WOMEN'S BASKETBALL WINS OVERTIME THRILLER OVER NORTHERN ARIZONA, 83-80
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Sophomores Jasmine Cannady (Sacramento, Calif.) and Emily Christensen (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) each scored 16 points off the bench to lead the Sacramento State women's basketball team to a 83-80 victory over Northern Arizona on Saturday, Feb. 21 at the Walkup Skydome.
With the win, the Hornets improve to 7-19 overall, 5-8 inside of the Big Sky Conference, while the Lumberjacks fall to 7-19, 5-8 in Big Sky play. The five conference wins mark the most in school history since joining the Division I ranks.
In a back and forth contest, Northern Arizona held a six point lead early, but the two team's would be separated by four points or less the remainder of the first half. The Hornets took their first lead of the game, 23-22, on a three-pointer by sophomore Tika Koshiyama-Diaz (San Jose, Calif.) with 6:30 remaining in the half. The Lumberjacks took a 36-35 lead into intermission.
The team's traded the lead to start the second half of play, with Cannady nailing a three-pointer with 13:03 remaining in regulation to give the Hornets a three-point lead at 47-44. The Hornets would continue to hold a slim lead, 53-51, with 10:05 remaining before NAU went on a 10-2 run over the next 2:34 to take a 61-55 lead with 7:31 remaining. The lead would grow to 66-58 with 5:43 remaining before the Hornets would mount a run of their own, starting with back-to-back three-pointers by freshman Nneka Payne (Auburn, Wash.) and sophomore Sami Field-Polisso (Mountain View, Calif.) to pull the Hornets back to within two at 66-64 with 4:33 remaining.
With the score 70-67 in favor of the Lumberjacks with :55 seconds remaining, junior Erika Edwards (Redmond, Wash.) drove the paint, laying the ball in while being fouled. She converted on the foul shot, tying the score at 70-70. Following a missed jumper by NAU point guard Sade Cunningham, the Hornets had a final chance to end it in regulation, but junior Charday Hunt (Portland, Ore.) left her free throw jumper short, and the game went to overtime.
In the extra session, Edwards scored five straight points on a pair of free throws and a deep corner three-pointer, giving the Hornets a 75-70 lead with 4:08 remaining. Northern Arizona cut the lead to one point at 79-78 before Christensen converted on a driving layup to once again push the lead to three. The Lumberjacks cut it to one once again on a jumper from Katie Schafer, and then got the ball right back as the Hornets turned it over.
NAU had three chances to retake the lead, but they could not convert, and Edwards pulled down the third miss. She hit the first of two free throws to make it a two-point game, 82-80, with five seconds remaining, but Christensen was able to corral the second missed foul shot, feeding the ball to Payne, who made the second of two foul shots to make the score 83-80 with three seconds remaining. Cannady stole the full court inbound, and the Hornets sealed the victory in the Skydome, their second win in the dome in as many seasons.
Edwards finished with 15 points, with all of her points coming in the second half and overtime. Field-Polisso added 11 points, while senior Atty Boyer (Sacramento, Calif.) pitched in seven. The Lumberjacks held Hornet leading scorer Hunt, who averaged 14.5 points per game entering the contest, to just three-points on 1-of-10 shooting.
Schafer led NAU and all scorers with 20 points, while adding 12 rebounds. Cunningham also posted a double-double with 15 points and 10 assists, while Caty Huntington (15 pts) and Janelle Matthews (12) rounded out four players in double-figures.
The Hornets outrebounded the Lumberjacks 45-34, including 15 offensive rebounds that led to 13 second chance points. Sacramento State's bench outscored NAU 43-11, while Northern Arizona led the Hornets in points in the paint 36-18.
Sacramento State returns to action on Thursday, Feb. 26 as they host the Idaho State Bengals. Tipoff from the Hornets Nest is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.