BACK AT HOME
With its previous three Big Sky Conference games on the road, Sacramento State finally returns to the Hornets Nest this week, hosting Eastern Washington (9-9, 3-2) at 7:05 p.m. on Thursday and Portland State (8-10, 2-3) at 2:05 p.m. on Saturday.
The Hornets are in need of a turnaround, currently 6-11 overall and 1-4 in the Big Sky Conference. The homestand will be a critical one, as Sacramento State prepares to climb from the cellar of the conference standings. With only one victory on the road this year, the Hornets will need to take advantage of their home turf.
QUITE A SCARE
Last Saturday, the Hornets traveled to Northern Arizona and despite putting an early scare in the first-place Lumberjacks, fell 68-54.
Sacramento State had a 36-30 lead at halftime after shooting 73.7 percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes. It was an 18-2 run, which included Northern Arizona scoring on seven consecutive possessions, that enabled the Lumberjacks to take a double-digit lead with 4:03 remaining.
Junior guard Kim Sheehy buried three first-half three-pointers and scored a team-high 13 points for the Hornets, while junior point guard Stephanie Cherry added 10 points and five assists.
THE CENTURY MARK
Kim Sheehy''s three treys at Northern Arizona improved her season total to 45 and extended her Big Sky leading three-point streak to 23 games.
In just her second season at Sacramento State, Sheehy has drained 100 three-pointers, moving her into third place in Division I program history. She is currently on pace to top last season''s total of 55 three-pointers. Sheehy continues to lead the team in scoring, averaging 11.9 points per game and is second in the Big Sky, averaging 2.65 three-pointers per game. Against Big Sky competition, the Santa Fe, N.M., native is averaging 11.4 points per game and has scored in double figures in 4-of-5 games.
MANNING THE POINT
Junior point guard Stephanie Cherry has started every game this season and continues to run the Hornets'' offense. Against Big Sky competition, she leads the team in scoring with 12.2 points per game. The Suisun, Calif., native has also improved her distribution of the basketball.
During the Hornets'' 12 non-conference games, Cherry averaged 2.6 assists per game, but against Big Sky competition she has steadily improved, averaging 3.2 assists per game, including five against Northern Arizona last Saturday and a career-high seven against Idaho State. On the defensive end, Cherry is averaging 2.2 steals per game, ranking her fifth in the Big Sky.
AROUND THE HORN
With Big Sky play in full swing, Sacramento State has began to use its full compliment of players off the bench. Sophomore point guard Ali Mollet is averaging 13.0 minutes per game against Big Sky competition and has been valuable on the floor, dishing out 13 assists.
Senior forward Lindsey Heard has also stepped up her scoring, averaging 8.6 points per game and 4.8 rebounds per game in the Hornets'' last five contests.
Senior Lindsay Calmettes, known for her tough-nosed defensive efforts, has been lights out from beyond the three-point line against Big Sky foes. The Gresham, Ore., native is averaging 5.2 points per game and is shooting 72.7 percent (8-of-11) from beyond the arc.
Freshmen Atty Boyer and Becca Reams have seen added time in the low post. Boyer, an El Camino HS graduate, is averaging 2.9 points and 2.1 rebounds per game in her first collegiate season, while also shooting 73.7 percent (14-of-19) from the free-throw line.
In her last two games, Reams has played a combined 23 minutes, scoring five points and pulling down five rebounds. Her three boards at Northern Arizona last Saturday were a new career high for the Placer HS graduate.
UNDER THE GLASS
Senior Ashley Cadotte continues to be one of the Hornets hardest workers on the floor. The six-foot forward from Oregon City, Ore., leads the team with 6.6 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game. Her rebounding total ranks her seventh in the Big Sky, while she is currently second in the conference in steals.
FUN AT THE NEST
Thursday''s game against Eastern Washington will be Miller Lite White Out Night at the Nest. The first 200 Hornet fans will receive free T-shirts at the door.
Saturday''s game against Portland State is "Take a Kid to the Game Day." Fans can buy one ticket and receive their second for free. There will be special giveways and in-game promotions for kids in attendance.
Eastern Washington is on a two-game winning streak, coming off a 58-56 victory over Montana in Cheney, Wash., last Saturday. The Eagles, who are led by Joanna Chadd''s 10.4 points per game, have won five of their last seven, with two losses coming at Idaho State and Weber State.
Against Big Sky competition, Eastern Washington is led by Jamie Chicane''s 11.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. Julie Page is also averaging double figures against conference competition, scoring 10.2 points per game.
The Eagles are averaging 67.2 points per game and are outrebounding their opponents by 5.2 boards per game, while shooting 42.8 percent from the floor and dishing out 16.0 assists per game.
Portland State has won two of its last three games, including a 75-73 win over Montana State last Saturday. Freshman Kelsey Kahle leads the Big Sky, averaging 18.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. The Vikings have three players averaging double figures, with sophomore Brianna Thompson averaging 13.8 points per game and freshman Jenni Ritter scoring 10.4 points per game.
Portland State has also been active on the defensive end all season, averaging a Big Sky-leading 12.2 steals per game and forcing opponents into 24.0 turnovers per game. Ritter''s 2.83 steals per game are also tops in the Big Sky. The Vikings are proving productive on the offensive end as well, scoring 69.2 points per game, second in the conference.
HEAD COACH DAN MUSCATELL
Dan Muscatell became the sixth Sacramento State women''s basketball head coach in the program''s 40-year history in March of 2003, 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 (15-57) posted an 8-20 record last season, the team''s best mark since the 1995-96 season and advanced the team to the Big Sky postseason tournament for just the second time since the Hornets joined the Big Sky in 1996. The team also led the Big Sky with 10.5 steals 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).