WOMEN'S HOOPS HEADS BACK OUT ON THE ROAD AT MONTANA STATE AND WEBER STATE
NOT SO COZY
Sacramento State failed to take advantage of its three game home stand over the last two weeks, finishing with an 0-3 record. The lack of victories at the Nest extended the Hornets’ current losing streak to nine games, and in the Big Sky standings, the team remains in ninth place with a 1-9 record.
In each of their last two seasons, the Hornets have recorded four conference victories, and in order to reach that feat this year, they will have to win at least one game on the road.
Sacramento State’s first road test this week is at Montana State (10-13, 5-6) on Thursday. The game will be a quick rematch for the two programs, who squared off against one another at the Nest last Wednesday. The Bobcats got the best of Sacramento State with a 66-59 victory in the team's first meeting of the year, but the last time the Hornets visited Worthington Arena, Sacramento State walked away with a 66-57 victory, on Jan. 19, 2006. It was the Hornets' only road victory last season.
Currently Sacramento State is still searching for a win on the road, dropping its last 20 away from the Nest dating back to last year.
The Hornets also travel to Weber State (15-10, 10-2) on Saturday. Head coach Dan Muscatell has been unable to score a win over the Wildcats in his four years at Sacramento State. Last season the Hornets dropped both meetings between the two programs by a combined six points. Earlier at the Nest this year, Sacramento State lost a 69-49 decision to the Wildcats on Jan. 10. The teams have met 22 times in Division I history, with the Hornets’ only win, 66-44, coming on Jan. 6, 2000.
At the start of this season, Muscatell had seven newcomers on his roster, including five freshmen. One of his rookies, 6-foot-2 forward Kelly Vega was averaging just 1.5 points and 13.7 minutes per game approaching conference play – how quickly things change.
The Beaverton, Ore., native who prepped at Southridge High School, a program that was ranked as high as 21st in the nation during her time there, first showed Hornet fans a glimpse of her potential with a strong defensive performance during a 63-55 victory over Portland on Dec. 17. And last Thursday against Montana, Vega proved why she may be the gem of the 06-07 freshman class.
She doubled her career high, scoring 15 points against the Big Sky’ first place team. In a season-high 27 minutes on the floor, Vega also added four rebounds, one assist and one block to a 5-of-8 performance from the floor and a 5-of-6 performance from the free-throw line.
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 154 career steals currently rank fifth in program history. Seven more picks would mover her ranking to fourth.
Other numbers that are possible for the Suisun, Calif., native - her 785 career points are 55 shy of cracking the all-time top 10. She would need to average 9.2 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. After totaling 11 dishes last week, Cherry also has a chance to break into the top 10 for all-time assists. Her current career total of 178 is 24 short of the 10th spot.
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, she is leading the Hornets in points (257), assists (76) and three-pointers (47). She needs 14 treys to take over the all-time three-point title – her 162 currently trails Michelle St. Clair (175). If Sheehy can score 53 more points by the end of the year, she would also break into the top-ten of all-time points leaders. Another 11 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
In Becca Reams' 10th start of the year against Idaho State on Feb. 3, she reached double figures scoring 10 points. Oddly enough for Reams, her 10 points came during her worst shooting performance of the year. She shot 3-of-11 from the floor and 1-of-6 from behind the arc.
Averaging 6.7 points per game this year and leading the team with a .480 shooting percentage, Reams has improved her average to 7.9 ppg against Big Sky competition - second on the team. But with more opportunities, her conference shooting percentage has dropped to .424, trailing Kelly Vega (.567) and Ashley Storms (.470).
GOTTA SNAP IT
Sacramento has not won on the road in its last 20 tries dating back to last season. 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 162 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 35 steals this season...her career total of 154 steals ranks fifth in program history...she needs seven more steals to claim the fourth spot...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...against Montana on Feb. 8, freshman Kelly Vega set career highs with 15 points, four rebounds, and 27 minutes on the floor...Sacramento State has traveled 19,650 miles this year, with its longest trip to Hawaii in November.
After two straight seasons of missing out on the Big Sky Conference postseason tournament, Montana State (10-13, 5-6) enters Thursday's game in a two-way tie with Portland State for fifth place in the tournament.
With Montana, Weber State and Northern Arizona already clinching berths, Idaho State, Montana State and Portland State are also currently in position for the postseason.
Rebecca Mercer leads Montana State averaging 11.8 points and 3.2 assists per game. Alyssa Nelson (10.4) and Nubbia Garcia (10.1) are also averaging double figures.
Currently second in the conference standings and just a 1/2 game back of league-leading Montana (10-1), the Wildcats (10-2) have already punched their ticket for the postseason and now are in a battle to host the conference tournament.
Chelsey Warburton's 19.8 points per game rank second in the Big Sky against conference competition. Sara Tuomi is averaging 14.2 points per game and as a team, the Wildcats are averaging 68.0 points per game and shooting 44.0 percent from the floor.
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).