HORNET WOMEN'S BASKETBALL DROPS 75-63 DECISION TO FIRST PLACE MONTANA
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Sacramento State women’s basketball team fought hard, but fell to the Montana Lady Griz by the score of 75-63, on Thu., Feb. 14 at the Hornets Nest.
With the loss, the Hornets fall to 6-18, 4-8 in the Big Sky Conference, while the Lady Griz improve to 18-5, 8-2 in the Big Sky.
The Hornets quest for their first ever victory against Montana started from the games opening tip, where the Hornets stormed out of the gates, scoring 10 of the games first 12 points to take a 10-2 lead with 15:58 remaining in the half. During the opening spurt, freshman Sami Field-Polisso (Mountain View, Calif.) knocked down two of the Hornets first three shots, with all three attempts coming from behind the arc. Montana would have the answer, as they retook the lead on a 11-2 run over the next 5:01, taking a 13-12 advantage on a three-pointer by Sonya Rodgers with 10:57 remaining in the half.
Montana had control of the lead the remainder of the half, but led by no more than five, as in the final two minutes, sophomore Ashley Garcia (Antioch, Calif.) and freshman Emily Christensen (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) each connected on layups to pull the Hornets to within one at the intermission, 27-26. In the half, Montana was led by Mandy Morales, who scored seven points, grabbed four rebounds and had three assists, which were all team-highs. The Hornets were led by junior Atty Boyer (Sacramento, Calif.), who scored eight points and grabbed a game-high six boards in the half.
The Lady Griz started the second half on a 7-2 run, leading 34-28 with 18:52 remaining before the Hornets would fight back. Sacramento State scored the games next six points, an old fashioned three-point play by Boyer, and a three-pointer by sophomore Charday Hunt (Oregon City, Ore.), to tie the score at 34-34 with 17:55 remaining. But that would be as close as the Hornets would get to a second half lead, as Montana went on an 8-0 run over the 3:18, taking their largest lead of the game at 42-34.
Sacramento State had one last charge in them, a 7-0 run that included a layup and a three-pointer by Christensen and a pair of made free throws by Boyer, pulling to within one at 42-41 with 12:03 remaining. From there, the closest the Hornets could get was five, as Montana would score on 15 of their final 20 possessions, which included 14 second chance points during the final 12:03, to take home a 75-63 victory.
“This game had a little bit of everything,” head coach Dan Muscatell remarked after the game. “The game started with a defensive tone in the first half, then both teams warmed up from the field, but in the end they were the fresher team. During the final stretch, during the key possessions, Montana got the shots they wanted and played solid defensively to stop us.”
Boyer led the Hornet charge with her fifth straight double-double, scoring 16 points while grabbing a game-high 13 rebounds. Christensen added 11 points, while Hunt finished with 10, rounding out three Hornets in double-figures. Field Polisso, who scored nine points and accumulated four assists to just one turnover, played the full 40 minutes for the first time in her young career.
Montana was led by Morales, who finished with 20 points on 7-of-19 shooting, although she was 0-of-8 from beyond the three-point arc. She did, however, collect a team-high eight rebounds and a game-high six assists. Johanna Closson added 12 points for the Lady Griz, while Dvera Tolbert had a career-high 10 points and seven rebounds off of the Montana bench. For the contest, Montana shot 42.6 percent from the field (29-of-68), while the Hornets shot 32.8 percent from the field (19-of-58).
The Hornets will have an eight day break before their next game, which will be against Northern Arizona at home on Sat., Feb., 3 . Tipoff is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. for a contest that will be the final chance for Hornet fans to see the team at home during the regular season.