BACK AT THE NEST, HORNETS SET TO TANGLE WITH BOBCATS AND LADY GRIZ
Think Pink Hits the Nest
Both games this week will be part of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s “Think Pink” week. Hornet fans will be able to purchase pink ribbons in support of breast cancer awareness at both games this week. All of the sales proceeds of the ribbons will be donated to Mercy Hospital, with donations of all sizes also accepted at the door.
Scouting Montana State
Montana State comes into the midweek contest riding the high of a 91-87 victory over rival Montana last Friday night in Bozeman. Big Sky Player of the Week Rebecca Mercer, the team’s leading scorer who averages 18.5 ppg, exploded for a career-high 32 points. She was 10-of-22 from the field in the contest, 6-of-12 from beyond the three-point arc, and a perfect 6-of-6 from the foul line in the victory.
The win marked the second time in the span of a week that the Bobcats had knocked off the No. 1 team in the conference, as they defeated then first place Portland State 84-75 on Feb. 2
Earlier this season, Montana State defeated the Hornets 86-58 at home, as Krislyn Wallace led the way with 17 points for the Bobcats. Sophomore Charday Hunt led the Hornet charge with 14 points, including a 6-of-7 shooting performance from the field.
Montana State leads the series during Sacramento State’s Division I era (1991-92 - Present) 18-5, and have won the last four in the series.
Montana will look to rebound following the loss to Montana State in their first game of the week against the Hornets. Montana currently is tied for the conference lead with a 7-2 mark inside the Big Sky.
When the two teams met earlier this season on Jan. 12 in Missoula, Montana was victorious 82-52, as Mandy Morales scored a game-high 23 points for Montana. Sami Field-Polisso led the way for the Hornets with 15 points, while Tika Koshiyama-Diaz added seven off of the Hornet bench.
Morales leads the Lady Griz in scoring, averaging 16.7 points, while adding a team best 5.4 assists per game. Sonya Rodgers is Montana’s best long range threat, collecting 52 makes from behind the arc, while shooting at a 47.7 percent clip, which ranks fourth nationally.
The Hornets have never defeated the Lady Griz, holding a 0-23 record all-time, including a 0-10 mark inside the Hornets Nest.
Last Game: Portland State 68, Sacramento State 67 OT
The Sacramento State women’s basketball team dropped a heartbreaker to the Portland State Vikings by a score of 68-67 in overtime on Sat., Feb. 9 at the Peter W. Stott Center.
The start of the first half saw Portland State’s Kelli Valentine score seven of the Vikings first nine points, as Portland State took a 9-6 lead with 16:52 remaining in the half. Sacramento State then went on an 11-2 over the next 2:37 to give the Hornets a 17-11 lead, as sophomore Erika Edwards (Redmond, Wash.) added two three-pointers, and fellow sophomore Kelli Davis (Pullman, Wash.) added a three-pointer during the run. Portland State would answer back, taking a four point lead at 27-23 with 6:26 remaining, and extending it to six at the break, their largest lead of the half, at 39-33.
The second half saw the Hornets come out of the gates in a hurry, starting the half on a 13-0 run to turn a six point halftime deficit into a seven point lead, their largest of the game, at 46-39, with 14:38 remaining in the half. Portland State again fought tooth and nail to tie the game back at 53-53 before extended their lead to three with 32 seconds remaining on a pair of free throws by Claire Faucher.
Sophomore Charday Hunt (Oregon City, Ore.) then was fouled while shooting a three-pointer with 16 seconds remaining, and made all three free throws to send the game into overtime.
In the extra session, the Hornets scored first, as freshman Sami Field-Polisso (Walnut Creek, Calif.) knocked down a deep three-pointer from the right wing to give the Hornets a 64-61 lead. Portland State then retook the lead on a three-pointer by Lexi Bishop at 67-65, but the Hornets tied it up on a layup by freshman Emily Christensen (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) with 1:26 remaining.
On the Vikings next possession, Bishop made 1-of-2 from the foul line, giving the Vikings a 68-67 lead. Bishop was later fouled with 4.2 seconds remaining, but missed both foul shots to leave it at a one possession game. The Hornets called a timeout with 2.0 seconds left on the clock, setting up a play that got Christensen an open look from thirty feet. The bank attempt was just slightly off to the right, and Portland State took home the victory at 68-67.
Junior Atty Boyer (Sacramento, Calif.) led the way for the Hornets with 17 points and 13 rebounds, recording her third straight double-double and fifth of her career, while also tallying a career-high four blocks. Field-Polisso scored 14 points, while adding six assists, connecting on four makes from beyond the three-point arc.
Faucher scored 18 points, grabbed nine rebounds, and recorded six assists in the win for the Vikings, who are now alone in third place in the conference.
Previous Game: Sacramento State 81, Eastern Washington 72
Junior Atty Boyer posted her second straight double-double, with 20 points and 12 rebounds, as Sacramento State defeated Eastern Washington, 81-72, on Thursday, February 7 at Reese Court.
