Sacramento State still controls its own destiny as the team sits tied with Montana State for the sixth and final spot in the Big Sky postseason tournament. Both teams share identical conference records 3-9 and have a 1-1 series record with one another for the season. The Hornets have the tie breaker, having defeated Eastern Washington (currently in fourth place) on Feb. 3. The Bobcats have an 0-2 record this season against the Eagles and have yet to defeat a higher ranked team.
With a win on Thursday over Portland State and a loss by Montana State, who will be hosting Weber State, Sacramento State would clinch its first Big Sky Tournament berth since the 1996-97 season, the team''s first year of competition in the Big Sky Conference. In the last three meetings between the teams, Sacramento State has walked away with two victories, including a 59-53 victory in the teams'' most recent meeting on Feb. 5. The Vikings have yet to win a Big Sky game this season, but can cause problems on defense, forcing 10.0 steals per game (third in the Big Sky). Portland State is led by Heather Arns, who averages a Big Sky-best 2.62 steals per game. Arns is also the only Viking averaging double figures at 13.2 points per game.
Eastern Washington comes to Sacramento in a battle for third place in the Big Sky with Northern Arizona. Sacramento State was led by Kim Sheehy''s career-high 21 points and five three-pointers in the Hornets'' 72-68 overtime win in Cheney, Wash. on Feb. 3. The Eagles are led by Felice Moore''s 11.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.
A Look Back
Sacramento State hosted Northern Arizona on Saturday, Feb. 26 and suffered a 60-50 loss, extending the Hornets'' losing streak to five games, the team''s longest of the season. Junior forward Ashley Cadotte fell just short of a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds while junior guard Cindy Alldrin added 11 points.
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 Hornets'' three road wins are the most since the 1993-94 season...when Sacramento State defeated Montana State, on Jan. 20, it was their first Big Sky win at the Nest since the 2000-01 season...senior guard Tyeisha Brown, who has a team-high 59 steals, is now tied for eighth in program history for steals in a single season...sophomore guard Kim Sheehy has sunk 48 three-pointers this season, placing her fifth in program history for three-pointers made in a single season.
Defense, Defense, Defense
Sacramento State''s aggressive defense is paying off in a big way. The Hornets are averaging a Big Sky-leading 10.76 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 second in the Big Sky.
Alldrin and Cadotte teamed together last season at Clackamas CC, winning the NWACC championship. Cadotte, one of only two players to start every game this season, is pulling down a team-high 6.8 rebounds per game. She also has three 10+ rebounding games with two double-doubles. Alldrin leads the team in assists with 2.4 per game while averaging 7.9 points.
Back on Track
Sheehy and sophomore guard Stephanie Cherry have been the Hornets'' most successful shooters from behind the arc this season. Sheehy, who has hit 11 three-pointers in her last three games, leads the Big Sky with 28 three-pointers in league play.
Cherry, who is second on the team with 27 three-pointers, has been stepping up the statistical ladder on the defensive end of the court. In non-conference games Cherry totalled just 18 steals, but in 12 league games, the Suisun, Calif., native has averaged 2.25 steals per game (fourth in the Big Sky) bringing her season total to 45.
After starting seven-consecutive games, senior guard Tyeisha Brown missed her first game of the season last Saturday. Brown injured her knee in a game at Montana State on Feb. 19. with the initial diagnosis being possible cartilage damage. Her status is day-to-day for her return to the floor this weekend. She leads the team with 10.3 points per game and also has three 20-plus point performances under her belt this season.
Under the Rim
Junior forward Katelyn Ciampi has tallied 23 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).
Senior forward Kristine Knowlton, the only four-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 148 career blocks.
Lindsey Heard, a Kodak All-American at Umpqua CC last season, has come off the bench in all 25 games this season and is currently averaging 6.1 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. The Roseburg, Ore., native has also led the team in scoring four times this season and led the team in rebounding five times.
Free Throw Woes
The Hornets have yet to get on track with their free-throw shooting this season, averaging 62.8 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).