A Look at This Week
Freshman Kristine Knowlton
Sacramento State will look for its first win of the season this week as the team travels to Weber State (Thursday, Feb. 7, 6:05 p.m. PST) and Idaho State (Saturday, Feb. 9, 6:05 PST). The Hornets, who are currently 0-20 overall and 0-7 in the Big Sky conference, have seven games remaining on their schedule. All seven of the team?s games are against Big Sky competition (four on the road, three at home). Sacramento State has dropped 30-straight games dating back to last season and have lost 23-straight conference games on the road.
The Hornets dropped a pair of games at Hornet Gym last week to Portland State (67-45) and Eastern Washington (78-59). With the 0-7 conference mark, Sacramento State is three games back of Eastern Washington and Portland State (3-5) for the sixth and final Big Sky playoff spot. The top six squads in the eight-team conference advance to the Big Sky Tournament, beginning on March 7.
Weber State enters the week with a 15-7 overall record and a 7-2 mark in the Big Sky. The second-place Wildcats host Northern Arizona on Wednesday before taking on the Hornets on Thursday. The Olympics? opening ceremonies begin Friday night in Salt Lake City (about 35 miles from Ogden, Utah, home of Weber State). The Wildcats (10-1 all-time against Sacramento State) have won 10 of their last 12 games and defeated the Hornets, 70-53, earlier this season.
Idaho State (8-12, 1-6 Big Sky) hosts Northern Arizona on Friday before welcoming the Hornets on Saturday. The Bengals, who finished last season with a perfect 16-0 conference record, have lost six games in a row including defeats at Eastern Washington and Weber State last week. Sacramento State has never defeated Idaho State (0-11), including a 75-63 loss earlier this year.
Head Coach Carolyn Jenkins
On May 30, 2000, Carolyn Jenkins became the fifth Sacramento State women?s basketball coach in the program?s 35-year history. Jenkins, now in her second season, owns a career 3-43 record. The Fresno, Calif., native came to the Hornets after serving four years (1996-2000) as the top assistant and recruiting coordinator at Michigan State. Prior to the that, the 32-year old Fresno Basketball Hall of Fame electee was an assistant at Stanford from 1991-95.
While at Michigan State, the 1990 graduate of UC Berkeley spearheaded a recruiting class that was ranked among the top-25 in the country on three occasions (1996-97 through 1998-99). During her stint at Stanford, the team reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament all four years including two Final Four appearances (1991-92 and 1994-95) and a national championship in 1991-92.
A Look at Last Week
The Hornets dropped a pair of games last week, losing to Portland State on Friday, 67-45, before falling to Eastern Washington, 78-59, on Saturday.
Friday, Portland State jumped out to an early 20-2 advantage and never relinquished the lead the rest of the way. Sacramento State committed 19 turnovers and converted on just 4-of-22 attempts from the field on the way to a 30-9 halftime deficit. Sacramento State had just two points through the first 12:58 of the opening period as the team?s nine points in the half was a season low. After trailing early on, 20-2, the Hornets would get no closer than 16 points the rest of the way. Samantha Miller led Sacramento State with 14 points as it marked the first time this season the junior led the team in scoring.
Saturday, Allie Bailey (18) and Kathleen Nygaard (17) combined for 35 points to lead Eastern Washington to the victory. The Eagles led from start to finish as the team shot 52.5 percent (31-59) from the field. After falling down, 7-0, early on, the Hornets closed to within three points (15-12) of the lead, but could no closer the rest of the way. Sophomore Danielle Iceman led the Hornets with 23 points as the sophomore went 10-of-13 from the floor while grabbing eight rebounds. Sophomore Sydney Gatson finished with 12 points, seven assists and five rebounds.
It?s no secret that the Hornets are in a rebuilding process and have struggled to find their form this season. The team has lost each of its 20 games and has dropped 30-straight dating back to last season. The 0-20 start and the losing streak are both program worsts as the Hornets have not won since defeating Portland State at home on Jan. 27, 2001. Sacramento State has lost by an average of 32.4 points per game and has yet to hold a halftime lead this season. The Hornets? largest lead of the season (five points) came in the first half against Air Force. Besides a five-point loss to Army, the Hornets have been outscored by at least 11 points in every other contest.
The team has allowed three opponents to score over 100 points (Colorado State, Wyoming and Northern Arizona) after not allowing an opponent to reach the century mark in each of the last six seasons. Sacramento State currently ranks last in the Big Sky in 11 categories including scoring offense (49.5 ppg), scoring defense (81.9 ppg), field goal percentage (.317), rebounding margin (-6.2) and turnover margin (-11.60).
