rosanne Welch with Peter Tork and Micky Dolenz during their 50th-anniversary tour in 2016 in St. Louis. (Photo courtesy of Rosanne Welch)

  • This June 4, 1967, photo shows the Monkees with their Emmy at the 19th annual Primetime Emmy Awards. The group members are, from left, Mike Nesmith, Davy Jones, Peter Tork, and Micky Dolenz. (AP file photo)

    This June 4, 1967, photo shows the Monkees with their Emmy at the 19th annual Primetime Emmy Awards. The group members are, from left, Mike Nesmith, Davy Jones, Peter Tork, and Micky Dolenz. (AP file photo)

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She’s a believer.

And after Rosanne Welch spoke recently to a gathering of Cal State Fullerton students and faculty, many of them were left also believing that the Monkees, the 1960s boy band, had a greater impact on television, music and pop culture than they had thought.

Illustrated with slides of the Monkees with Paul McCartney and Janis Joplin, on cereal boxes and in pop culture references long after their heyday, Welch’s talk laid out evidence that the group’s TV show made strong feminist statements and advanced such TV practices as characters addressing the audience, used today on such shows as “Modern Family” and “House of Cards.”

“They influenced so many of today’s modern-day performers and yet people keep forgetting about that,” said Welch.

Welch, a lecturer in the Department of Cinema and Television Arts, wrote the book “Why the Monkees Matter.” She spoke as part of Pollak Library’s Faculty Noon-Time Talks, a series that invited faculty members to share their research.

Welch has written for the shows “Picket Fences,” “Beverly Hills 90210” and “Touched by an Angel.” She has edited “Women in American History” and written “America’s Forgotten Founding Father,” a novel based on the life of Filippo Mazzei, who is credited with the line “All men are created equal.”

But such lofty projects have a hard time competing with Welch’s favorite show when she was 7.

“The Monkees,” which ran from 1966 to 1968 on NBC, focused on the misadventures of a Beatles-like rock band, whose songs highlighted each episode. While the four band members were cast for the show, and did not play their own instruments at first, they all had some degree of musical experience and went on to play, and often write, their own music and record until 1971.

The show won two Emmys its first season — for outstanding comedy and comedy directing.

Welch got interested in the Monkees from a research standpoint when she was asked by Cal State Fullerton to present a class for high schoolers in the GEAR UP summer program, looking critically at a TV show. She chose “The Monkees,” only to discover it was far more innovative than she’d given it credit for as a child.

“In the ’60s, people in the know knew that this was something different and worth paying attention to,” she said.

She wrote a story on the show for a screenwriters magazine, tracking down seven of the original 15 writers, many of whom went on to win Emmys, including Treva Silverman, the first woman who wrote for TV without a male partner.

Then she wrote a book.

Welch set the stage for her CSUF audience by describing what the nation had been watching before “The Monkees” debuted: blander family shows such as “The Lucy Show” and “The Andy Griffith Show,” often in black and white.

Then she detailed what was innovative about “The Monkees”:

It contained social justice messages — something that got the Smothers Brothers canceled — which were overlooked by network executives who considered “The Monkees” a kids show. There were references to the Vietnam War, communism in Southeast Asia and the war on poverty.

“Timothy Leary watched and said it was far deeper than anyone else had given it credit for,” Welch said. The LSD guru wrote: “And woven into the fast-moving psychedelic stream of action were the prophetic, holy, challenging words.”

The song “Randy Scouse Git,” written by Micky Dolenz, included the lyrics “Why don’t you hate who I hate/ Kill who I kill to be free?”

“If that’s not a Vietnam War protest song, I don’t know what is,” Welch said. “They got away with singing that on broadcast television, in their hippy-dippy clothes.”

It took a progressive feminist approach. Sure, many episodes were about the four boys meeting girls. But every single girl who dated the boys had a job, Welch said. And in each case, we met her through her job first.

“They weren’t bubbleheads,” she said. “They weren’t waiting around to get married. I think that was an interesting message in 1966.” Never did the boys want a girl only because she was pretty; it was about getting a smart girl, she said.

In one episode, a girl turns down Davy Jones to do her job. Later in that episode, the boys get kidnapped and a girl rescues them, flipping the usual trope. In another episode, the actress Julie Newmar (Catwoman on “Batman”) guest-starred as the owner of a laundromat earning her doctorate (in laundry).

“If you were a girl watching in 1966, you learned that to get a Monkee you didn’t want to be a cheerleader; you wanted to be a woman of value because that’s who they would look at,” Welch said.

It furthered metatextuality, in which there’s a second level of commentary that makes observations on what’s going on.

In particular, the show routinely broke the fourth wall with the audience. George Burns and Jack Benny had done that when they talked to the screen, Welch said, but no show was doing it in the 1960s.

The series would joke about the action, such as superimposing writing on the screen to identify one actor as a friend of the producer. In one episode the quartet shows up at NBC’s offices.

“They’re letting you in on the joke,” Welch said. The younger, hipper audience could think “We’re part of this thing.”