The first half of play saw the Hornets start strong, scoring 18 of the games first 27 points, taking a 18-9 lead with 10:51 remaining. Eastern Washington battled back, cutting into the lead to three points at the 3:02 mark, two points at the 2:05 mark, and finally tying the game at 36-36 with 57 seconds remaining in the half. The Hornets went into the break with the lead, as freshman Tika Koshiyama-Diaz (San Jose, Calif.) banked in a jump shot with 40 seconds remaining.
Junior Atty Boyer (Sacramento, Calif.) led the Hornets in the first half with eight points, while freshman Emily Christensen (El Dorado Hills, Calif.), who was making her first career start, tallied seven points in the stanza. Tatjana Sparavalo led the Eagles with nine points off the bench, while Julie Piper added eight points in the first half. The Eagles outshot the Hornets (48.1 percent to 40.0 percent) in the half, but Sacramento State took advantage of a 9-of-10 performance from the foul line in the half.
The second half again saw the Eagles hang close to the Hornets, as Sacramento State had no larger than a five point lead in the half, before Eastern Washington took the lead on a three-point play by Sparavalo with 10:55 remaining at 56-55. The Hornets would have the momentum from that point forward, as on the ensuing posession, freshman Sami Field-Polisso (Mountain View, Calif.), a lefty, banked in a three-pointer from 25 feet out with her right hand with one on the shot clock, to give Sacramento State a lead it would never relinquish.
Eastern Washington pulled back to within two with 2:56 to go, 69-67, but could not get any closer, as the Hornets were 10-of-10 from the foul line from that point forward. The two teams, who combined for 21 fouls in the first half, tallied an additional 29 in the second half. In turn, the squads combined to attempt 41 second half free throws. The Hornets took advantage, shooting 30-of-33 from the line (90.9 percent) for the game, while the Eagles were 22-of-28 (78.6 percent).
Boyer led all scorers with 20 points and 12 rebounds, as she was 8-of-15 from the field, and 4-of-4 from the foul line, while adding three assists in 37 minutes. Sophomore Erika Edwards (Redmond, Wash.), in her first game back after suffering a broken nose against Weber State, added 14 points off the bench. Sophomore Charday Hunt (Oregon City, Ore.), Field-Polisso and Christensen each added nine points, with Field Polisso playing 38 minutes at the point guard position without committing a turnover.
Eastern Washington had four players reach double-figures, with Sparavalo leading the way with 16 points off the bench. Sydney Benson added 15 points, while Amy Bratvold (13) and Piper (12) rounded out the double-digit scorers.
Sacramento State turned the ball over just eight times, while forcing 16 Eastern Washington turnovers, which included 11 Hornet steals. Christensen led the way with three thefts, while Edwards and Field-Polisso added two apiece.
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 (2.60), while leading all Big Sky freshman during conference play in assists (3.90 per game) and free throw shooting (90.3 percent). Sami is also one three-point field goal away from tying for the tenth highest single season total in program history. She has totalled 42 makes from beyond the arc so far this season.
Junior Atty Boyer has produced double-doubles in each of the Hornets last three games, leading Sacramento State to a 2-1 record during the span. Boyer scored 24 points, including the winning basket, and added 12 rebounds in the 64-62 victory over Northern Colorado, and followed that up with double-doubles against Eastern Washington (20 and 12) and Portland State (17 and 13). Boyer now has compiled four double-doubles this season, and five in her career.
Newcomers Picking Up Scoring Load
So far this season, the Hornets six newcomers have combined to produce 51.3 percent of the teams scoring output. Leading the charge are sophomore Charday Hunt, who is averaging 8.9 points per game. Freshmen Sami Field-Polisso (8.6) Emily Christensen (5.7), and Jasmine Cannady (4.3) have each seen the floor in all 22 contests, while freshman Tika Koshiyama-Diaz (3.1) has played in 17 contests. Sophomore Darla Bishop (2.2) has seen the floor in 11 games this season.
Koshiyama-Diaz and Cannady Working Hard at the Defensive End
Freshman Tika Koshiyama-Diaz played a career-high 29 minutes in the overtime loss to Portland State, and, along with freshman Jasmine Cannady, faced the daunting task of guarding the nation’s leader in assists, Viking guard Claire Faucher. Faucher’s final numbers totalled 18 points, nine rebounds and six assists, but the box score shows the work the Hornet’s pair of freshman guards did. Limiting her penetrating lanes, Faucher was forced to shoot the ball 21 times, making just six attempts, while going 1-of-7 from the beyond the arc. Those six assists also were three under her average, even though she played over three minutes longer than her average stint on the floor this season.
22 Games - Eight Lineups
Head coach Dan Muscatell has produced eight 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)
Field-Polisso Cannady Boyer Christensen Hunt Eastern Wash. 6-15 (1-0)
Field-Polisso Cannady Boyer Christensen Hunt Portland State 6-16 (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).