WOMEN'S BASKETBALL FALLS ON THE ROAD TO IDAHO STATE
POCATELLO, Idaho - Idaho State senior Natalie Doma scored 34 points and became the Big Sky's all-time scoring leader as the Bengals defeated the Hornets 95-78 on Thursday, February 28 at Reed Gym.
With the loss, the Hornets fall to 6-20, 4-10 in Big Sky Conference play, while the Bengals improved to 18-8, 10-4 in the Big Sky.
The first half saw Idaho State start the game hot from beyond the arc, as Jenna Brown knocked down two early three-pointers to lead the Bengals to a 14-3 start. The Hornets answered quickly, going on a 24-7 run to take a six point lead on a three-pointer by sophomore Charday Hunt (Oregon City, Ore.) with 7:02 remaining in the half. In a game of runs, the Bengals provided another one, going on a 12-4 run to retake a two point lead at 33-31. The Hornets regained the lead quickly, as junior Atty Boyer (Sacramento, Calif.) scored a layup, and freshman Tika Koshiyama-Diaz (San Jose, Calif.) drove the paint for a left-handed layup and the foul. Her converted free-throw gave the Hornets a 36-33 advantage with 3:17 remaining in the half. Idaho State then closed out the half with a 7-2 run, the lone Hornet bucket being a Koshiyama-Diaz 18-footer, to go into the half with a 40-38 advantage.
The Hornets were led in the half by Boyer and Hunt, who scored 10 points apiece, while Koshiyama-Diaz added seven points. Idaho State took advantage of eight Hornet turnovers in the half, turning them into 14 points. After starting the game just 1-of-6 from the field, the Hornets hit 15 of their next 23 attempts from the field to end the half (65.2 percent).
The second half started with Big Sky History, as Idaho State's Natalie Doma broke the Big Sky career scoring record on a three-point play early in the half that gave Bengals a 45-41 lead. Hunt then connected on two straight baskets, an 18-footer and a driving layup, to tie the score at 45-45. After a 5-0 run by the Bengals that gave them a five point lead, Koshiyama-Diaz tied her career-high with 10 points after nailing a three-pointer, which was followed by a layup by freshman Emily Christensen (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) which tied the score at 50-50. The Hornets then got six straight points from sophomore Erika Edwards (Redmond, Wash.) on a three-pointer and an old fashioned three-point play to give the Hornets a 56-55 advantage.
Idaho State then went on a 15-4 run, fueled by eight points by Doma over the span, to take a 70-60 advantage. The closest the Hornets would pull to the rest of the way was 77-70 on a three-pointer by Edwards, as the Bengals went on a 13-0 run from there to take their largest advantage of the game at 90-70, before going on to the 95-78 victory.
The Hornets had four players reach double-figures, led by Hunt's 19 points. Boyer and Edwards added 14 apiece, while Koshiyama-Diaz added a career-high 12. Christensen and junior Becca Reams (Foresthill, Calif.) added eight points apiece off the bench. Sacramento State hit 30-of-62 from the field (48.4 percent) and 9-of-11 from the free thrown line (81.8 percent).
Doma led the Bengals with 34 points, the same total she scored in Sacramento on Jan. 26 in a game that also saw the Bengals win by 17, and added 13 rebounds. Her 2,193 career points are now the top mark in Big Sky Conference history, as she passed former Montana star Shannon Cate (2,172). Four other Bengals reached double-figures; Jenna Brown (15), Andrea Lightfoot (13), Michelle Grohs (13) and Devin Diehl (12). The Bengals, the nation's leading free-throw shooting team, hit 26-of-27 free throws (96.3 percent) in the win, while shooting 49.2 percent from the field (30-of-61) and turning the ball over just five times.
Sacramento State returns to action on Saturday morning at Weber State. Tipoff is set for 11 a.m. Pacific time from the Dee Events Center in Ogden, Utah.