HORNETS HEAD TO THE NORTHWEST FOR KEY BIG SKY TILTS AGAINST EWU; PSU
Scouting Eastern Washington
Eastern Washington, who has played an unbalanced conference schedule playing just two games at home and six on the road, enters Thursday night’s contest on an 11 game losing skid, dating back to Dec. 15. The Eagles, who own one Division I victory this season, have been outscored by their opponents by 10.4 points per game.
Earlier this season, Sacramento State defeated the Eagles at the Hornets Nest by a final count of 73-70, as freshman Sami Field-Polisso scored a career-high 21 points. The Hornets played the game without their leading scorer, junior Atty Boyer, who was nursing a knee injury.
In that contest, the Eagles were led by Sydney Benson, who scored 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Nicole Scott added a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds off the bench.
The Hornets trail the all-time series with Eastern Washington during Sacramento State’s Division I era (1991-92 to present) 8-17, although the Hornets have won four of the last seven matchups.
Scouting Portland State
Portland State enters their matchup on Thursday against Northern Arizona having dropped both contests in a weekend trip to the state of Montana, falling in overtime to the Lady Griz on Thursday (77-73) and the Bobcats on Saturday (84-75).
Earlier this season, the Vikings escaped the Hornets Nest with a 81-69 victory, as junior Kelsey Kahle scored 22 points, while sophomore Claire Faucher, the nation’s leader in assists, posted a near triple-double, scoring 15 points, dishing out 12 assists and pulling down nine rebounds. Sacramento State was led by sophomore Erika Edwards, who posted a career-high 19 points and 12 rebounds in the loss.
The Hornets trail the all-time series with Portland State during Sacramento State’s Division I era (1991-92 to present) 7-17, with the Vikings winning six of the last eight in the series.
Previous Game: Sacramento State 64, Northern Colorado 62
Junior Atty Boyer’s layup with 12 seconds remaining propelled Sacramento State to a 64-62 victory over Northern Colorado on Thursday, January 31 at the Hornets Nest.
Sacramento State started out of the gates hot, scoring 12 of the games first 14 points to take a 12-2 lead with 15:00 remaining in the half. A Sacramento native, Boyer, scored six points during the run, while fellow Sacramentan Jasmine Cannady, a freshman guard, added four. Northern Colorado responded in short order, going on an 11-2 run to cut the deficit to just one point at 14-13 with 9:22 to go.
The tone of the game changed with 5:46 to go in the half, with the Hornets holding on to a 22-19 lead. Freshman Sami Field-Polisso (Mountain View, Calif.) missed a contested layup and caught an inadvertent elbow on her attempt to rebound her own miss. Field-Polisso fell to the ground, having acquired a gash over her eye, stopping play for several minutes.
Field-Polisso was ok, as she returned with 14 seconds remaining in the half after receiving medical attention that included several sterry strips to close up the gash and stop the bleeding, but Northern Colorado would go on a 12-6 run to take a three point lead in the 5:32 of action Field-Polisso missed. The Hornets would add a late free throw to cut, which cut Northern Colorado’s halftime advantage down to two at 31-29.
Boyer led the Hornets at the half with 12 points and 8 rebounds, while Northern Colorado was led by center Danielle Hagen, who also scored 12 points, but added nine first half boards.
Coming out of the locker room, the team’s jostled back and forth, with the Hornets retaking the lead with 16:09 remaining at 37-35, only to see the Bears stay within four points over the next 7:15 before taking the lead on a three-pointer by Chelsie Luhring with 8:54 left at 47-45.
The game would be tied three times over the next 3:11, before the Bears would go on an 11-6 run, holding a five point lead with 2:44 to play after a layup by Courtney Stoermer at 62-57.
Northern Colorado would not score again, as Field-Polisso knocked down a 23-footer to cut the margin to 2 with 2:35 remaining, before Boyer tied the score at 62-62 with a driving layup with 1:10 remaining.
