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MONTANA STATE AND BIG SKY-LEADING MONTANA VISIT THE HORNETS NEST THIS WEEK
NOT SO COZY
Sacramento State’s return to the Nest after a five-game road swing did not help snap the Hornets’ current seven-game losing streak. Idaho State dished out an 83-59 loss to Sacramento State, the team’s 11th 20-plus point defeat this season.
Behind all-conference center Natalie Doma’s 30 points and 13 rebounds, and all-conference guard Andrea Lightfoot’s 26 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, the Bengals built a 27-point lead by halftime. In the second half, the Hornets' Atty Boyer scored 14 of her team-high 16 points to help bridge the gap.
NOW OR NEVER
From here on out it is a must-win situation for Sacramento State in the team’s quest to make the conference tournament. Currently ninth in the standings with the need to climb to the sixth spot, the Hornets need to get out of the loss column. Montana State (9-12, 4-5), Sacramento State's opponent this Wednesday, currently holds the sixth and final spot for the Big Sky Tournament. Twenty-four hours after playing the Bobcats for the first time this year, the Hornets will have the task of hosting conference-leading Montana (20-2, 8-1) at 7:05 p.m. on Thursaday.
TIME PAYS OFF
Take a look at the stats of senior guards Stephanie Cherry and Kim Sheehy, and the duo will leave Sacramento State this season with their names in the record books more than once. Cherry is the only four-year senior on the roster and her 150 career steals currently tie for sixth in program history. Only two more picks will vault her into the top five. Other numbers that are possible for the Suisun, Calif., native - her 771 career points are 68 shy of cracking the all-time top 10. She would need to average 8.5 points per game the rest of the way to reach that mark. While her counterpart has the opportunity to take over the three-pointer title, Cherry is also on the list. Her 94 career treys are fifth in program history.
UP THE LADDER
Kim Sheehy is arguably having the best of her three seasons as a Hornet. The Santa Fe, N.M. native began her collegiate career at San Jose State in 2002, but then transferred to Sacramento State, playing her first game as a Hornet on Nov. 19, 2004. Sheehy went on to be named co-Big Sky Newcomer of the Year after leading the team to an appearance in the 2004-05 postseason tournament. This season, Sheehy has battled with the Hornets in a rebuilding year as one of only three upperclassmen trying to guide a squad of four sophomores and five freshmen.
This year she is leading the Hornets in points (236), assists (73) and three-pointers (42). She needs 19 treys to take the all-time three-point title. Her 157 currently trails Michelle St. Clair. If she can score 74 more points by the end of the year, she would also break into the top-ten of all-time points leaders. Another 14 assists, and Sheehy will break into the top ten for single-season assist totals.
The 2006-07 season has established several firsts for senior forward Ashley Storms. The two-year small forward was a reserve player last season, but has earned a starting role in her final year. At Portland State on Jan. 25, Storms scored 13 points (just one point shy of matching her career high), shooting 5-of-8 from the floor and also pulling down a career-high 10 rebounds, earning the first double-double of her career. Also in that game, she established a second career high with seven steals.
BACK IN THE SWING
Sophomore forward Becca Reams entered the Jan. 28 game at Eastern Washington on a three-game double-digit scoring streak. The 2004 Placer High School graduate had that feat ended by the Eagles, scoring six points in her ninth start of the season.
At Northern Colorado on Jan. 31, Reams was again held to single digits, scoring six points off the bench. She earned her 10th start of the year against Idaho State last Saturday, and again reached double figures with 10. Oddly enough for Reams, her 10 points came during her worst shooting performance of the year. She shot 3-of-11 from the floor (1-of-6 from behind the arc), but the Foresthill, Calif., native still leads the team shooting 50.9 percent from the floor.
FOLLOW THAT LEFTY
Despite being undersized in the post and just a sophomore, forward Atty Boyer has one attribute many players don’t – a left hand. The Hornets’ lefty in the post, Boyer is second on the team averaging 7.4 points per game and a team-leading 5.1 rebounds per game. She is the only player on the roster that can consistently find her way to the free-throw line, making a team-best 66 trips to the charity stripe. But unfortunately, the left handed shot is only good for 59.1 percent at the line. Boyer led the team with 16 points against Idaho State (14 in the second half). Her 23 points against UCLA in November is till the top mark for any player this year, and she has led the team in scoring six times this season.
GOTTA SNAP IT
Sacramento has not won on the road in its last 17 tries. In fact, the Hornets last road win came in Bozeman, Mont., a little over a year ago. The Hornets recorded a 66-57 victory over Montana State on Jan. 19, 2006.
If the Hornets were to go winless on the road this season, it could be the first time the team has not won at least one road game since head coach Dan Muscatell took over the program less than four years ago. His first road win with the Hornets was also his first victory as a head coach, coming on Jan. 15, 2004 at Portland State (56-50). In his second season (2004-05) Sacramento State won three games away from the Nest, and last year the team produced one road victory.
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 157 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 31 steals this season...her career total of 150 steals ties for sixth in program history...she needs two 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 two new career highs with 10 rebounds and seven steals at Portland State...Sacramento State has traveled 19,650 miles this year, with its longest trip to Hawaii in November.
Montana State (9-12, 4-5) enters Wednesday's game with the sixth spot in the conference standings. The Bobcats, who missed out on the Big Sky postseason tournament for the last two seasons, are led by Rebecca Mercer's 11.6 points and 3.1 assists per game. Montana State is 4-6 on the road this year and last week registered a 72-57 victory at Eastern Washington before falling, 55-53, at Portland State.
Montana looks like it may be headed toward another Big Sky Conference championship. Currently 20-2 on the season and sitting atop the league standings with an 8-1 record, sophomore guard Mandy Morales is second in the league averaging 21.0 points per game and leads the Big Sky averaging 6.55 assists per game.
The Grizzlies are on a four-game winning streak and last weekend posted victories over Portland State and Eastern Washington.
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 (21-82) 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).