WOMEN'S HOOPS CONTINUES ROAD SWING TO PORTLAND STATE AND EASTERN WASHINGTON
BIG SKY TRIP
This week’s Big Sky road trip to Portland State and Eastern Washington will be the Hornets’ first conference two-game road series this year. The team heads north for a weekend that will prove critical in the conference standings when March rolls around.
Like the Hornets, the Vikings (2-4) and Eagles (1-5) each have records under .500 in the standings and are hoping to change their early misfortunes. For the Hornets, that would mean having to kick their road jinx and break a 14 road-game losing streak that dates back to last season.
With six players on the roster from Oregon and Washington, the trip north is a homecoming for many players and one of the journeys most look forward to during the year.
There is only one remaining undefeated team in the Big Sky Conference currently, 6-0 Weber State. The Wildcats maintained their top-ranked status posting a 64-49 victory over Montana last Saturday.
The Grizzlies (4-1) dropped to third in the standings, and Northern Arizona (5-1) improved to second after a 72-71 overtime victory over Portland State. Idaho State (2-2) is currently fourth in the standings, followed by Montana State (2-3), Portland State (2-4), Sacramento State (1-3), Eastern Washington (1-5), and Northern Colorado (1-5).
SHOW US WHAT YA GOT
Senior forward Ashley Storms played in 20 games coming off the bench during her junior season, and at the start of her senior year, head coach Dan Muscatell expected more contribution from the Vancouver, Wash., native. Despite not starting a single contest last year, Storms had made 15 starts this season and is one of the squad's most productive players.
She is shooting nearly 40 percent from the floor, while averaging 5.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game. Her nine blocked shots also lead the team. Storms is often assigned the opponents' top scorer, limiting that player's opportunities during the game.
During the Hornets' loss at Kansas, Storms had a typical all-round game with seven points, a team-high six rebounds, and a career-high five assists in 40 minutes on the floor.
BETTER THAN AVERAGE
Sophomore forward Becca Reams showed glimpses of her ability around the basket a month ago, when the 2004 Placer High School graduate scored a career-high 20 points at Pacific on Dec. 15. While not reaching double figures in the Hornets’ next seven games, Reams has once again found her touch.
The Forest Hill, Calif., native has always been an accurate shooter from the floor, currently leading the team with a .532 percentage, but opportunities were often lacking. In the team’s last two games, Reams has combined to shoot 10-of-16 from the floor, averaging 12.5 points per game.
In the midst of a five-game road swing, the team’s second-longest stint away from home this year, its time to do a recap of where the Hornets have traveled.
The season started with a six-game road trip that included a trip to the Northwest (Gonzaga, Washington State and Idaho) followed by celebrating Thanksgiving on the island of Oahu in the Hawaiian Airlines Rainbow Classic (No. 2 North Carolina, No. 19 UCLA, Denver).
The team returned to Sacramento and stayed local with trips to UC Davis and Pacific, before making their furthest trip east this year – to 14th-ranked Louisville. Big Sky Conference play started and the Hornets battled frigid temperatures at Northern Arizona before making their last non-league trip of the season, heading toward the Midwest to play Kansas.
Adding up the mileage, Sacramento State has logged 16,611 miles in the air and on the ground – a large task for a team of three seniors, one junior, four sophomores and five freshmen.
Portland State (6-13, 2-4) enters Thursday's game after a heartbreaking, 72-71, loss in overtime at Northern Arizona. In that game, Stephisha Walton scored a team-leading 19 points, while Kelsey Kahle added 17.
Prior to their loss to the Lumberjacks, the Vikings had reeled off two consecutive Big Sky Conference victories, defeating Eastern Washington, 84-82, at home and handling Northern Colorado, 81-63, on the road.
Kahle leads the team averaging 17.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. The Vikings shoot 39.3 percent from the floor and also force opponents into 22.9 turnovers per game.
Eastern Washington (6-13, 1-5) is currently on a five-game skid. After defeating Montana State, 69-66, in their Big Sky opener, the Eagles have dropped five-straight, four of those games on the road.
Last week, Eastern Washington fell, 76-51, at Northern Arizona and then dropped its second game, 78-54, at Northern Colorado.
Joanna Chad leads the Eagles, averaging 13.2 points per game. Chadd is the only player currently scoring in double figures for the Eagles.
Phynique Allen is averaging 9.5 points and a team-leading 3.1 assists per game. Sydney Benson's 8.3 rebounds rank second in the Big Sky, and her 1.5 blocks per game also lead the Eagles.
A LOOK AT THE NUMBERS
Senior guard Kim Sheehy's fifth three-pointer at Louisville elevated her to second all-time in the Hornets' record book...she now has 151 career treys, trailing Michelle St. Clair (175)...Sheehy is one of five players in the Big Sky this year to record at least 10 assists in a single game, a mark accomplished against Saint Mary's on Dec. 28...senior point guard Stephanie Cherry has 23 steals this season...her career total of 142 steals ties for 10th in program history...she needs 10 more steals to break into the top five...Atty Boyer's 23-point performance against 19th-ranked UCLA was the most any Hornet has scored since Ashley Cadotte recorded 23 against Montana State on Feb. 18, 2006...Sacramento State did not shoot a single free throw in its game against the UC Davis, it was the first time in the Hornets' Division I history that they were not called to the foul line...sophomore Becca Reams broke two career highs at Pacific, scoring 20 points and adding seven rebounds...her 7-of-10 shooting performance was the best of any Hornet this year...sophomore Jourdan Willard's three blocks against Northern Colorado were the most of any player this year as well...Ashley Storms set a new career high with a 14-point performance at Northern Arizona on Jan. 13...in the following game at Kansas on Jan. 17, Storms set another career high, dishing out five assists...Sacramento State has traveled 16,611 miles this year, with its longest trip to Hawaii in November.
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 (21-78) posted an 9-17 record last season, the team's best mark since the 1995-96 season. During the 2004-05 season, Muscatell led the team to the Big Sky postseason tournament for just the second time since the Hornets joined the Big Sky in 1996. 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 Andrea Bills, Edneisha Curry, Brandi Davis, Cathrine Kraayeveld, 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).