Sacramento State heads into the third game of its season-long four-game road trip at Eastern Washington on Thursday. The Hornets have not defeated the Eagles since a 67-63 win in 2000 and have not won in Cheney, Wash., since a 77-62 victory in 1999.
Eastern Washington, led this season by Felice Moore''s 12.8 and 5.7 rebounds per game, holds a 17-3 all-time series record over Sacramento State. The Eagles'' Big Sky record of 4-1 sits them at second in the Big Sky, with their only loss coming at Montana. Eastern Washington has only lost one home game this season, dating back to a Nov. 30 loss to Gonzaga.
The Hornets have managed one road win this season, but are similar to the Eagles with only one player currently averaging double figures in scoring. For the Hornet defense, which forces opponents into 19.6 turnovers per game (second in the Big Sky), the Eagles'' offense averages 20.3 turnovers per game, most in the conference.
A Look Back
The Hornets played only one Big Sky game last week, falling to Northern Arizona 55-49 on Saturday night at the Walkup Skydome. For the first time this season, Sacramento State had a halftime lead, 23-15. But the Lumberjacks produced a 40-point second half to get their third Big Sky win of the season, settling the team into fourth place. The Hornets are currently in sixth.
Junior guard Cindy Alldrin helped Sacramento State to a season-high nine three-pointers by going 3-of-4 from behind the arc herself. It was the third time the Vancouver, Wash., native has led the team in scoring this season. Junior forward Ashley Cadotte had a game-high nine rebounds (four offensive) and sank her second three-pointer of the season.
With five wins on the 2004-05 season, the Hornets are beginning to break some records from years past; five wins in 18 games is the best start for the team since the 1995-96 season...when the Hornets defeated Montana State, it was their first Big Sky win at the Nest since a 75-56 win over Portland State during the 2000-01 season...Sacramento State''s home record of 4-4 is the best for the team since the 1999-00 season...Sacramento State is undefeated, 2-0, in overtime games this season...the Hornets also set the program record for fewest opponents'' points scored when New Mexico State posted only 39 points in the Hornets'' 46-39 win on Dec. 21, 2004.
Defense, Defense, Defense
Sacramento State''s aggressive defense is paying off in a big way. The Hornets are averaging a Big Sky-leading 11.3 steals per game. The squad''s ability to wreak havoc on the defensive end of the floor extends to the entire team, with six players averaging at least 1.0 steals per game, led by senior guard Tyeisha Brown''s 2.3. The Vallejo, Calif. native has tallied a team-high 42 steals this season, ranking her third in the Big Sky. Sacramento State is also forcing opponents into 19.6 turnovers per game. The team is averaging 2.6 blocks per game, fourth in the Big Sky.
Across The Scoreboard
Alldrin came to Sacramento State after being named MVP of the South Division and helping Clackamas Community College to a NWAACC Championship. In 18 games as a Hornet, Alldrin registers in the top five of 10 statistical categories. She is second on the squad in scoring, averaging 7.7 points per game and is also second on the team from the free-throw line, shooting 72.1 percent (31-of-43). Alldrin got to the charity stripe for the first time in eight games against Northern Arizona, shooting 3-of-4. The Mountain View HS graduate is also averaging a team-high 2.4 assists per game and is third on the squad with 1.4 steals per game.
Cadotte is pulling down a team-high 6.8 rebounds per game, and is ranked seventh overall in the conference in rebounding. She also has two 10+ rebounding games with one double-double. A hard-working, scrappy rebounder under the boards, the Oregon City, Ore., native is seventh in the conference averaging 2.72 offensive rebounds per game, helping the Hornets'' offensive rebounding average increase to 11.94 per game, fourth in the Big Sky.
Sophomore guards Kim Sheehy and Stephanie Cherry have each started and maintained three-point streaks this season. Sheehy, who is in her first year with the Hornets after redshirting last season and playing the 2002-03 season at San Jose State, has now sunk at least one three-pointer in 11-straight games, tied with Montana''s Katie Edwards for the longest streak currently in the Big Sky. Sheehy''s 30 three-pointers also rank her sixth in the Big Sky. The 5-9 sophomore also has a 1.75 assist to turnover ration in five Big Sky games.
