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Weekly Release - Feb. 21, 2007
FINAL HOME GAMES OF SEASON FOR WOMEN'S HOOPS THIS WEEKEND
IT'S ALL ABOUT THEM
This week Sacramento State will play its final home games of the season at the Hornets Nest, hosting sixth-place Portland State (9-16, 5-7) at 7:05 p.m. on Thursday and seventh-place Eastern Washington (8-17, 3-9) at 2:05 p.m. on Saturday.
It marks the end of an era with seniors Stephanie Cherry, Kim Sheehy and Ashley Storms saying one final goodbye to the Nest. Prior to Saturday’s tip-off, the trio will be honored for their contributions to the program with family, friends and fan.
HARD TO SAY GOODBYE
Stephanie Cherry is the only player during Dan Muscatell’s four-year tenure as head coach that has played all four of her collegiate seasons at Sacramento State. They shared their rookie debuts at Cal Poly on Nov. 21, 2003, and have guided the program through its highs and lows.
It is no coincidence that along with Cherry’s ascension to one of the program’s top players, the Hornets continued to break barriers beginning her sophomore season. The team won eight games in 2004-05, and for the first time since 1997, advanced to the Big Sky Conference postseason tournament. She was used mainly off the bench, but with an injury to the team’s starting point guard only weeks before the tournament, Cherry to over ball-handling duties. That season she scored 25 points in 83-76 victory over Ohio, still her career high, and added 23 points (17 in the second half) during the team’s tournament loss to Northern Arizona in the first round.
As a junior she took over point guard duties full-time, and although the team fell short of the playoffs, Cherry received all-conference honors for the first time, setting new career highs in points (257), rebounds (108), assists (68), steals (55) and free throws (40).
This year she continues her quest to better the program and leave her name in the record books. Last week alone she added 40 points to her career totals.
With four games remaining in her collegiate career, she already set a new career high with 70 assists on the year, but will need 16 more by the end of the season to break into the all-time top 10. Her 825 career points are just 15 shy of breaking into the all-time top 10.
Kim Sheehy has been with the program for four years as well, but only three on the floor. The 5-foot-9 guard redshirted during the 2003-04 season, and made her debut on Nov. 21, 2004 against her former team, San Jose State. Sheehy made an immediate impact during the season, and was named co-Big Sky Newcomer of the Year after leading the Hornets to their first postseason appearance since 1997. It was the first and only time a Hornet player has ever received that honor in the history of the women’s basketball program.
As a junior the team again upped the ante with nine wins. She earned all-conference accolades for the second consecutive season, averaging 10.8 points per game. A reputation as one of the league’s deadliest outside shooters, she maintained her rep knocking down a career-high 60 three-pointers.
This season, she has not only continued her dominance from beyond the arc, but leads the team with 79 assists, almost doubling her previous career high. She leads the team averaging 10.9 points per game, and earned her first career double-double with 16 points and 10 assists against Saint Mary’s on Dec. 28.
Like Cherry, Sheehy also is a record breaker. She is just 11 three-pointers short of holding the all-time record. Her 813 career points are just 27 short of breaking into the top 10.
THE THIRD MUSKETEER
Ashley Storms joined the program in the middle of its renovation. She redshirted during the 2004-05 season, and earned herself a scholarship for her final two years. A reserve player much of last season, Storms has entered the starting lineup for her senior year with a new found confidence.
She is averaging 7.0 points and 3.9 rebounds per game against conference competition, while shooting 43.6 percent from the floor. Her career-high seven steals at Portland State on Jan. 25 was a mark matched by only two other players in the conference this season. In that game, Storms also recorded the first double-double of her career, scoring 13 points and a career-best 10 rebounds. Earlier this season she also scored 14 points at Northern Arizona, another career high for the Vancouver, Wash., native.
Although she may not have played in the Nest long enough to establish career records, the 6-foot-1 small forward has given some strong defensive performances throughout the season. At then 14th-ranked Louisville on New Year’s Eve, Storms held the Cardinals’ leading scorer Angel McCoughtry to eight points and eight rebounds, after the six-foot-1 sophomore had recorded eight consecutive games with a double-double.
CAN'T AVOID IT
Currently on an 11-game losing streak, the longest for the program since the 2003-04 season, this week will be the Hornets last opportunity to end it at the Nest. If it can’t be broken against Portland State and Eastern Washington, then the team will have to end the season on a winning note on the road at Montana (March 1) or at Idaho State (March 3).
The good news for the Hornets, the last two seasons, Sacramento State has won its final home game of the season. Last year, the Hornets posted a 61-59 upset of Northern Arizona on a last-second Kim Sheehy layup, while the year before, the team clinched a conference tournament berth with a 57-41 victory over Eastern Washington.
This season has been virtually injury free aside from a few casualties. Junior guard Ali Mollet was lost after eight games when a reoccuring knee injury sidelined the San Jose, Calif., native. Freshman forward Lexi Lallas missed eight games with an ankle sprain, but returned to score a combined six points in games at Montana State and Weber State. Unfortunately, sophomore forward Atty Boyer is yet to return to the floor. A foot injury has the 2005 El Camino HS graduate on a day-to-day recovery schedule.
Holding onto sixth place in the Big Sky standings, if the postseason started today, Portland State (9-16, 5-7) would be in the tournament.
Kelsey Kahle leads the team with 17.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.8 steals and 1.2 blocks per game. The Vikings are on a two-game losing streak after dropping games on the road to Weber State and Eastern Washington.
The Eagles (8-17, 3-9) are currently on the outside looking in of the Big Sky Tournament, in seventh place. Eastern Washington's victories in conference have come agianst Montana State, Portland State and Sacramento State.
Joanna Chadd leads the team averaging 12.2 points per game, while Sydney Benson averages 8.5 rebounds per game and Phynique Allen averages 3.1 assists.
A LOOK AT THE NUMBERS
Sheehy is one of six 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...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 21,835 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 (21-82) 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).