The Hornets? most glaring weaknesses have been their field goal percentage and turnovers. The team has converted on just 345 of its 1,090 field goal attempts. Sacramento State has shot above .400 on three occasions while recording more than 20 field goals on five occasions. Additionally, the team has turned the ball over 544 times, which breaks down to an average of 27.2 miscues per game. The Hornets committed 18 turnovers against Idaho State and 17 against Montana, marking the only times this season in which they had turned the ball over less than 20 times.
Sophomore point guard Sydney Gatson has been playing her best basketball of the season over the past month. During her last eight games, the Concord, Calif., native has scored in double figures six times after doing so just once in the first 38 games of her career. She is averaging 11.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game during that span while posting career highs in points (17 vs. Gonzaga), rebounds (nine at Montana) and assists (seven, twice against Montana and Eastern Washington).
She narrowly missed a triple-double (10 points, nine rebounds, seven assists) at Montana and recorded 12 points, five rebounds and seven assists last Saturday against Eastern Washington. Gatson, who missed the Northern Arizona game with a viral infection, has started all but one game in which she has played, and leads the team with 33.0 minutes per game.
Gatson redshirted last year with a back injury and sat out the entire offseason (including fall practices) with the same injury as coaches and trainers weren?t sure she?d be able to play again. She hadn?t played in any organized game since March 4, 2000, before stepping back on the floor in the team?s season opener against Colorado State. Although Gatson is still battling the pain in her back on a constant basis, she is tied for third on the team in scoring (8.0 ppg) and first in assists (55).
First Half Woes
Sacramento State has struggled mightily in the first half of games this season. None of that was more evident than last week when the team was outscored, 30-9, by Portland State and 34-18 by Eastern Washington. The Hornets have yet to hold a halftime lead this season and are being outscored by an average of 18.4 points per game during the first half. Conversely, Sacramento State has been outscored by an average of 13.9 points in the second half.
Unbelievably, the Hornets return zero players from last season?s roster as the 2001-02 team features a school-record 10 newcomers. Sophomore guard Sydney Gatson, who redshirted last year after back surgery, returns to the active roster after playing all 27 games during the 1999-00 campaign. Sophomore forward Tola Tallman will take a medical redshirt this year after averaging 7.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game last season.
Of the 10 newcomers, six are junior college transfers, two are freshmen and two are crossover athletes. The current active roster features six guards, three forwards and two centers. Besides the two freshmen, the team is also comprised of two redshirts, three sophomores, three juniors and two seniors.
Cleaning The Glass
Sophomore Alyson Thurman continues to lead the team in rebounding (6.8 per game) and has at least shared the team lead in that category in 12 games this season. The small forward, who is currently seventh in the Big Sky in rebounding, has grabbed at least five rebounds in all but four games this season. Thurman?s 16 rebounds against San Jose State (11/30) was the most by a Hornet this season.
Thurman, who has started all but one game this season, is also tied for third on the team in scoring (8.0 ppg). She has recorded double figures in points on seven occasions, including a career-high 21 points at San Diego.
Freshman Kristine Knowlton is averaging 1.95 blocked shots per game (39 total), a mark that places her second in the Big Sky Conference. The center has recorded at least one block in all but four games, including a career-high six last week vs. Portland State. Against conference competition, she averages 2.86 blocks per game, which is the best mark in the Big Sky. At her current pace, she would finish the season with 53 blocked shots, a mark that would place her fifth in program single-season history.
Sophomore power forward Danielle Iceman has been the team?s go-to player for the majority of the season. She has scored 20-plus points in two of her last three games, including a career-high 25 at Montana. After scoring just two points on Friday against Portland State, the Redding, Calif., native recovered to post 23 points against Eastern Washington.
Iceman has scored in double figures in all but eight contests and is averaging a team-best 11.6 points per game. In addition, she has led the team in scoring on 10 occasions. Among team leaders, she is first in field goal percentage (.488) and free throws made (73), second in free throw percentage (.723), and third in rebounding (4.9 per game). Iceman, who has started in all but one game this season, is 11th in the Big Sky in scoring.
Junior Kendra Yancey has been suspended from the team indefinitely...junior Samantha Miller?s 14 points against Portland State was a career high...it also marked the first time she has led the team in scoring this season...senior Ciara Jenkins? seven rebounds against Portland State was a career high...freshman Kristine Knowlton is averaging 10.0 rebounds per game over her last three contests, including a career-high 14 rebounds against Portland State.