WOMEN'S HOOPS DEFEATS FIRST-PLACE IDAHO STATE; BIG SKY TOURNEY DREAMS STILL ALIVE
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Alle Moreno scored a game-high 25 points and the Sacramento State women's basketball team upset first-place Idaho State, 73-65, on Thursday night in a Big Sky Conference game at The Nest.
Alle Moreno scored 20+ points for the fifth time in eight games and the Hornets beat ISU.
The Hornets (11-17, 6-9 Big Sky) handed the Bengals (20-7, 12-2) their second conference loss of the season and beat ISU for just the second time in 33 all-time meetings, but, more importantly, set themselves up for a reasonable run to the Big Sky Conference Tournament.
The conference takes its top six teams to the postseason tournament, which is hosted by the No. 1 seed. The top five seeds in the tournament have already been set - Idaho State, Eastern Washington, Montana State, Northern Colorado and Montana - leaving the No. 6 seed up for grabs between Sacramento State and Portland State.
Because Portland State (14-12, 6-7) also won on Thursday night, the Hornets have to beat the Vikings in Portland, Ore., at 1:05 p.m. on Saturday and Portland State needs to lose one of its last two games (vs. Montana, at Northern Colorado) next weekend. Sacramento State has the final weekend of the season off and concludes its regular season on Saturday.
The Hornets are looking to extend their season and the career of standout senior Emily Christensen, who was honored before the game against Idaho State on Senior Day.
Christensen - who is already in the school's career top-10 in scoring, rebounds, made field goals and made three-point field goals - scored 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting with five rebounds and four assists in her final game at The Nest.
She was only outdone by Moreno, who scored 20+ points for the fifth time in the last eight games. The sophomore from Lodi, Calif., was one shy of her career high of 26 points, set at Weber State on Jan. 26. Moreno scored 25 points on 9-of-14 shooting, including 3-of-6 from three-point range, with five rebounds, five assists and three steals. Moreno was also a perfect 4-of-4 at the free throw line with two of the four coming in the final minute to ice the game.
Sacramento State led by as much as 14 points in the second half but Idaho State cut the lead to just five with two minutes left to play. Fantasia Hilliard hit four big free throws around an ISU lay-up to give the Hornets a seven point lead with 51 seconds remaining. Idaho State's Lindsey Reed hit a lay-up but Kylie Kuhns answered immediately on the other end and Sacramento State still led by seven with only 32 seconds now left in the game. Ashleigh Vella hit a deep three-pointer with 25 seconds left to cut the Hornets' lead to four points but Moreno knocked down her free throws, as did Mallorie Franco, to ice the eight-point win.
Kuhns finished with a game-high 15 rebounds but scored only eight points, making her two points shy of her 20th double-double of the season. Franco also scored eight points while Hilliard had six and Se'nyce Parrish had seven off the bench.
ISU had all five starters score in double figures, led by Reed's 14 points. Horton had a double-double with 10 points and 11 boards.
Sacramento State shot 43.3 percent overall on 26-of-60 shooting, including 7-of-21 from three-point range. The Hornets snagged 34 rebounds, committed 18 turnovers and had 19 assists. They went 14-of-17 at the free throw line.
Idaho State shot 41.1 percent from the field on 23-of-56 shooting, with 7-of-21 coming from beyond the arc. The Bengals grabbed 37 rebounds, were pressured into 24 turnovers (just the fourth time the Bengals had more than 20 this season) and had 13 assists. They went 14-of-15 at the free throw line.