CHICO, Calif. -- It's not typical that a player who scores just two points in a game is bigger than the contest itself that ends with a 20-point win. But Cal State Dominguez Hills senior Monay Lee isn't a typical player by any stretch of the imagination, as her bucket to begin the game spurred the Toros to a convincing 69-49 win over host Chico State to give CSUDH a sweep of the regular season series, and established her as the school's all-time career scoring leader.
The Toros move to 19-8 overall and 17-2 in CCAA play, with a chance to claim at least a share of the league title with a win on Saturday at Stanislaus State that would give the program CCAA titles in three straight seasons (CCAA tournament title in 2013-14, CCAA tournament title/Co-CCAA regular season title in 2014-15) for the first time in program history.
But tonight was all about Lee, who first suited up in a CSUDH uniform four years ago and was on the verge of setting the school's all-time career points record on Senior Night until she blew out her knee during the Toros' first offensive possession, keeping her tied atop the leader board.
"I feel great about tonight, but even better about everyone who helped make this happen for me," begins an emotional Lee. "And when Bre [Breanne Garcia] gave me the ball, I was really nervous to say the least, but I'm glad I made it.
"The whole situation tonight is really incredible and I'm thankful to coach Molly, my teammates, Chico State and God for blessing me with this opportunity."
Prior to tonight's game at Chico State, the Wildcats showed the class that has come to embody the program by taking part in a prearranged and agreed upon demonstration of sportsmanship for the injured Lee, allowing her to score an uncontested basket in the game's opening seconds, making her the school's all-time leading scorer.
Lee, who now stands atop the career record books with 1,472 points, led the Toros to two California Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament Titles and a share of one CCAA regular season crown, with the 2015-16 team currently tied for first place.
Cal State Dominguez Hills head coach Molly Goodenbour, who coached the Wildcats to a CCAA title and an NCAA round of 16 berth en route to CCAA Coach of the Year in 2007-08, and current Chico State head coach Brian Fogel made this event happen for Lee, who is a two-time 1st-team All-CCAA selection and was named the 2013-14 CCAA Tournament MVP after the Toros bested the Wildcats in the CCAA tournament semifinals, but fell to Chico State in the first round of the NCAA postseason.
"I'm happy we could get her the points but I am still really devastated by this loss," begins Goodenbour, whose emotion after Lee's basket overpowered her usually stoic nature. "She has been the foundation, the rock, upon which we've built this program over the last four years, and it's just not the same to be playing without her. She has meant so much to the program and to me, and I respect her and love her so much. She is special and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to coach her these last four years.
"Almost every coach in the league has expressed their sympathy and their respect for her as well," Goodenbour continues.
"And when I told Brian about Monay's injury, he was the one who immediately offered to let her get the points. [Chico State Athletic Director] Anita Barker has always been a strong advocate for the women's basketball program at Chico and she was completely on board as well, and Chico's fans have seen Monay play for four years and are really supportive, so it was great to have them show their respect and appreciation for her in this way."
It was back to business, though, as soon as the Toros allowed Chico State's Brooke Bowen make a basket to even the score with 9:43 remaining in the first quarter. The Toros would go on to start a 12-2 run to take a commanding lead early in the contest.
The Toros had never trailed in the game. Chico State did bring the deficit to as close as to seven on several different occasions, with the last being with 2:04 remaining in the first half. Julia Poecksteinerwould net a pair of free throws and Breanne Garcia had a layup near the end of the quarter to have CSUDH head into intermission leading 33-22.
Imari Brown led all Toros with 14 points and gathered five rebounds, Breanne Garcia and Ali Bettencourt both had 11 points and Anandi Jimenez earned 10 to round out the Toros in double figures.
Kielyn Wilson led the pack with seven of the Toros 36 total rebounds. Poecksteiner also went to the glass five times.
The Toros finished the night shooting a below average 35.5 percent from the field but did most of the damage on the free throw line, going 21-for-23. Bettencourt made six of those.
Bowen led the Wildcats with 15 points and seven boards. Chico State shot a cold 29.3 percent from the field but made 14 of 18 on the charity stripe.