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WOMENâ€™S BASKETBALL IS BIG SKY TOURNAMENT BOUND FOLLOWING 74-60 VICTORY OVER NORTHERN COLORADO
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Behind a blistering 85.0 percent shooting performance in the second half, the Sacramento State women’s basketball team defeated Northern Colorado 74-60, earning the Hornets a berth into the Big Sky Tournament for just the third time in school history.
With the win, the Hornets improve to 9-20, 7-9 inside of the Big Sky, while Northern Colorado finished its season 12-18, 5-11 in Big Sky play. The Hornets, who will be the No. 5 seed at the Big Sky Tournament, will travel to Missoula, Mont., to face No. 4 seed Idaho State in the quarterfinal round on Thursday, March 12, at 6:30 p.m. Pacific time. The winner of that game will take on either Portland State or host Montana in the semifinals.
Offense was at a premium in a first half that the two teams combine for just 46 points, with Sacramento State holding a slim 24-22 halftime advantage.
Northern Colorado scored six of the first eight points of the second half to take a 28-26 advantage, but from there the Hornets took over. Sacramento State scored on seven straight possessions, which accounted for an 18-6 run over a span of 4:27, giving the Hornets a 10 point lead at 44-34.
After the Bears closed the lead to six points at 50-44 with 8:55 to play, the Hornets went on a 21-7 run over the next 5:22 to give Sacramento State its largest lead of the game at 71-51 with 3:33 to play, putting the game away.
In what was a truely remarkable second half, during a stretch of 12:51 from the 18:16 mark of the second half to the 5:25 mark, the Hornets were an incredible 13-of-13 from the field, including 6-of-6 from beyond the three-point arc.
“In the second half, our shooting was indescribable,” head coach Dan Muscatell said following the win. “It was a tremendous team effort today, and I was really happy with the things we did defensively, especially in the first half.”
Junior Erika Edwards (Redmond, Wash.) led the way for the Hornets with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while junior Charday Hunt (Portland, Ore.) added 16 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore Emily Christensen (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) contributed 13 points and five rebounds off the bench, while Tika Koshiyama-Diaz (San Jose, Calif.) scored eight points while adding a career-high six assists.
Sacramento State went 9-of-17 from beyond the three-point arc, which including a pair of threes apiece for Edwards, Hunt, Koshiyama-Diaz, and sophomore Sami Field-Polisso (Mountain View, Calif.), who moved into a tie for fourth place in school history with 99 career three-pointers.
Senior Atty Boyer (Sacramento, Calif.) played in her final game at the Hornets Nest, scoring five points while collecting three blocked shots, which moved her into a tie for fifth all time with 54 in her career.
After shooting just 39.1 percent in the first half, the Hornets finished the game 26-of-43 (60.5 percent) from the field, while holding Northern Colorado to 33.3 percent (20-of-60) shooting for the game.
The Bears were led by Cassie Lambrecht, who scored one shy of her career-high with 17 points off the bench. Kate Kevorken added 16 points, but was just 4-of-18 from the field. As a team, the Bears shot just 18.2 percent (4-of-22) from beyond the three-point arc.
The Hornets berth in the Big Sky Tournament is just the third for the team since joining the league during the 1996-97 season. The tournament appearance will mark the team’s first since 2004-05, while the fifth seed they take into the tournament is the highest seed Sacramento State has held.
“This win and making the tournament this way was a huge moment for our program,” Muscatell said. “Our players accomplished a lot during the season, and to their credit, they accomplished one of their season goals by making it to the tournament. As a team, we are very excited to continue playing and get back to practice on Monday.”
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