She also pointed out the impact of the band and its TV show on popular culture at the time and since.

“There’s this idea that they weren’t very important and then disappeared,” she said. But a little digging shows they were culturally relevant then and still are.

  • They were friends with the Beatles, she noted. John Lennon would go to Dolenz’s house and jam.
  • Peter Tork was at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, where he was asked to go onstage during the Grateful Dead’s set and quiet the crowd. And the crowd listened to him. (Tork had played with Stephen Stills in Greenwich Village before Stills auditioned for “The Monkees,” was rejected and recommended Tork.)
  • Shows including “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men” have used Monkees songs, introducing them to a new generation, as have covers of Monkees songs, including Smash Mouth’s version of “I’m a Believer” on the “Shrek” soundtrack.
  • Rachel Maddow interviewed Tork in 2012, after the death of Davy Jones, and gushed over how much she loved “The Monkees” and learned about the 1960s from watching its reruns on MTV.
  • The Monkees’ 12th album, “Good Times!”, released for the group’s 50th anniversary in 2016 was ranked by Rolling Stone magazine among its top 50 albums of the year.

“Suddenly it’s cool to like the Monkees now,” Welch said.

Welch met Dolenz in 1986 after a concert in Cleveland. She still has his phone number from an earlier phone interview, though it no longer works. Dolenz was her favorite Monkee, she said.

“My theory was there’s more girls in line for Davy, so I’d have better luck with the guy with the shorter line.”

Editor’s note: In the interest of journalistic transparency, this reporter acknowledges having constructed, in 1967, a Monkees fort in her closet, where she could daydream about Davy Jones.

 

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Cal State Fullerton graduate channels her career success into volunteering

By Nicole Saba

I grew up in Anaheim, and my childhood memories consist of visits to Disneyland and the lifelong friends I made. The friends I grew up with in my diverse community, walking together to and from the same elementary school, middle school and high school, are memories I will always cherish. It built a sense of community and strengthened ties to each other’s families.

Nicole Saba. Photo courtesy of the writer.
Nicole Saba. Photo courtesy of the writer.

I also knew from a very young age that I was going to attend Cal State Fullerton. Not only is it the anchor of Orange County, having garnered numerous state and national accolades, it’s the university where my father studied, and my younger sister, as well.

At CSUF, I studied communications and later switched my major, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing. I am very lucky to have been surrounded by solid educators and remarkable leaders who helped set the foundation for my career success and leadership skills.

I enjoyed being a student at CSUF. As a member of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority, I recall attending Titan baseball games under the coaching leadership of Augie Garrido and later George Horton, as well as watching local bands perform at Becker Amphitheater during lunch time, just to name a few out-of-class diversions.

Upon graduation, I moved to Los Angeles, where my education from the Anaheim Union High School District and Cal State Fullerton prepared me for working in various areas of marketing, public relations, promotions and advertising. Later on, came a shift to the client side and stints as marketing manager for Princess Cruises and Cunard Line. After the birth of my first child, I started a marketing consulting business, which gives me the freedom to also volunteer.

Having young children, it was very important to me to support public education. My husband and I chose to send our children to a neighborhood school so that they could walk there and enjoy after-school activities with their friends, rather than spend endless hours in the car. We also wanted to support our neighborhood public educators.

Becoming a parent naturally led to volunteering, then to championing the ideal of public schools, where all kids have access to high-level instruction and resources, regardless of socioeconomic status.

With technology being a 21st-century reality, I developed a technology vision for our neighborhood school and, with the support of the principal, it has resulted in the consistent use of iPads and Chromebooks by students throughout all grade levels. As a classroom volunteer, I help teach computer programming, keyboarding, English language arts, the use of Google apps and math lessons using technology.

Our school’s nonprofit booster organization was founded 10 years ago by dedicated parents, and I serve as its president. We organize and assist in schoolwide fundraisers, in addition to applying for grant funding to help raise additional revenue to pay for programs where education dollars fall short.

Participating in community outreach efforts, I seek to ensure that our local businesses play an integral role in supporting our school. As president of the School Site Council, the school governance board, I also work with various leaders serving on several committees in the Los Angeles Unified School District to offer a parent’s perspective and feedback regarding decisions made at the district level.

My background in marketing comes in handy for writing press releases and supporting our social media sites with up-to-date information to keep parents and the community connected.

U.S. Rep Adam Schiff honored Nicole Saba, CSUF Class of '98, this spring as the 28th Congressional District Woman of the Year for 2018. Photo courtesy Nicole Saba.
U.S. Rep Adam Schiff honored Nicole Saba, CSUF Class of ’98, this spring as the 28th Congressional District Woman of the Year for 2018. Photo courtesy Nicole Saba.

A nomination by my sons’ school principal recently led to receiving an award from our local congressman. It was humbling surprise to say the least, but a motivating factor to continue to do more.

Nicole Saba, a Class of 1998 Titan and mother of two, was named the 28th Congressional District Woman of the Year for 2018 by Rep. Adam Schiff, in recognition of her volunteer efforts.

 

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