Cherry''s three-point streak has climbed to seven games (tied for second in the Big Sky with NAU''s Kim Winkfield), while the Suisun, Calif., native is fourth on the team scoring 6.9 points per game. Cherry played 22 minutes in the Hornets'' OT win over Montana State, including handling the point guard duties down the stretch and in the extra period. In five Big Sky games, Cherry is averaging 2.4 steals and 1.6 three-pointers per game. She also picked up her first start of the season at Northern Arizona. In an 83-76 win over Ohio, Cherry scored a career-high 25 points, making it the biggest offensive output for a Hornet since Danielle Iceman scored 25 points at Montana on Jan. 26, 2002. The win against Ohio marked the first time the Hornets had scored more than 80 points against a Division I opponent since an 89-83 win over UC Riverside on Jan. 20, 2001.
After coming off the bench in the Hornets'' first 17 games, Brown got her first start of the season in the loss at Northern Arizona. She has come off the bench this season to lead or share the team lead in scoring a team-high eight times. Brown leads the squad and ranks 12th in the Big Sky averaging 10.2 points per game and scored a season-high 22 points in the win over Ohio.
Also contributing from the bench this season have been junior forward Lindsey Heard and freshman guard Ali Mollet. Heard is averaging 6.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. Heard''s 70 rebounds this season rank her fourth on the team. Her 6-of-6 performance from the free-throw line in OT against Montana State was the best of any Hornet this season. A Kodak All-American at Umpqua CC last season, she has led the Hornets in scoring three times this year.
In her first collegiate season, Mollet has started two games this year and came off the bench in 16. Mollet had her best game of the year in a 59-58 win over UC Riverside, where she scored a career-high 10 points and dished out a career-high five assists.
Junior forward Katelyn Ciampi pulled down her first double-double of the season in the win over Montana State. In addition to tallying 18 steals this season, the Martinez, Calif., native has scored in double figures seven times. Ciampi has now set or matched single-game career highs in minutes (39), rebounds (13), free throws attempted (9), assists (4), steals (4), blocks (3) and three-pointers made (1). She is also fourth in the Big Sky, averaging 1.0 blocks per game. In conference games only, Ciampi ranks fourth with 3.2 offensive rebound per game.
Senior forward Kristine Knowlton, the only four-year student-athlete on the team, had a season-high three blocks against Weber State, bringing her career total to 145, which ranks her first in Sacramento State Division I history and ninth all-time in the Big Sky. Senior guard Samania Black, who has started in 15-of-18 games this season dished out a season-high four steals against the Bobcats.
In the Hornets'' first Big Sky victory, a 70-65 victory over Montana State, Ciampi, Sheehy and Heard made free throws when it counted, combining to go 9-of-10 from the line in overtime. But on the season, Sacramento State has failed to be as successful. From the line, the team is shooting 61.0 percent (172-of-282, last in the Big Sky).
Head Coach Dan Muscatell
Dan Muscatell became the sixth Sacramento State women''s basketball head coach in the program''s 38-year history last season, after spending four seasons as an assistant at Oregon (1999-03). He earned his first win with the Hornets on Jan. 14, 2004, with a 56-50 win at Portland State.
Muscatell has already collected five wins this season, the team''s best start since the 1995-96 season. Sacramento State''s up-tempo defense is creating 11.3 steals per game and forcing its opponents into 19.6 turnovers per game.
Last season Muscatell''s squad finished third in the Big Sky conference, averaging 8.67 steals per game. Sacramento State also finished fourth in conference with 3.44 blocked shots per game.
While at Oregon, Muscatell was involved in all aspects of the program, including the coordination of recruiting efforts and the coaching of offense and defense. He also worked with both the perimeter and post players.
While at Oregon, the Everett, Wash., native was responsible for bringing in one of the nation''s top recruiting classes in 2001, a six-member class that was ranked 17th in the nation by All-Star Girls Report. Muscatell also coached or recruited current and former WNBA players Edneisha Curry, Jenny Mowe, Angelina Wolvert and Shaquala Williams.
During his four years at Oregon, the Ducks were ranked in the top 25 during three of those seasons, including two top-10 finishes in 2000 and 2001. The program also combined to post a record of 74-49 while capturing two NCAA Tournament berths (2000 and 2001), a National Invitational Tournament (NIT) title (2002) and a Pac-10 crown (2000).