Women's Basketball Opens 2012-13 season at Long Beach State, CSU Fullerton

Women's Basketball Opens 2012-13 season at Long Beach State, CSU Fullerton

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Coming off its first Big Sky Conference Tournament win in school history a season ago, the Sacramento State women's basketball team will open up the 2012-13 campaign this weekend with road games at Long Beach State and CSU Fullerton.

The Hornets will meet the 49ers at 7 p.m. on Friday before playing the Titans at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Sacramento State returns more than 80 percent of its points, rebounds and assists off last season's team that won four straight games to close out the regular season and vault into its fifth Big Sky Conference Tournament appearance since joining the league for the 1991-92 season. The Hornets defeated Eastern Washington, 71-61, in the quarterfinals of the tournament before falling to eventual champion Idaho State in the semifinals.

The Hornets return four of their five starters and 11 of 13 letterwinners off last year's roster. Sacramento State will play its first three games this season on the road before hosting Utah Valley on Nov. 20 for its first home game.

Full notes in PDF format via the link above the photo.

Long Beach State will offer both live stats and an online radio broadcast for Friday night's game while CSU Fullerton will makelive stats available in addition to an online radio and streaming video broadcasts.

2011-12 Record: 14-18, 7-9 Big West
All-Time Div. I (1991-92) Series: 2-1
Last Meeting: W, 74-67 (Nov. 19, 2011)
Notable: LBSU was picked to finish fifth in the Big West preseason poll. The 49ers have just one senior on the roster this year along with 10 underclassmen.

2011-12 Record: 11-19, 4-12 Big West
All-Time Div. I (1991-92) Series: 1-7
Last Meeting: L, 81-64 (Nov. 11, 2011)
Notable: Cal State Fullerton was picked last in the Big West poll. In their lone exhibition, Kathleen Iwuoha led the Titans with 16 points and 19 rebounds in a 91-51 win over La Verne.

Eastern Washington - vs. Pacific
Idaho State - at Kansas State, at Kansas
Montana - at Temple, vs. MSU Northern
Montana State - at Colorado State, at Denver
Northern Ariz. - at New Mexico, vs. CSUB
Northern Colo. - vs. Air Force, at Colorado State
North Dakota - vs. Harvard
Portland State - vs. George Fox
Southern Utah - vs. Southern Oregon, at Utah
Weber State - at BYU

Sacramento State opens its season on a three-game road trip to fellow state schools Long Beach State, CSU Fullerton and CSU Bakersfield. Sacramento State was 2-1 against those same teams last year, with all three games played at home. Last year the Hornets were 3-12 on the road, including 0-7 in non-conference play.

2011-12 RECAP
Sacramento State won its first ever Big Sky Conference Tournament game last year when the No. 6 seeded Hornets upset No. 3 seeded Eastern Washington, 71-61, in the quarterfinals. To get into the tournament, the Hornets won their last four regular season games, including two over Portland State, to jump the Vikings for the sixth and final spot. Point guard Fantasia Hilliard sparked the winning streak with a buzzer-beating runner in the lane at Montana State to win, 77-76.

Sacramento State lost just one starter and two total letterwinners off last season's roster. The Hornets return 80.4 percent of their points, 86.3 percent of their rebounds and 83.3 percent of their assists from a year ago. The 11 returning letterwinners have combined for 193 starts and 543 games played.

Sacramento State returns all three of its Big Sky Conference awards winners from a season ago. The Hornets bring back second team selection Kylie Kuhns, honorable mention choice Alle Moreno and Big Sky Freshman of the Year, Fantasia Hilliard.

Kylie Kuhns ranked No. 3 in the NCAA last season with 21 double-doubles. Kuhns has 36 career double-doubles after she paced the Big Sky with 13 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 from Nov. 17 to Dec. 31. She had nine in Big Sky Conference play and posted one in two games at the Big Sky Tournament.

In addition to leading the Big Sky in rebounding for the second straight season, Kylie Kuhns ranked No. 6 in the nation last year, averaging 11.6 rebounds per game. As a sophomore, she set the single-game school record with 23 boards in a win versus San Francisco and finished the season ranked No. 12 in the nation at 11.0 rpg.

Kylie Kuhns became the 10th player in school history to reach 1,000 career points when she eclipsed the milestone against EWU on Feb. 4 last season. She has the chance to become the first player, however, to reach 1,000 career rebounds. She has 892 career boards currently.

Sacramento State ranked No. 5 in the NCAA averaging 17.7 assists per game. Freshman Fantasia Hilliard led the team and ranked No. 2 in the Big Sky and No. 37 in the NCAA with 4.8 assists per game. Hilliard became the fifth player in school history to reach 150 assists in a single season.

Sacramento State has ranked No. 1 in the Big Sky Conference in scoring in each of head coach Jamie Craighead'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 set new program records in both steals and blocked shots last season. The Hornets nabbed 401 steals and ranked No. 6 in the nation at 12.9 per game. Three players on the roster ranked in the top-150 in the nation in steals per game - No. 49 Alle Moreno (2.65), No. 85 Kylie Kuhns (2.42) and No. 143 Fantasia Hilliard (2.13). The Hornets also swatted 147 shots and ranked No. 40 in the nation at 4.7 blocks per game.

Alle Moreno set a single-season school record last season when she knocked down 78 three-pointers. The previous record of 77 was owned by both Erika Edwards (2009-10) and Michelle St. Clair (2000-01). Moreno also attempted more three-pointers than any other player in school history with 263.