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Women's Hoops Hosts North Dakota anad NOrthern Colorado this Week in the Nest

Women's Hoops Hosts North Dakota anad NOrthern Colorado this Week in the Nest

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Sacramento State women's basketball team will play host to North Dakota on Thursday night in its annual Think Pink game before battling Northern Colorado on Saturday for the NCAA Pack the House challenge.

The Hornets (13-9, 8-5 Big Sky) will meet North Dakota (10-13, 5-9) at 7 p.m. on Thursday night and fans are encouraged to wear pink to the game in support of breast cancer awareness and research. The Hornets will sport special pink accented shooting shirts. Sacramento State will then play Northern Colorado (13-9, 10-3) in a critical game for the Big Sky standings. The Hornets are currently tied for fourth while the Bears are in second.

Saturday's game will also be the Hornets' NCAA Pack the House game as they try to fill the stands of the The Nest in competition with other Big Sky programs. Last year's Pack the House game drew 1,171 fans and was the second largest attendance for a women's basketball game at Sacramento State. The Hornets have won the Pack the House challenge in the Big Sky for two straight years.

* Full game notes in PDF format available via the link above the photo.

Record: 10-13, 5-9 Big Sky (T-9th)
All-Time Div. I (1991-92) Series: 1-0
Last Meeting: W, 79-77 (Jan. 24, 2013)
Notable: The Hornets won on the road earlier this season in the two teams' first ever meeting. UND's Emily Evers scored a team-high 18 points while Madi Buck had 11 points and 10 boards. Evers is second in the Big Sky in both field goal percentage (53.5%) and blocked shots (2.0).

Record: 13-9, 10-3 Big Sky (2nd)
All-Time Div. I (1991-92) Series: 6-7
Last Meeting: L, 79-63 (Jan. 26, 2013)
Notable: Northern Colorado won handily versus the Hornets in Greeley, Colo., earlier this year. D'shara Strange ranks eighth in the Big Sky in scoring at 13.3 points per game and third in steals (2.4). Strange reached 1,000 career points in the win against the Hornets on Jan. 26.

All league games can be viewed on Big Sky TV plus live stats and live audio are available online at www.hornetsports.com.

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 130 three-pointers.

This week Sacramento State will hold its Think Pink and Pack the House games. The Hornets will wear pink and encourage fans to do the same on Thursday night versus North Dakota. The event is nationally staged yearly in support of breast cancer awareness and research. Saturday's game will be the NCAA Pack the House game, where the Hornets will compete with the rest of the Big Sky and try to fill the stands. Sacramento State will try and claim the league's Pack the House award for the third straight year. Last year's crowd of 1,171 was second most ever in The Nest for a women's basketball game. The only greater attendance was when the Hornets hosted Texas in the season-opener of the 1994-95 season. The Hornets beat the Longhorns, 88-85.

Head coach Jamie Craighead tells her team every week that they must protect their home court and split on the road. That is exactly what the Hornets have done this season. Sacramento State is 8-1 at home and have split in all three conference road trips. Last weekend the Hornets lost at Eastern Washington, 63-49, on Thursday night in thier lowest-scoring game of the year, but responded on Saturday with an 88-82 victory at Portland State, their third highest output of the season. Megan Kritscher set the program's single-season blocks record in the loss at EWU while Fantasia Hilliard shined against the Vikings, with a career-high 28 points on 10-of-16 shooting.

Megan Kritscher swatted six shots against Eastern Washington on Thursday night but needed only five entering the game to break Heidi Carroll's previous single-season program record of 83 blocks. She now has 90 on the season.

Megan Kritscher now has 90 blocked shots this season and ranks No. 2 in the NCAA, averaging 4.1 per game. She is 10 blocks away from matching the Big Sky Conference record of 100, set by EWU's Brenda Souther during the 1983-84 season. Kritscher has tallied 5+ blocks in each of the last four games and 11 times this year, with a season-high 8 at Eastern Illinois on Dec. 7.

Kylie Kuhns has 1,1125 rebounds in her stellar career, the second most in league history. The Big Sky record is 1,174, set by Idaho State's Natalie Doma in 2008, and Kuhns needs just 49 more rebounds to match it. Kuhns became just the fifth player in Big Sky Conference history to reach 1,000 career rebounds in the Hornets' Dec. 22 game at Montana. Kuhns' fourth rebound in the game gave the Salem, Ore., native 1,000 career boards. The senior had 13 total versus the Lady Griz.

