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Fullerton Titans honor fallen coach in emotional home game

Feb 10, 2013, 2:00 AM EST

A memorial for Monica Quan at Titan Gym (via @AbbeyMastracco) h/t Yahoo's The Dagger. Memorial at Titan Gym (via @AbbeyMastracco) h/t Yahoo's The Dagger.

Odds are, nobody at Cal State Fullerton was quite ready to get back to playing basketball yet.

Women’s basketball assistant coach Monica Quan and her fiance were murdered just six days prior to Saturday’s home game against UC-Riverside, and the feelings in the building were still very raw. The game could likely have been canceled. Nobody would have blamed the Fullerton family for taking a little while longer to grieve. But the t-shirts the young women wore pointed to another way of honoring the fallen coach. They said “it is the courage to continue that counts.”

It’s a concept that coaches teach athletes: that fatigue and pain can be endured and overcome. That they must be overcome, on and off the court. A pretty tough thing to live up to in a situation like this.

Fullerton guard Alex Thomas lapsed into the present tense when she attempted to describe how Quan would have reacted to the understandable 64-45 loss the Titans suffered in their first game back after the tragedy:

“She’s way big on the little things and the details,” Thomas told the Associated Press. “And today we didn’t really take of the details the way we know we should have. She would have been proud of our effort, proud of us coming out and being there and trying to stay focused. But she definitely would have wanted us to pay attention to the little things more.”

Getting up and getting going again is part of the stage of grief called “acceptance,” and it’s probably a little too soon for that in this case. Fullerton head coach Marcia Foster confirmed that everyone in the locker room was still somewhat in shock. “I don’t think anybody feels like they’re healing right now. We feel like we’re just getting through.”

College Basketball Talk salutes the Fullerton basketball community. Win or lose, the Titans are honoring someone they loved and lost by playing the game she taught them to play. Sometimes that’s all you can do.