WOMEN'S BASKETBALL LOOKS TO PLAY SPOILER ROLE IN FINALE AGAINST NORTHERN COLORADO
Setting the Stage For the Big Sky Tournament
With a win over Northern Colorado last week, Montana clinched a share of the 2008 Big Sky regular-season title. The Lady Griz could claim the outright title and the right to host this year’s championship with a win over Eastern Washington or a Portland State loss to Montana State on Thursday. Portland State also hosts Montana on Saturday. The Vikings could still finish in a first-place tie if they beat the Lady Griz and the Bobcats and Montana loses both of its contests this week. In that case, Portland State would win the tiebreaker with a season sweep over the Lady Griz and would host the tournament. Idaho State and Montana State have earned bids to this year’s tournament as well. The Bobcats can finish no better than third place and no worse than fourth.
Sacramento State and Eastern Washington have been eliminated from the tournament but Northern Arizona, Northern Colorado and Weber State are still vying the No. 5 and 6 spots.Weber State plays at Idaho State on Saturday in a must-win game for the Wildcats, who will be eliminated from the postseason with a loss. Northern Arizona has one game at Northern Colorado on Thursday. The best that the Lumberjacks could finish is 7-9 and the worst is 6-10. With a victory over the Bears, Northern Arizona would clinch a spot due to the fact they have a season sweep of Weber State and would win that tiebreaker if Weber State went 7-9. Northern Colorado plays two games at home against NAU and Sacramento State. One win would send the Bears to their first Big Sky Championship.
Scouting Northern Colorado
As mentioned above, Northern Colorado needs a victory in one of its final two contests to clinch a Big Sky Tournament berth in their first year being eligible for postseason competition, despite not having leading scorer Whitley Cox for the entire conference season. The Bears have come into the game having dropped both game last weekend against the Montana schools at home, falling to Montana 66-55 before dropping a 81-76 decision to Montana State.
In the absence of Cox, junior college transfer Jamie Schroeder has stepped up her play, as she is averaging 13.1 points per game, and has scored over 15 points in each of their last six contests. Senior center Danielle Hagen is also wrapping up a strong senior campaign, as she is second on the team in scoring (12.6 pts) and first in rebounding (9.1).
When the two teams met in Sacramento at the end of January, the Hornets pulled out a 64-62 victory on a game-winning layup by junior Atty Boyer. Boyer scored 24 points and 12 rebounds to pace the Hornets, while Hagen led all scorers with 25 points and 13 rebounds. In the contest, the Bears shot 50 percent from the field, but hit just 2-of-13 three-pointers and 6-of-11 from the foul line.
The Hornets lead the all-time series 2-1, but are 0-1 in Greeley, as they dropped last years decision 70-45.
Last Game: Weber State 84, Sacramento State 58
The Sacramento State women’s basketball was mathematically eliminated from Big Sky Tournament action following an 84-58 loss to the Weber State Wildcats on Saturday afternoon at the Dee Events Center.
For the second straight meeting between the two clubs, Weber State came out of the gates on a tear from outside the three-point arc, starting the game on an 18-3 run over the games first 5:33. The Wildcats hit their first three-pointers in the contest, which provided a similar start to the game at the Hornets Nest on January 24 which saw the Wildcats hit four of their first five three-pointers to take a 14-1 lead to start the game. In today’s contest, the Hornets cut the deficit to nine at 20-11 following back-to-back three’s from sophomore Charday Hunt (Oregon City, Ore.), but it would be as close as Sacramento State would come, as the Hornets were outscored 30-19 the remainder of the half, as Weber State went into the half with a 50-30 lead.
Weber State hit 7-of-12 shots from behind the arc in the first half (58.3 percent), while shooting 92.9 percent from the foul line (13-of-14). The Hornets shot 55.6 percent from distance in the half (5-of-9), but could only muster four first half two-pointers to trail 20 at intermission.
In the second half, Weber State continued to pour it on, taking their largest lead at 70-40 with 10:51 remaining in the game before taking home the 84-58 victory.
The Hornets were led by Hunt, who was the lone Hornet to reach double-figures, scoring 11 points. Freshman Jasmine Cannady (Sacramento, Calif.) was one shy of tying her career-high with nine points, while junior Atty Boyer (Sacramento, Calif.) added eight points. Weber State was led by freshman Caitlin Anderson, who scored a career-high 26 points and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds. Ali Thorderson finished with 16 points for the Wildcats, who ended the game 9-of-16 from beyond the three-point arc (56.3 percent) and 23-of-28 from the foul line (82.1 percent).
Previous Game: Idaho State 95, Sacramento State 78
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.
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.
Number Change For Rest of the Season
Sophomore guard Ashley Garcia will wear No. 12 the rest of the season, and not her normal No. 4.
Single Season Records Watch
Freshman Sami Field-Polisso has entered the single-season top ten marks in three categories, and has a chance to improve her standing in the final game of the season. Currently, Field-Polisso is tied for sixth in single-season school history in made three-pointers (50), and needs just two three-pointers in the final game to take sole possession of fifth place. Field-Polisso’s 188 three-pointers attempted currently stands as the third best single-season mark, while ranking her 10th in school history in the category. Field Polisso’s 99 assists on the season are good for sixth on the single-season all-time list, and she needs just three assists to break the top five all-time.
Freshman Emily Christensen currently stands as the schools single-season leader in three-point field goal percentage (42.6 percent). However, due to a fairly small amount of attempts, Christensen must make a three if she attempts more than one shot from behind the arc, and shoot a percentage at or above 25 percent in the final game of the season to maintain the record. (example, an 0-2 performance would drop her shooting percentage to Another single-season record, albeit a dubious one, may also be broken in the seasons final game, as sophomore Erika Edwards needs three fouls to become the school’s all-time single-season leader. Edwards,who has fouled out of five contests this season, currently stands in a three-way tie for second place with 87 fouls committed.
Newcomers Picking Up Scoring Load
So far this season, the Hornets six newcomers have combined to produce 52.6 percent of the teams scoring output. Leading the charge is sophomore Charday Hunt, who is averaging 9.0 points per game. Freshmen Sami Field-Polisso (8.3) Emily Christensen (6.4), and Jasmine Cannady (4.8) have each seen the floor in all 27 contests, while freshman Tika Koshiyama-Diaz (3.4) has played in 22 contests. Sophomore Darla Bishop (2.0) has seen the floor in 13 games this season.
27 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)
Field-Polisso Cannady Boyer Edwards Hunt at Idaho State 6-20 (2-9)
Field-Polisso Cannady Boyer Edwards Hunt at Weber State 6-21 (2-10)
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).