Sacramento State knocked down five of its seven free throw attempts in the final 75 seconds and escaped with a 79-77 victory over league newcomer North Dakota on Jan. 24 at the Betty Engelstad Souix Center. The Hornets led by as much as 11 points in the second half but needed to convert at the charity stripe down the stretch to stave off a furious North Dakota rally. Sacramento State led by 10 with 7:21 left on the clock but North Dakota went on a 10-0 run to tie it up at 68-68 with 4:21 remaining. Fantasia Hilliard and Alle Moreno knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to go back up by six but UND was able to whittle its deficit down to one, at 76-75, with 10 seconds left. North Dakota fouled Moreno and the junior hit both free throws. After a North Dakota jumper, Moreno was fouled again and with just one second left, she went 1-of-2 at the line to put the game away. Overall, Sacramento State went 15-of-19 at the free throw line while North Dakota was 8-of-13. Moreno finished with a season-best 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting with 5-of-10 from 3-point range. North Dakota was paced by Emily Evers, who scored 18 points while Madi Buck had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Sophomore Takara Burse scored a career-high 12 points but Sacramento State lost, 79-63, to Northern Colorado on Jan. 26 at Butler-Hancock Pavilion. The Hornets ended the game on a 19-4 run over the final 5:38 but couldn't catch the Bears, who led by as much as 31 points in the second half in winning their 11th straight home game. Sacramento State trailed early in the game but was able to make it a 4-point game with 8:31 left in the first half. However, Northern Colorado responded with a 21-7 run heading into halftime and its lead was never fewer than double digits for the remainder of the game. Burse shattered her career high in points, which was five before Saturday's game. The East Palo Alto, Calif., native went 8-of-8 at the free throw line and 2-of-3 from the field for a team-high 12 points. Senior Kylie Kuhns also scored in double digits with 10 points, but tied her career-low with one rebound. She has tallied at least one board in every single game of her career. UNC was led by Lauren Oosdyke's game-high 21 points.

According to WBBState.com, Sacramento State is third in the NCAA and first in the Big Sky in possessions per 40 minutes. The Hornets average 81.5 possessions per 40 minutes. Only San Jose State (85.6) and Troy (85.6) rank ahead of Sacramento State.

Kylie Kuhns ranks first in the Big Sky Conference and No. 26 in the nation this season, averaging 10.6 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 63 career games and 14 of 22 games this season. Kuhns has grabbed at least one rebound in every single game of her career.

Kylie Kuhns has 46 career double-doubles and 10 this season. While she missed on one versus Portland State last Saturday, she posted 12 points and 11 boards against Eastern Washington on Thursday. She ranked No. 3 in the NCAA and led the league 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.

Sacramento State is once again at the top of the Big Sky in scoring this year, averaging 72.6 points per game. That total ranks No. 24 in the NCAA. After starting relatively slow by their standards, the Hornets have scored 75+ points in six of their last 10 games, including a season-high 103 points against Weber State on Jan. 19 and 93 in a win over Southern Utah on Feb. 2. The Hornets ranked No. 1 in the Big Sky 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, the Hornets 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 and ranks No. 15 in the NCAA, averaging 16.8 assists per game. Point guard Fantasia Hilliard leads the conference, individually, and ranks No. 12 in the NCAA with 6.5 assist per game this year. Sacramento State ranked No. 5 in the NCAA, averaging 17.7 assists per game last season. Hilliard 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 143 assists thus far in 2012-13 and 293 in her career, the fourth most in program history.

Sacramento State leads the Big Sky in blocked shots and steals per game this year. The Hornets are averaging 6.5 blocks per game, which ranks No. 2 in the NCAA. The big reason why is Megan Kritscher, who is second in the nation with 4.1 blocks per game. At 12 steals per game, Sacramento State checks in at No. 1 in the Big Sky and No. 20 in the NCAA. The trio of  Fantasia Hilliard (2.4, T-3rd), Se'nyce Parrish (2.3, 5th) and Alle Moreno (2.1, T-6th) all rank in the top-10 individually in the Big Sky in steals per game. 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.

Sacramento State is 8-1 at home in The Nest this season after defeating Northern Arizona and Southern Utah in its last two home games. The Hornets suffered their only home loss of the season on Jan. 17 against Idaho State. In non-conference play, the Hornets had home wins over Utah Valley, San Francisco and rival UC Davis in overtime.

Senior Kylie Kuhns will likely make her 83rd consecutive start and the 86th overall on Thursday night against North Dakota. 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 Fantasia Hilliard has started 53 straight games, every contest since arriving on campus. Junior Alle Moreno is just behind with 52 straight starts. Se'nyce Parrish is now a fixture in the lineup and has made 20 consecutive starts.

Sacramento State eclipsed the century mark for the ninth time in school history in a 103-60 victory over Weber State on Jan. 19. It was the Hornets' third most points scored under head coach Jamie Craighead, the fifth most overall in school history and the fourth most in regulation. The 103-point output is the 16th most scored in a single game by any team in the NCAA this season, and the 12th most against a Div. I opponent. Including the Hornets, NCAA teams have reached 100 points just 40 times so far during the 2012-13 campaign. The 43-point victory was Sacramento State's largest ever against a Div. I opponent and the third largest since the Hornets themselves moved into Div. I prior to the 1991-92 season, but did not crack the all-time top-10 versus all foes.

Kylie Kuhns grabbed 12 rebounds against Utah Valley on Nov. 20, but it was her 10th, an offensive board with 14:39 remaining in the second half, that pushed her to the top of the record books and past Heidi Carroll, who set the previous record of 931 rebounds in 1986. Kuhns grabbed 211 rebounds as a freshman, 321 as a sophomore and 360 last season as a junior. The senior has 233 thus far.

With three steals at Southern Utah on Jan. 5, senior Kylie Kuhns set the school record for career steals with 182. She broke Kristy Ryan's (1990-94) mark of 179 career steals. Kuhns previously moved into a tie for the record with two steals against UC Davis on Dec. 30. She now has 197 in her career. Kuhns also owns the school record for career rebounds.

Against Portland State on Jan. 10, Kylie Kuhns became just the third player in school history to reach 500 career made field goals. The Salem, Ore., native is 543-of-1132 for her career, a 48.0 shooting percentage.