SACRAMENTO, Calif. - With the second half of the Hornets' Big Sky Conference schedule on the horizon, the Sacramento State women's basketball team will play host to Northern Arizona and Southern Utah this week at The Nest.
The Hornets (10-8, 5-4 Big Sky) will meet Northern Arizona at 7 p.m. on Thursday before playing Southern Utah at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Sacramento State currently sits in sixth place in the Big Sky standings and both foes this week are nipping at the Hornets' heels. The Thunderbirds, who defeated the Hornets earlier this season in Cedar City, Utah, is in seventh while the Lumberjacks are in eighth.
The Big Sky Conference tournament, which is hosted by the regular season champion, takes the top seven teams in the league. After this weekend, the Hornets will have just nine games remaining in the regular season.
NORTHERN ARIZONA BREAKDOWN
Record: 4-14, 3-6 Big Sky (8th)
All-Time Div. I (1991-92) Series: 7-28
Last Meeting: L, 94-56 (1/28/12)
Notable: Northern Arizona tallied just one win during its non-conference schedule but has gone 3-6 in league play. Senior guard Amy Patton leads the Big Sky in scoring at 19.7 points per game and is third in rebounding at 8.0 per game. Coach Sue Darling is in her first season.
SOUTHERN UTAH BREAKDOWN
Record: 10-9, 4-5 Big Sky (7th)
All-Time Div. I (1991-92) Series: 6-10
Last Meeting: L, 79-71 (1/5/13)
Notable: Southern Utah defeated the Hornets, 79-71, earlier this season in Cedar City, Utah and will be the first league opponent Sacramento State plays for the second time this season. The Thunderbirds have the second best scoring offense in the Big Sky, behind only the Hornets.
Following Saturday's contest against Southern Utah, the Sacramento State women's basketball program will host an alumni game. The game will feature former players split into two teams, with head coach and assistant coach serving as referees. Current assistant coaches and , both former Hornets, will compete. Also set to play are , Emily Christensen, , , , , , , Kelly Hughes, , , Lindsay Calmettes and Sydney Gatson. All alumni are invited to attend, and will receive free admission for themselves and a guest to the Southern Utah game plus lunch. All alumni in attendance will be recognized at halftime.
All league games can be viewed on Big Sky TV plus live stats/audio are available at hornetsports.com.
THIS WEEK IN THE BIG SKY
Eastern Wash. - at Montana State, at Montana
Idaho State - Northern Colorado, North Dakota
Montana - Portland State, Eastern Washington
Montana State - Eastern Washington, Portland State
North Dakota - at Weber State, at Idaho State
Northern Ariz. - at Sacramento State, Southern Utah
Northern Colo. - at Idaho State, at Weber State
Portland State - at Montana, at Montana State
Southern Utah - at Sac State, at Northern Ariz.
Weber State - North Dakota, Northern Colorado
THREES FOR THE DISEASE
In conjunction with Health Net, Inc., the Sacramento State women's basketball team has brought back its Threes for the Disease campaign for a second season in support of ALS research and awareness. With the help of sponsor Health Net, Inc., each three-pointer the women's basketball team makes this year will once again be worth a $10 donation to the ALS Association, Greater Sacramento Chapter.
"ALS is an insidious disease that will only be solved with community partnerships such as this one with Health Net and Sacramento State," said Amy Sugimoto, executive director of the ALS Association, Greater Sacramento Chapter. "We are immensely grateful for their commitment to helping those battling ALS." A banner on the wall inside The Nest will track how many three-pointers the Hornets have made this season and members of the Sacramento State cheer team will update the total during games. So far the Hornets have hit 114 three-pointers.
Sacramento State split a pair of road games last weekend. The Hornets won, 79-77, at North Dakota, led by 's 25 points and her clutch free throw shooting (3-of-4) in the final seconds. Sacramento State lost, however, 79-63 at Northern Colorado. The Bears led by as much as 31 points in the second half in winning their 11th straight home game. scored a career-high 12 points for the Hornets on 2-of-3 shooting from the field and an 8-of-8 performance at the free throw line.
POSSESSIONS PER 40 MINUTES
According to WBBState.com, Sacramento State is fourth in the NCAA and first in the Big Sky in possessions per 40 minutes. The Hornets average 81.3 possessions per 40 minutes. Sacramento State registered 92 possessions in its win over Weber State on Jan. 19, the 54th most in a Div. I game this season.
KUHNS IN REBOUND RANKINGS
Kylie Kuhns ranks first in the Big Sky Conference and No. 27 in the nation this season, averaging 10.5 rebounds per game. Kuhns checked in at No. 6 in the nation last season with 11.6 rebounds per game and was No. 12 as a sophomore at 11.0 boards per game. Kuhns has reached 10+ rebounds in 60 career games and 11 of 18 games this season. She matched her career-low with just one rebound at Northern Colorado last weekend. It was her lowest output since she also grabbed just one rebound on Dec. 31, 2009 against Eastern Washington as a freshman. Kuhns has, however, grabbed at least one rebound in every single game of her career.