After a missed field goal on the Bear side of the floor, and a missed front end of a one-and-one by the Hornets, Northern Colorado took possession with 38 seconds remaining, but threw the ball away on a post entry with 28 seconds left on the clock. Field-Polisso burned the ball up the floor before calling a timeout, where the Hornets set up what was to be the game-winning play. The Hornets got the ball to their floor general, Field-Polisso, who declined a screen from Boyer and dribbled to just inside the arc, where she found Boyer cutting toward the basket. Boyer’s layup with 12 seconds remaining gave the Hornets a 64-62 lead. Following a timeout, Northern Colorado attempted to drive the length of the floor, but Jamie Schroeder was stripped at the top of the key by freshman Emily Christensen (El Dorado Hills, Calif.), her only steal of the game, to seal the victory on the Hornet side of the ledger.
“We really got up and challenged them defensively, especially in the last five minutes of the game,” head coach Dan Muscatell said following the win. “I was really proud of our fight during the entire game, but we really turned the temperature up during those final five minutes.”
Boyer led the Hornet charge with 24 points and 12 rebounds, which marked her third career double-double. Boyer was 10-of-16 from the field, and 4-of-5 from the foul stripe in a team-high 37 minutes. Field-Polisso scored 11 points, and added 7 assists, while sophomore Charday Hunt (Oregon City, Ore.) added 10 points. After posting her first career double-double last Saturday, Christensen finished with eight points and seven rebounds, scoring all four of her field goals in the second half of play.
Hagen led the Bears with 25 points and 13 rebounds, marking her fourth double-double of the season. Luhring added 15 points and eight rebounds, while Stoermer scored 10 points, playing all 40 minutes. Schroeder scored eight points and seven rebounds, but had to sit down for a good portion of the second half after picking up her fourth foul with 9:15 remaining in the game.
The Hornets shot 47.2 percent from the field in the contest (25-of-53), which marked their second best shooting percentage as a team on the season. Northern Colorado shot 50 percent from the field (27-of-54), but connected on just 2-of-13 from behind the three-point arc (15.4 percent), and 6-of-11 from the foul line (54.5 percent).
Big Sky Standings Update
The two top teams in the Big Sky entering last week, Portland State and Montana, faced off in an overtime battle in Missoula on Thursday night, with the Lady Griz pulling out a 77-73 victory. Portland State tied the game at the end of regulation on a layup by Erin Yankus, but saw Montana shoot 8-of-9 from the foul line in the extra session to take home the four point victory. Montana (2-0), Montana State (2-0), Sacramento State (1-0) and Idaho State (1-0) were the week’s big winners, while Northern Colorado (1-1), Northern Arizona (0-1), Weber State (0-1) Eastern Washington (0-2), Portland State (0-2) all dropped at least one game. Sacramento State, if the Big Sky Tournament started today, would be in the postseason as the sixth seed, owning the tiebreaker currently against Northern Arizona.
Field-Polisso Making a “Point” in the Big Sky
Freshman point guard Sami Field-Polisso played shooting guard in high school, but is beginning to mature at the point during her first year of Division I basketball. Field-Polisso ranks second in the Big Sky in conference games in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.58), while leading all Big Sky freshman during conference play in assists (3.88 per game) and free throw shooting (87.0 percent).
Christensen “Posts” Her First Career Double-Double.
Freshman Emily Christensen came into the contest against Idaho State averaging 2.1 rebounds per game, with her career-high standing at four boards. Christensen, who has now added post play to her repertoire due to injuries up front, collected 11 boards against the Bengals, including four on the offensive end, to go along with 12 points. The double-double marked the first of her young career. She followed up the performance with a eight point, seven rebound effort in the win over Northern Colorado, collecting the game-clinching steal, which was her only takeaway in the game.
Newcomers Picking Up Scoring Load
So far this season, the Hornets six newcomers have combined to produce 51.1 percent of the teams scoring output. Leading the charge are sophomore Charday Hunt, who is averaging 8.8 points per game. Freshmen Sami Field-Polisso (8.4) Emily Christensen (5.6), and Jasmine Cannady (4.2) have each seen the floor in all 20 contests, while freshman Tika Koshiyama-Diaz (2.9) has played in 15 contests. Sophomore Darla Bishop (2.2) has seen the floor in 10 games this season.
Freshmen Duo Making Three’s at Record Percentage
Freshmen Tika Koshiyama-Diaz and Emily Christensen are both knocking down three-pointers at a single-season school record pace. If the season ended today, Koshiyama-Diaz (52.6 percent) and Christensen (43.6 percent) would rank first and second in program history for single season three-point field goal percentage.
