When Titans’ Miller Sits, Stanford Makes Move : West Regional: With Fullerton star on the bench with three fouls, Cardinal has 16-4 run on way to a 91-67 victory.
Cal State Fullerton women’s basketball Coach Maryalyce Jeremiah got a sneak preview of the post-Genia Miller era Saturday night and didn’t like what she saw.
Miller, the Titans’ 6-foot-3 senior center and the nation’s leading scorer, came out of the NCAA West Regional playoff game against Stanford with 4:46 remaining in the first half after committing her third foul.
Fullerton led by three points at the time, but Stanford closed the half with a 16-4 run and went on to a 91-67 second-round victory before 4,657 in Maples Pavilion.
The Cardinal, taking advantage of a decided height advantage on the front line, scored 29 of their 39 field goals from inside.
Julie Zeilstra, a 6-3 forward who was guarded most of the game by 5-7 freshman Cheryl Hightower, scored 20 points. Guard Sonja Henning had 19 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, and 6-3 sophomore center Val Whiting added 17 points and 10 rebounds for Stanford (24-5). The Cardinal will face Washington in the West Regional semifinals Thursday in Las Vegas.
The Cardinal came out hot in the second half and increased its lead to 67-45 with about 11 minutes left, but the turning point was the last five minutes of the first half. When Miller went out, you could roll the credits on Fullerton’s season.
“I told the team at halftime you’d better get used to playing without her because she’s not going to be here next year,” Jeremiah said. “We didn’t have anyone on the floor taller than six feet. Without Genia, the other players became tentative.”
And Stanford players, a physical bunch, became even more tenacious, going hard after offensive rebounds and scoring heavily from inside to take a 39-30 halftime lead.
“Our depth was a big factor, especially when Genia came out,” Stanford Coach Tara VanDerveer said. “We have a great advantage with Julie (Zeilstra) at the small forward spot because no one can stop her on the block.”
Miller finished with a game-high 23 points and 12 rebounds but had only two points in the first half. Claudette Jackson added 17 points, and Hightower scored a career-high 14, all in the first half.
But the Titans got only seven points from their backcourt. Point guard Michelle Hennessey scored five points and Joey Ray, normally the team’s best outside shooter, went 0 for 8 from the field and scored two points.
Miller closed out her Fullerton career with 2,392 points, 1,150 rebounds, 905 field goals, 1,578 field-goal attempts, 582 free throws, 843 free-throw attempts and 421 blocked shots, all school records.