SIX IN A ROW: WOMEN'S BASKETBALL DOWNS FIRST PLACE EASTERN WASHINGTON 78-69
CHENEY, Wash. - The Sacramento State women's basketball team won its sixth game in a row, the most in the school's Division I history, defeating the Eastern Washington Eagles by the score of 78-69 on Saturday, Feb. 6 at Reese Court.
With the victory, the Hornets improve to 10-12 on the season, 6-4 in Big Sky Conference play. The 10 wins mark the most by the Hornets since the 1995-96 season, and the win streak is the longest since the 1990-91 team won 10 in a row during the Division II era. Eastern Washington remains in first place in the conference standings, but falls to 14-8, 7-2 in Big Sky play.
Eastern Washington led 9-4 with 18:11 remaining in the half, but Sacramento State fought back, going on a 14-0 run to take an 18-9 lead with 12:14 remaining. The Hornets also held the Eagles without a field goal from the 18:11 mark until the 9:03 mark of the first half. After Eastern Washington cut the lead to five points at 26-21 with 6:03 remaining, the Hornets went on a 11-0 run, taking their largest lead of the game at 37-21 with 2:45 remaining. But the Eagles would take the all of the momentum into the locker room, finishing the half on an 10-0 run of their own to cut the Hornet lead to 37-31 at intermission.
Senior Charday Hunt (Portland, Ore.) led all scorers at intermission with 14 points, as she knocked down 7-of-7 from the foul line. Freshman Mallorie Franco (Fortuna, Calif.) and senior Ashley Garcia (Antioch, Calif.) added six points apiece during the opening 20 minutes.
The second half started with a 9-2 Hornet run, with all nine points coming on three-pointers. Garcia started the half with a three just seven seconds in, which was followed by back-to-back three-pointers from senior Erika Edwards (Redmond, Wash). Following a layup by the Eagles Julie Piper which cut the Hornet lead to 11 at 46-35, Edwards hit another three-pointer to extend the lead back to 14 points.
Sacramento State would continue to build the lead, extending it to 19 points at 70-51 with 6:34 remaining in regulation. But Eastern Washington was not done, outscoring the Hornets 14-2 over the next 4:50 to pull to within seven points at 72-65 with 1:44 remaining. But the Eagles would draw no closer, with the contest ending with the Hornets taking home a 78-69 victory.
"My kids played with a lot of guts and this is just a testament to what we are starting to do with this program," head coach Jamie Craighead said following the win. "They are really starting to believe in themselves. Six in a row, I don't even know what to say."
Hunt led all scorers with 21 points, although she did the majority of her damage at the line, going 12-of-15 from the charity stripe. Garcia scored 13 points, while Edwards finished with 12 points and four three-pointers. Junior Emily Christensen (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) posted her fourth double-double of the season, scoring 11 points and grabbing a game-high 13 rebounds. Franco finished with a career-high nine points and five rebounds off the bench.
Eastern Washington had five players reach double figures, led by Nicole Scott, who just missed a double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds. Kyla Evans added 13 points, while Brianne Ryan and Tatjana Sparavalo scored 12 points apiece. Piper, the teams leading scorer, scored 10 points and grabbed six rebounds.
The Eagles outshot the Hornets 40.6 percent (28-of-69) to 38.3 percent (23-of-60), but the difference was at the foul line, where the Hornets made 25-of-34 (73.5 percent), while Eastern Washington was just 8-of-12 (66.7 percent). Sacramento State outrebounded the Eagles 48-36.
Sacramento State takes a week off from Big Sky Conference play, hosting Pacific in a non-conference matchup on Saturday, Feb. 13. Tipoff is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. from the Hornets Nest.