WOMEN'S HOOPS WINS CRUCIAL GAME AT PORTLAND STATE; BIG SKY TOURNAMENT WITHIN REACH
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - In the final regular season game of the year, senior Emily Christensen scored a game-high 22 points and did everything she could to make sure a postseason appearance is in her future as the Sacramento State women’s basketball team defeated Portland State, 84-82, on Saturday afternoon in a Big Sky Conference contest at the Stott Center.
Senior Emily Christensen scored 22 points in the final regular season game of her career.
With the win, the seventh-place Hornets won their fourth consecutive game and completed their regular season with a 12-17 (7-9 Big Sky) record while the sixth-place Vikings are 14-13 (6-8 Big Sky) with two games remaining on their schedule. The Big Sky Tournament takes the top six in the standings and if Portland State loses one of its final two games, Sacramento State earns the final conference tournament bid as the Hornets hold the tiebreaker after beating PSU twice. Portland State hosts Montana on March 1 before playing at Northern Colorado on March 3.
To set up this reasonable scenario, Sacramento State first needed to win at Portland State. The Hornets knocked off the Vikings, 71-67, at home after holding off a Vikings rally by making free throws down the stretch.
It was the same story on Saturday at the Stott Center.
The Hornets led by three at halftime but were up by as much as 16 points with 10:09 left in the game. But the Vikings chipped away at the lead, cutting it to just six with 1:13 remaining.
Portland State starting fouling from that point on and Sacramento State hit 8-of-10 free throws in the final 70 seconds of the contest to put a postseason bid within reach. Fantasia Hilliard went 6-of-8 from the line in that stretch while Alle Moreno knocked down both of her attempts.
The result was still up in the air after the Hornets turned the ball over with six seconds left and Kylie Kuhns fouled PSU's Mikaela Rivard on a three-pointer with four seconds to go. Rivard hit all three free throw attempts to make it a two-point game but the Hornets took the inbounds pass and avoided another foul to run out the clock.
All five Sacramento State starters finished in double figures scoring, led by Christensen's 22 points and Moreno's 18. Mallorie Franco had 10 points, Hilliard tallied 10 as well while Kuhns finished with her NCAA-best 20th double-double of the season on 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Portland State also had five players score in double figures with Allison Greene's 16 pacing the Vikings. Shauneice Samms had a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
Sacramento State shot 41.9 percent overall on 31-of-74 shooting, including 9-of-23 from three-point range. The Hornets snagged 43 rebounds, committed 17 turnovers and had 24 assists. They went 13-of-17 at the free throw line.
Portland State shot 39.5 percent from the field on 32-of-81 shooting, with 7-of-20 coming from beyond the arc. The Vikings grabbed 55 rebounds, were pressured into 19 turnovers and had 16 assists. They went 11-of-15 at the free throw line.