Sacramento State has the luxury of playing five of its last seven Big Sky Conference games at the Hornets Nest, where the squad is 4-4 this season. The top six teams in the Big Sky move on to the conference postseason tournament, and currently the Hornets are tied for fifth place with Idaho State, sharing identical records of 3-4. Up first for Sacramento State is Weber State, who is currently tied for second place in the Big Sky with a conference record of 5-2 and an overall record of 14-6. On Jan. 15 in Ogden, the two teams met with the Wildcats besting the Hornets 66-49. The second half saw Weber State outscore Sacramento State 38-23 in the second half and shoot 55.6 percent from the floor. Currently Weber State is led by the Big Sky''s top scorer Julie Gjertsen (16.7 points per game). In 17 meetings, the Hornets have walked away with only one victory in 2000 at the Nest against Weber State. The game can be heard on www.hornetsports.com bt clicking the Live Audio link at the top of the page and scrolling down to Women''s Basketball.
A Look Back
Sacramento State arguably came off its most important and significant weekend since joining the Big Sky Conference for the 1996-97 season. The Hornets exited their Big Sky road trip with a 72-68 overtime win at Eastern Washington on Thursday, following the win with a 59-53 defeat of Portland State on Saturday. It was the first in program history that Sacramento State has swept a road series.
Sophomore Kim Sheehy was named co-Big Sky Player of the Week after averaging 16.0 points per game over the weekend. At Eastern Washington, Sheehy scored a career-high 21 points and sank two three-pointers in overtime, including knocking down a 25-fooot shot with 11 seconds left on the clock. In that game the Hornets were 4-of-4 from the floor in OT. Also scoring in double figures was senior guard Tyeisha Brown and sophomore guard Stephanie Cherry, who scored 16 and 14 points, respectively.
For the third-straight game, Sacramento State started Sheehy, Brown and Cherry at Portland State. Sacramento State outscored the Vikings 30-20 in the second half, led by Brown and Sheehy, who scored 11 points apiece. Junior forward Ashley Cadotte added 10 points and seven rebounds.
With seven wins on the 2004-05 season, the Hornets are beginning to break some records from years past; Sacramento State''s seven wins are the most since the 1995-96 season...the teams seven wins over Division I teams are the most since the 1995-96 season... the Hornets three Big Sky wins are the most since the 1999-00 season...the team is also off to its best conference start in program history...the Hornets three road wins are the most since the 1993-94 season...when the Hornets defeated Montana State, on Jan. 20, it was their first Big Sky win at the Nest since 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, 3-0, in overtime games this season...the Hornets also set the program record for fewest opponents'' points allowed 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, ranking them 40th in the nation. 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 Brown''s 2.5. The Vallejo, Calif. native has tallied a team-high 50 steals this season, ranking her second in the Big Sky. In Big Sky games, Brown has increased her average to 2.71 steals per game. Sacramento State is also forcing opponents into 19.5 turnovers per game. The team is also posting a Big Sky-leading 1.6 turnover margin.
Junior guard Cindy Alldrin and Cadotte teamed together last season at Clackamas CC, winning the NWACC championship. Cadotte is pulling down a team-high 6.9 rebounds per game, and she also has two 10+ rebounding games with one double-double. A hard-working, scrappy rebounder under the boards, Cadotte is one of only two Hornets to start every game this season. Alldrin, currently leads the team in assists with 2.5 per game, while averaging 7.5 points per game.
Sheehy and 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 13-straight games, the longest streak currently in the Big Sky. Sheehy has started all 20 games this season, and since conference began, the Santa Fe, N.M., native has stepped up her game, averaging 10.4 points per game after scoring just 6.6 points per game in her first 12 contests. In conference games only, Sheehy averages 2.3 treys per game, second in the Big Sky, while also leading the Hornets with 36 on the season.
Cherry''s three-point streak has climbed to nine games (tied for second in the Big Sky with NAU''s Kim Winkfield), while the Suisun, Calif., native is fourth on the team scoring 7.1 points per game. Cherry has been inserted into the Hornets starting lineup for their past three games. She scored 14 points at Eastern Washington, and also contributed a career-high five steals, a career-high tying five rebounds and three assists in the win at Portland State. In conference games only, Cherry is averaging 2.43 steals per game, tying her for third in the Big Sky.
After coming off the bench in the Hornets'' first 17 games, Brown got her second and third starts of the season in the wins at Eastern Washington and Portland State, scoring in double figures in both games. She has come off the bench this season to lead or share the team lead in scoring a team-high nine times. At Eastern Washington, Brown contributed 16 points and at Portland State she added 11 with a game-high tying five steals. Brown leads the squad and ranks 12th in the Big Sky averaging 10.6 points per game.
Also contributing from the bench this season have been junior forward Lindsey Heard and freshman guard Ali Mollet. Heard is averaging 5.9 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. Her 6-of-6 performance from the free-throw line in a 70-65 OT win 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 17. 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 20 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). Ciampi has stepped up her play in conference, averaging 3.29 offensive rebounds per game (fourth in the Big Sky), helping her team to average 12.43 offensive rebounds per game in the Big Sky, ranking the team second.
Senior forward Kristine Knowlton, the only four-year student-athlete on the team, had a season-high tying three blocks at Eastern Washington, bringing her career total to 148, which ranks her first in Sacramento State Division I history and ninth all-time in the Big Sky. Knowlton also played a season-high 19 minutes and scored a season-high six points.
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 61.2 percent (189-of-309, 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 seven wins this season, the team''s best start since the 1995-96 season. 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).