WOMEN'S BASKETBALL LOOKS TO KEEP BIG SKY TOURNAMENT HOPES ALIVE AT ISU, WSU
Scouting Idaho State
The Bengals, one of four teams to clinch a berth into the six-team field at the Big Sky Tournament, will look to rebound from a 76-54 loss to Montana, the top team in the conference, last Saturday in Missoula.
When the two teams met earlier this season on Jan. 26 at the Hornets Nest, Idaho State defeated the Hornets 90-73. Senior center Natalie Doma scored 34 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while senior guard Andrea Lightfoot scored 27 points, collecting eight rebounds and dished out five assists. The Hornets had three players reach double-figures, as Atty Boyer scored 15 points, while Charday Hunt and Emily Christensen each added 12 apiece.
Doma currently ranks third in the nation in both scoring (24.2 ppg) and rebounding (11.9 rpg). She needs just 14 points to become the Big Sky’s all-time leading scorer. She currently has scored 2,159 points in her career, and is 13 points behind former Montana star Shannon Cate (2,172).
The Bengals lead the all-time series by a mark of 23-0.
Scouting Weber State
Weber State is one of four teams who are mathmatically alive for one of the final two spots in the Big Sky Tournament. The Wildcats enter Thursday’s matchup with Northern Arizona tied with the Lumberjacks for the final spot at 5-8. The winner of that game will, at least temporarily control sixth place in the standings. If Weber State is victorious against NAU, the Hornets need to defeat the Wildcats in order to stay alive in the conference tournament picture.
When the two teams met earlier this season on Jan. 24 at the Hornets Nest, Weber State was able to overwhelm the Hornets with three-point shooting, on their way to a 77-46 victory. The Wildcats hit 9-of-18 from beyond the arc in the first half, finishing 14-of-34 from distance for the contest. Wildcat senior Sara Tuomi led all scorers with 25 points and 10 rebounds, while sophomore Ali Thorderson also recorded a double-double, scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in the win.
Tuomi leads the Wildcats in scoring (17.1 ppg) and rebounding (7.5 rpg), and is the only player on Weber State’s roster to average double-figures.
The Wildcats lead the all-time series during the Hornets Division I era (1991-92 to present) by a mark of 22-1, and have won the last 15 contests between the two squads. The lone Hornet win occurred January 6, 2000 at the Hornets Nest, a 66-44 triumph, as Kerri Dunn led the way with 18.
Last Game: Northern Arizona 77, Sacramento State 62
Northern Arizona’s Sade Cunningham (22), Laura Dinkins (16) and Ashley Ingle (13) combined for 51 of the team’s 77 points to lead the Lumberjacks to a 77-62 victory over Sacramento State in a Big Sky Conference women’s basketball game Saturday afternoon at the Hornets Nest.
The contest marked the final home game of the season for Sacramento State.
The biggest difference in the game came in the rebounding department, where Northern Arizona outrebounded Sacramento State, 45-31, and used 16 offensive rebounds to score 16 second-chance points.
“I felt that the pace of the game was dictated by NAU,” head coach Dan Muscatell said following the game. “They hurt us on the boards, and we were never able to gain the momentum you’d hope for in a game of this magnitude.”
The Hornets had just six second-chance points, and were limited to 36.2 percent (21-58) shooting from the field. In fact, Sacramento State’s starting five combined to shoot just 30.9 percent (13-42) from the field.
No team led by more than five points during a first half which featured seven ties and eight lead changes. Sacramento State took a four-point lead (32-28) with 1:47 left in the first, but Northern Arizona scored the last seven points of the half to take a 35-32 lead into the break. Sparking the run was Cunningham who scored five of those seven points.
NAU carried the momentum into the second half by scoring four of the first six points, giving the team an 11-2 run spanning parts of both the first and second halves. After a jumper from Dinkins gave NAU a 39-34 lead with 18:08 remaining, Sacramento State would trail the rest of the way.
The Hornets sliced the Lumberjacks’ lead to one point on two occasions in the second half (10:05, 9:49), but after the one-point deficit at the 9:49 mark, NAU went on a back-breaking 15-6 run over the next 4:47 to claim a 10-point lead (67-57) with 5:02 remaining. Sacramento State would get no closer than eight points the rest of the way.
Both Dinkins and (16 points, 11 rebounds) and Ingle (13 points, 10 rebounds) finished with double-doubles, and Cunningham shot 5-of-6 from the field, 2-of-2 from the three-point line and 10-of-10 from the free throw line for her game-high 22 points. No other Lumberjack scored more than nine points.
Freshman Emily Christensen scored a season-high 19 points for the Hornets. The El Dorado Hills, Calif., native shot 7-of-10 from the field, 3-of-3 from the three-point line and 2-of-2 from the charity stripe. Joining Christensen in double figures for the Hornets were junior Atty Boyer (13 points, team-best nine rebounds) and freshman Jasmine Cannady (10 points). Boyer had posted five straight double-doubles before finishing one rebound shy of a sixth straight today. She has scored in double figures in seven straight games and eight of the last nine.
Freshman point guard Sami Field-Polisso added six assists and two steals in 38 minutes of play.
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 leads the Big Sky in conference games in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.89), while leading all Big Sky freshman during conference play in assists (4.23 per game) and free throw shooting (88.6 percent). Sami has also made 47 three-pointers, which ties her for eighth in single-season school history with Kristin Niemann (1997-98). She currently ranks fourth in school history in single-season three-point attempts (177). Her 91 assists currently ranks as the eighth most in the school’s single-season history.
Junior Atty Boyer saw her consecutive double-double streak end at five games, after scoring 13 points but collecting only nine rebounds against Northern Arizona. 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), Portland State (17 and 13), Montana State (20 and 10), and Montana (16 and 13). Boyer now has compiled six double-doubles this season, and seven in her career.
Newcomers Picking Up Scoring Load
So far this season, the Hornets six newcomers have combined to produce 52.2 percent of the teams scoring output. Leading the charge are sophomore Charday Hunt and freshman Sami Field-Polisso, who are averaging 8.6 points per game. Freshmen Emily Christensen (6.4), and Jasmine Cannady (4.8) have each seen the floor in all 25 contests, while freshman Tika Koshiyama-Diaz (2.9) has played in 20 contests. Sophomore Darla Bishop (2.2) has seen the floor in 11 games this season.
Christensen Adds Scoring Punch In Big Sky Play
Freshman Emily Christensen has increased her production inside of the Big Sky Conference, as she is scoring 7.8 points per game inside of the conference. Christensen posted a career-high 19 points off the bench in the Hornets loss to Northern Arizona this past week. She was 7-of-10 from the field, 3-of-3 from beyond the three-point arc and 2-of-2 from the foul stripe in 26 minutes, while grabbing four rebounds.
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.
25 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 at Montana State 3-12 (0-1)
Field-Polisso Cannady Reams Edwards Hunt at Montana 3-13 (1-2)
Field-Polisso Cannady Reams Edwards Hunt at 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 at Eastern Wash. 6-15 (1-0)
Field-Polisso Cannady Boyer Christensen Hunt at Portland State 6-16 (1-1)
Field-Polisso Cannady Boyer Christensen Hunt Montana State 6-17 (1-2)
Field-Polisso Cannady Boyer Christensen Hunt Montana 6-18 (1-3)
Field-Polisso Cannady Boyer Edwards Hunt Northern Ariz. 6-19 (2-8)
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).