Sacramento State controls its own destiny in its quest for clinching a spot in the Big Sky postseason tournament. The Hornets are currently in sixth place in the Big Sky Conference, holding onto the final postseason berth as the top six teams qualify for the tournament.
Sacramento State (7-17, 3-8) plays all three of its final regular season games at the Hornets Nest, ending the season with games against Portland State (Mar. 3) and Eastern Washington (Mar. 5).
Northern Arizona currently sits in third place in the Big Sky with a conference record of 7-4. The Lumberjacks are led by Alyssa Wahl''s 14.9 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. In the team''s first meeting of the season in Flagstaff, Ariz. on Jan. 29, the Hornets held Northern Arizona to 15 first-half points, before the Lumberjacks exploded for 40 second-half points en route to a 55-49 win. Saturday''s game can be heard on www.hornetsports.com by clicking the Live Audio link at the top of the page and scrolling down to women''s basketball.
A Look Back
Sacramento State returns from its last road trip of the regular season, suffering losses at Montana, 57-54, and Montana State, 74-65. Sophomore guard Kim Sheehy scored double figures in both games, leading the Hornets with 11 points against the Grizzlies and adding 15 points - knocking down a career-high tying five three-pointers - against the Bobcats.
Sacramento State tied the game with Montana at 51-51 with 3:24 to go on a layup from senior guard Tyeisha Brown, but that was the last field goal of the game for the Hornets as the Grizzlies sealed up the win from the free-throw line.
Sacramento State was led by junior guard Cindy Alldrin''s career-high 23 points against Montana State, but the Hornets lost hold of a 14-point lead in the second half as the Bobcats scored 64 points in the last 23 minutes of the game.
With seven wins on the 2004-05 season, the Hornets are beginning to break records from years past; Sacramento State''s seven wins are the most since the 1995-96 season...the team''s 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''s 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 4-6 is the best for the team since the 1999-00 season...Brown, who has a team-high 59 steals, is now tied for eighth in program history for steals in a single season...Sheehy has sunk 45 three-pointers this season, placing her seventh in program history for three-pointers in a single season and ninth for three-pointers in a career.
Defense, Defense, Defense
Sacramento State''s aggressive defense is paying off in a big way. The Hornets are averaging a Big Sky-leading 10.88 steals per game. The squad''s ability to wreak havoc on the defensive end of the floor extends to the entire team, with five players averaging at least 1.1 steals per game, led by Brown''s 2.5. The Vallejo, Calif. native has tallied a team-high 59 steals this season, ranking her first in the Big Sky. In conference games, Brown has increased her average to 2.55 per game. Sacramento State is also forcing opponents into 18.5 turnovers per game, third in the Big Sky.
Alldrin and junior forward Ashley Cadotte teamed together last season at Clackamas CC, winning the NWACC championship. Cadotte is pulling down a team-high 6.8 rebounds per game, and she also has three 10+ rebounding games with two double-doubles. 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 2.4 per game, while averaging 7.8 points per game.
Back on Track
Sophomore guard Stephanie Cherry and Sheehy each had their respective three-point streaks broken in losses on Feb. 10 and Feb. 12, but the two players have picked up right where they left off. Sheehy, who has hit at least five three-pointers in two games this season, has restarted her streak with eight three-pointers in her last two games. The Santa Fe, N.M., native has started all of Sacramento State''s 24 games this season, and in Big Sky games, leads the conference with 25 made three-pointers.
Cherry''s new three-point streak has matured to three games, but the Suisun, Calif., native has been stepping up the statistical ladder on the defensive end of the court. Cherry is averaging 2.09 steals per contest in conference games (fifth in the Big Sky). Cherry is also fourth on the team in scoring, averaging 7.2 points per game.
After coming off the bench in Sacramento State''s first 17 games of the season, Brown has now started the team''s last seven games. Brown has also scored in double figures in four of the team''s last six games, leading the team with 10.3 points per game, ranking her 13th in the Big Sky. Brown also has three 20-plus point performances under her belt this season, leading the team in scoring 11 times this season and 18 times during her two-year career.
Also contributing from the bench this season have been junior forward Lindsey Heard and freshman guard Ali Mollet. Heard is averaging 6.2 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. A Kodak All-American at Umpqua CC last season, she has led the Hornets in scoring four times this year.
In her first collegiate season, Mollet has started two games this year and came off the bench in 19. 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 has tallied 22 steals this season and has scored in double figures seven times. The Martinez, Calif., native 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 2.73 offensive rebounds per game (fourth in the Big Sky), helping her team to average 11.91 offensive rebounds per game in conference contests.
Senior forward Kristine Knowlton, the only fourth-year student-athlete on the team, scored a season-high eight points against Idaho State on Feb. 12. Knowlton ranks first in Sacramento State Div. I program history with 150 career blocks.
The Hornets have yet to get on track with their free-throw shooting this season, averaging 62.3 percent from the charity stripe, ranking them 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).