KUHNS A DOUBLE-DOUBLE MACHINE
Kylie Kuhns has 44 career double-doubles and eight this season. The senior went five straight games without one before posting 10 points and 10 boards at Northern Colorado on Jan. 26. She ranked No. 3 in the NCAA as a junior last season with 21 double-doubles. Kuhns paced the Big Sky with 13 double-doubles as a sophomore and posted two in her freshman campaign. Last season Kuhns had a double-double in all but 10 games and posted a season-long streak of 13 straight games.
LAST TIME VS. NORTHERN ARIZONA
Sacramento State won in double overtime in its last home game against NAU, but the Lumberjacks won big in Flagstaff in the most recent meeting of the two teams. scored 20 points but the Hornets lost, 94-56, in their most lob-sided league loss. NAU had seven players score seven or more points and outrebounded the Hornets, 58-34. NAU's Amy Patton, who leads the Big Sky in scoring this season at 19.7 points per game, tallied 14 in the win.
LAST TIME VS. SOUTHERN UTAH
Sacramento State lost at Southern Utah, 79-71, on Jan. 5 earlier this season. The Thunderbirds are the first Big Sky opponent the Hornets will meet for the second time. In the first meeting, the T-Birds led the entire second half. had a career-high 17 points for the Hornets while SUU had four in double figures, led by Kimie Hawkins' 22 points.
Sacramento State is once again at the top of the Big Sky in scoring this year, averaging 71.9 points per game. After starting relatively slow by their standards, the Hornets have scored 75+ points in four of their last six games, including a season-high 103 points against Weber State on Jan. 19. The Hornets ranked No. 1 in the Big Sky in scoring in each of head coach 's first three seasons. Last year the Hornets ranked No. 28 in the NCAA averaging 71.7 points per game. Before that, Sacramento State averaged 70.2 points per game during the 2010-11 season and put up a whopping 79.1 points per game in 2009-10, which ranked No. 6 in the nation.
Sacramento State leads the Big Sky in blocked shots and steals per game this year. The Hornets are averaging 6.3 blocks per game, which ranks No. 5 in the NCAA. The big reason why is , who is fourth in the nation with 3.7 blocks per game. At 12.2 steals per game, Sacramento State checks in at No. 1 in the Big Sky and No. 22 in the NCAA. The trio of Se'nyce Parrish (2.6, 2nd), (2.2, 6th) and (2.1, 7th) all rank in the top-10 individually in the Big Sky. Sacramento State set new program bests in both steals and blocked shots last season. The Hornets tallied 401 steals and ranked No. 6 in the NCAA at 12.9 per game. They also recorded 147 total blocks and ranked No. 40 in the nation at 4.7 per game.
PROTECT THE NEST
Sacramento State is 6-1 at home in The Nest this season after defeating Portland State, Eastern Washington and Weber State on its last homestand. Sacramento State suffered its first home loss of the season on Jan. 17 against Idaho State. In non-conference play, the Hornets have home wins over Utah Valley, San Francisco and rival UC Davis. Dating back to last season, the Hornets have won eight of their last nine home games.
KRITSCHER A ONE WOMAN SWAT TEAM
Senior has been a menace on defense this season and the forward is fourth in the NCAA in blocked shots, averaging 3.7 per game. Kritscher tallied a career-high eight blocks at Eastern Illinois on Dec. 7, and has tallied five or more blocks in seven games. Last weekend at Northern Colorado, however, Kritscher did not register a block for just the second time this season. Kritscher has posted at least three blocks in all but five games this season. She had 43 blocked shots last season but already has 67 this year. Heidi Carroll (1985-86) owns Sacramento State's single-season record for blocked shots with 83.
KRITSCHER REACHES 100 CAREER BLOCKS
Megan Kritscher reached 100 career blocks with her first of four blocks against Idaho State on Jan. 17.
A HELPING HAND
Sacramento State leads the Big Sky Conference and ranks No. 19 in the NCAA, averaging 16.4 assists per game. Point guard leads the conference, individually, and ranks No. 12 in the NCAA with 6.7 assist per game this year. Sacramento State ranked No. 5 in the NCAA, averaging 17.7 assists per game last season. Hilliard led the team and ranked No. 2 in the Big Sky and No. 37 in the NCAA with 4.8 assists per game and also became the fifth player in school history to reach 150 assists in a single season. Hilliard has 120 assists thus far this year.
Senior will likely make her 77th consecutive start and the 79th overall on Thursday night against Northern Arizona. Both marks are team-highs. Kuhns made three scattered starts as a freshman but has started every contest since the beginning of her sophomore season. Sophomore has started 49 straight games, every contest since arriving on campus. Junior is just behind with 48 straight starts. Se'nyce Parrish is now a fixture in the lineup and has made 16 consecutive starts.