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Portland Box Score - Dec. 17
THREE SCORE IN DOUBLE FIGURES AS WOMENâ€™S HOOPS DOWNS PORTLAND 63-55
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Sacramento State ended its losing streak on Sunday afternoon, taking control on their home floor and defeating Portland 63-55 at the Nest.
“What a satisfying win for everyone in our program after a very difficult schedule to start the season,” head coach Dan Muscatell said. “For everyone hanging together and working, it was great to get rewarded for the effort. You add it all up and it is a victory that is capitalized by one word – team.”
The Hornets (2-9) did not steer away from Portland’s 6-foot-3 Rachel Warren, but used speed an mobility under the basket to get on the scoreboard. Sophomore forward Atty Boyer came off the bench to lead the Hornets in scoring with 19 points and six rebounds.
It was the fourth time this season the 2005 El Camino High School graduate has led the Hornets in scoring and her fifth time reaching double figures. The Hornets were aggressive from the game’s out set, going to the line 22 times and converting 20 of those attempts. It was Boyer’s’ 8-for-8 performance that was critical.
“I was proud of the way Atty responded,” Muscatell said. “I felt like she hadn’t been playing to her capabilities and I told her so yesterday. To her credit, she didn’t hang her head and she showed today the player she is capable of being on a regular basis. We were short handed in the post and Kelly Vega did a great job on the defensive end. Becca Reams also played well, without having to score to be a contributor.”
While the Hornet offense continued to move to the basket, it was the team’s defense that was crucial in the game’s late moments. Nursing a one-point lead with just 1:33 remaining, senior point guard Stephanie Cherry’s crossover earned her a layup on the offensive end, but the Suisun, Calif., native then forced Portland’s leading scorer, Laiken Dollente, into a turnover on the baseline at the opposite end of the floor. On the Pilots’ (7-5) next possession, it was Kim Sheehy who grabbed one of her seven rebounds and then knocked down both of her free throws with 14 seconds on the clock to extend Sacramento State’s lead to 61-55.
“Ashley Storms’ defense was very solid and helped on rotations to take away post entry passes,” Muscatell said. “I also thought Kim and Stephanie both worked hard and stuck with the game plan. They were very good, and they needed to be very good in areas that aren’t always their strongest suits.”
The Hornets’ all-Big Sky guards scored 14 points each, with Cherry adding four rebounds and three assists, while Sheehy had two assists and three steals.
Muscatell used his sixth starting lineup of the season, inserting Reams and Vega. Reams, who scored a career-high 20 points at Pacific on Friday night, added seven points and seven rebounds against Portland, while helping to contain Warren.
Portland was led by Dollente’s game-high 24 points and five three-pointers, while Warren put up a double-double with 17 points and 17 rebounds. But despite her efforts, Sacramento State outrebounded the Pilots 38-34, pulling down 12 offensive boards. In fact, Sacramento State scored 12 points on second-chance opportunities and 20 points off Portland’s 19 turnovers.
For just the second time this season, Sacramento State held a lead at the halftime, holding a 30-24 advantage. But the Pilots answered building a quick six-point edge with a 14-2 run to open the second half.
The Hornets were able to slowly chip away at Portland’s lead when Cherry jumper’s gave Sacramento State a 46-45 lead at the 9:28 mark. Sacramento State’s cushion would reach as large as four points until the Pilots took their last lead of the game, 53-52, at the 3:38 mark after a Karlie Burris layup. Portland’s 15 personal fouls in the second half caught up with them, as the Hornets were 9-of-10 from the stripe during the last three minutes.
In the first half, Sacramento State did not score until the 14:34 mark, when Boyer sank a three-pointer. But the Hornets’ defense limited harm done in that time frame, holding Portland to just six points. Boyer came into the game and scored the team’s first 13 points, helping to tie the game with 10 minutes left in the first half. Sacramento State’s lead reached nine in the first period, but a three-pointer from Burris at the end of the half cut Sacramento State’s lead to six.
The Hornets will have a 10-day break before hosting Saint Mary’s on Thursday, Dec. 28 at 7:05 p.m.
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