Edwards Injury Update
Sophomore Erika Edwards will make her return to the lineup on Thursday night with a new look, sporting a protective mask to safeguard against further damage to her recently broken nose, which occured against Weber State. Edwards, the team’s leading rebounder, missed the two games following the injury, against Idaho State and Northern Colorado.
20 Games - Seven Lineups
Head coach Dan Muscatell has produced seven different starting lineups in the Hornets 20 contests this season. After beginning the season with different lineups in four straight games, the Hornets used the same lineup for the next nine matchups, before changing the lineup once again. The Hornets starting lineups used this season are listed below:
G G C F F Opponent W-L (Lineup)
Field-Polisso Cannady Reams Willard Hunt at UC Davis 0-1 (0-1)
Field-Polisso Davis Boyer Reams Hunt at Drake 0-2 (0-1)
Field-Polisso Hughes Boyer Edwards Hunt at Iowa State 0-3 (0-1)
Field-Polisso Cannady Boyer Edwards Hunt at UCI 0-4 (0-1)
Field-Polisso Cannady Boyer Edwards Hunt San Jose State 1-4 (1-1)
Field-Polisso Cannady Boyer Edwards Hunt Santa Clara 1-5 (1-2)
Field-Polisso Cannady Boyer Edwards Hunt at San Francisco 1-6 (1-3)
Field-Polisso Cannady Boyer Edwards Hunt Gonzaga 1-7 (1-4)
Field-Polisso Cannady Boyer Edwards Hunt Pacific 2-7 (2-4)
Field-Polisso Cannady Boyer Edwards Hunt at Boise State 2-8 (2-5)
Field-Polisso Cannady Boyer Edwards Hunt at Fresno State 2-9 (2-6)
Field-Polisso Cannady Boyer Edwards Hunt Portland 2-10 (2-7)
Field-Polisso Cannady Reams Edwards Hunt Portland State 2-11 (0-1)
Field-Polisso Cannady Reams Edwards Hunt Eastern Wash. 3-11 (1-1)
Field-Polisso Koshiyama-Diaz Reams Edwards Hunt Montana State 3-12 (0-1)
Field-Polisso Cannady Reams Edwards Hunt Montana 3-13 (1-2)
Field-Polisso Cannady Reams Edwards Hunt Northern Arizona 4-13 (2-2)
Field-Polisso Cannady Reams Edwards Hunt Weber State 4-14 (2-3)
Field-Polisso Cannady Boyer Reams Hunt Idaho State 4-15 (0-1)
Field-Polisso Cannady Boyer Reams Hunt Northern Colo. 5-15 (1-1)
Head Coach Dan Muscatell
Entering his fifth season with Sacramento State, head coach Dan Muscatell is looking to take a young squad to the Big Sky Conference postseason tournament for the second time in four seasons.
Last year, the Hornets saw six newcomers take the floor, and with six new players entering for the 2007-08 season, Sacramento State will be a youthful bunch when it takes the floor.
The 2005-06 season saw Muscatell lead the team to a 9-17 overall record. It was the best finish of any Hornet team in 10 seasons. During the year, the Hornets posted a five-game winning streak on their home floor and upended eventual Big Sky Tournament champion Northern Arizona, 61-59, in their final home game of the year.
It was less than three years ago during the 2004-05 season, when the program began to break long-standing streaks and advanced to the Big Sky Conference postseason tournament for the first time since 1997, establishing itself as one of the most competitive teams in the league.
Under Muscatell, Sacramento State finished 8-20 in 2005. The team’s conference record of 4-10 was also the best mark since 2000, as the Hornets overcame a previous inability to win on the road, picking up three victories away from home and establishing the team’s best road record since 1993-94. Two of those victories came against Big Sky opposition, another program first. And for just the second time since Sacramento State joined the Big Sky in 1996, the Hornets swept a conference foe, defeating Eastern Washington in both of their meetings.
In addition, the records are not only breaking on the court. During Muscatell’s last four years with the program, 17 of his players have received Big Sky all-academic honors.
Of the 15 players who have reached senior eligibility under Muscatell’s regime, 14 have graduated as of May, 2007.
He and his wife, Terri, celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary this year, and have three children: Keely (22), Jessica (19) and Drew (17).