WOMEN'S BASKETBALL KEEPS PLAYOFF HOPES ALIVE WITH 71-67 WIN OVER PORTLAND STATE
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Alle Moreno's pair of free throws with just over a minute to play put Sacramento State on top for good and helped lift the women's basketball team to a 71-67 victory over Portland State on Saturday at The Nest.
The win improved the Hornets to 10-17 overall and 5-9 in Big Sky Conference action. Portland State dropped to 13-12 overall and 5-7 in league play. With two conference games remaining, Sacramento State has drawn even in the win column with the Vikings in the Big Sky standings as the Hornets continue their chase for the sixth and final berth to the conference tournament.
In a game which featured nine ties and 10 lead changes, Moreno made both of her free throws to give Sacramento State a 66-65 lead with 1:04 to play. PSU had two chances to retake the lead but an Eryn Jones miss was followed by an offensive foul.
Emily Christensen made two free throws to extend the lead to three points before the Hornet defense forced a traveling call with 27 seconds left in the game. After PSU was forced to foul, Fantasia Hilliard made one of two free throw attempts to secure the victory.
Kylie Kuhns scored 17 points on 8-of-13 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the Hornets in both categories. Moreno finished with 16 points while Hilliard added 13. Hilliard was a catalyst to a strong start by Sacramento State as the freshman made each of her first six field goal attempts.
Portland State built a 28-22 lead with 5:12 to play in the first half for its biggest lead of the period. However, the Vikings did not convert a field goal in the final 7:27 of the half which allowed the Hornets to storm back and take a 35-31 lead into intermission.
Sacramento State began the second half with a layup from Christensen and a three-pointer from Moreno to take a 40-31 advantage. From that point, the Vikings went on a 15-6 run to tie the game at 46-46 with 12:08.
After the two teams exchanged baskets, Portland State used a Courtney Vanbrocklin layup to go ahead 59-53 with 5:37 remaining. The Hornets answered with a 7-0 run which included five points from Kuhns with just under four minutes left.
Kate Lanz converted a three-point play on PSU's next possession to push the Vikings back ahead before Mallorie Franco hit a one-handed runner to knot the score at 62-62.
Trailing 64-63 with 1:43 showing, Lanz scored two of her 18 points to give the Vikings their final lead of the game.
As a team, Sacramento State shot 46.2 percent from the field, despite shooting 2-of-18 from behind the three-point line. From inside the arc, the Hornets finished the game 28-of-47 (.596).
Free throw shooting also played a major factor in the game as Sacramento State was 9-of-11 while the Vikings were 16-of-23. Portland State entered the game ranked third in Div. I in team free-throw percentage at 80.5 percent.
Both teams struggled taking care of the ball, as Portland State committed 24 turnovers and the Hornets had 23 miscues.
Sacramento State's final home game will come on Feb. 23 against Big Sky leading Idaho State. The team's final regular season game will come on Feb. 25 at Portland State.