GARCIA SCORES CAREER-HIGH 21 POINTS AS WOMEN'S BASKETBALL CLINCHES NO. 3 SEED WITH 75-61 WIN OVER WEBER STATE
OGDEN, Utah – The Sacramento State women's basketball team got a career-high 21 points from senior Ashley Garcia, leading the club to a 75-61 win over Weber State that clinched them the number three seed in the Big Sky Tournament.
With the win, the Hornets improved to 15-14, 10-6 in Big Sky Conference play, while the Wildcats fall to 9-20, 3-13 in conference action. Sacramento State will open up Big Sky Tournament play on Thursday, March 11 as they take on the No. 6 seeded Montana State Bobcats at 3:30 p.m from Cheney, Wash. The Bobcats are the lone team in the conference that swept the Hornets this season.
The Hornets took the first lead in the contest, when junior Emily Christensen (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) sank the first trey of the game only eight seconds in. Both teams then went back and forth until Sacramento State jumped out to a 5-0 run kicking off with another trey, this time from senior Erika Edwards (Redmond, Wash.) at 16:21 to lead 11-10. Garcia closed out the lopsided scoring efforts for Sac State with a jumper at 12:44 to give the Hornets an early 16-10 lead.
The Wildcats mounted a catch-up effort and at 10:03, Caela Mohre tallied a layup to give Weber State the 19-18 lead. Backed against the wall, the Hornets streaked out to a 9-0 run in less than two minutes, capped off with 8:44 remaining in the half when freshman Mallorie Franco’s (Fortuna, Calif.) jumper gave the Hornets the 27-19 advantage. Weber State, not wanting to go down without a fight, returned the favor with a 6-0 run to come back within a bucket of the Hornets, trailing 27-25 after an Abby Thorderson jumper with 7:05 left to play in the first half.
Sacramento State retaliated with an 11-3 run over the span of the next four minutes, after Garcia sank a trey pushing Sacramento State ahead on the scoreboard 38-28. Weber State tried to stop the bleeding when Amanda Hughes made her only free throw at 2:44, cutting the lead to 38-29. However, the Hornets rallied to close out the first period off a 6-1 run. Garcia netted a fast break jumper with just nine seconds remaining on the clock to seal Sac State’s 44-30 lead at the half.
With a fresh new 20 minutes on the clock, Weber State opened the second half firing as Megan Patterson tallied a jumper in the first 10 seconds of the period to narrow the gap, 44-32. The Wildcats turned that into a 6-0 run until 17:46 when Patterson sank a trey to trail by eight, 44-36. But Sac State fired back on a mini 4-0 run of its own, with buckets from senior Charday Hunt (Portland, Ore.) and junior Tika Koshiyama-Diaz to lead 48-36 with 16:37 remaining.
By the 11:03 mark the Wildcats came back within three points of the Hornets, as Mohre’s trey made it a 53-50 game. Unwilling to relinquish the lead, Sacramento State went on a quick 7-0 run in the two minutes to follow, thanks to four points from Hunt as the Hornets led 57-50 by 9:54.
The Hornets’ lead extended to as much as 10 points a 7:16, after Koshiyama-Diaz contributed a trey to extend the lead over the Wildcats, 62-52. Although Weber State tried to come back in the contest, Christensen’s three-pointer at 3:52 extended the lead back to 10 once more, 68-58. Neither team could muster a basket over the next two minutes, as Tonya Schnibbe ended the scoreless drought at 1:38 with a jumper in the paint that brought the Wildcats within eight, 68-60. The lead, however, was just out of reach for Weber State as the Hornets secured the victory during a final 7-1 run as Garcia sank the game’s final layup with 11 seconds remaining.
Garcia led the Hornets with a career-high 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field, a 3-of-5 mark from beyond the three-point arc and a 4-of-4 performance from the foul line. Christensen chipped in her fifth double-double of the season, scoring 21 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Hunt added 16 points, despite shooting just 4-of-18 from the field. She made two three-pointers and was 6-of-8 from the free throw line. Weber State was led by Schnibbe, who finished with 15 points, while Patterson added 14 points and six rebounds.
Sacramento State returns to action on Thursday, March 11 as they take on the Montana State Bobcats in the first round of the Big Sky Tournament on the campus of Eastern Washington University. Tipoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. from Reese Court, and the broadcast on www.hornetsports.com will begin at 3:15 with the coach Jamie Craighead show.