SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Sacramento State women's basketball team, winners of six of its last eight games, will hit the road this week for Big Sky Conference games at Eastern Washington and Portland State.
The Hornets (12-8, 7-4 Big Sky) will play the Eagles (12-9, 8-4) at 6 p.m. PT on Thursday before meeting the Vikings (10-11, 4-8) at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Sacramento State currently sits in fifth place in the Big Sky standings, just a half-game back of third place Eastern Washington. Portland State is ninth in the 11 team league.
* Full set of PDF game notes available via the link above the photo
EASTERN WASHINGTON BREAKDOWN
Record: 12-9, 8-4 Big Sky (T-3rd)
All-Time Div. I (1991-92) Series: 13-24
Last Meeting: W, 85-70 (Jan. 12, 2013)
Notable: Eastern Washington had its five-game winning streak was snapped last Saturday in a 76-51 loss at Montana. The Eagles' last loss prior to the winning streak was an 85-70 defeat to the Hornets in Sacramento. Lexie Nelson is averaging a team-best 14.0 points per game.
PORTLAND STATE BREAKDOWN
Record: 10-11, 4-8 Big Sky (9th)
All-Time Div. I (1991-92) Series: 11-24
Last Meeting: W, 81-77 (Jan. 10, 2013)
Notable: Portland State snapped a three-game losing streak with a 75-72 win at Montana State on Saturday. Courtney VanBrocklin is averaging a team-high 15.0 points per game while Angela Misa is second to only in the Big Sky with 9.8 rebounds per game.
All league games can be viewed on Big Sky TV plus live stats/audio are available at www.goeags.com and www.goviks.com.
THIS WEEK IN THE BIG SKY
Eastern Wash. - Sacramento State, Northern Arizona
Idaho State - at Southern Utah
Montana - at Northern Colorado, at North Dakota
Montana State - at North Dakota, at Northern Colo.
North Dakota - Montana State, Montana
Northern Ariz. - at Portland State, at Eastern Wash.
Northern Colo. - Montana, Montana State
Portland State - Northern Arizona, Sacramento State
Southern Utah - Weber State, Idaho State
Weber State - at Southern Utah
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 130 three-pointers.
Sacramento State improved to 8-1 at home and 7-4 overall in the Big Sky Conference with a pair of wins over Northern Arizona and Southern Utah last week at The Nest. On Thursday night, the Hornets used a balanced attack that saw five players score in double-figures to defeat NAU, 73-67. On Saturday against Southern Utah, the Hornets blew a 14-point first half lead but Sacramento State held on for a 93-86 win. nearly posted a quadruple-double with a career-high 24 points plus 10 assists, eight points and eight rebounds. Sacramento State has won seven of its last 10 games.
HILLIARD NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK
For the second time this season, was named Big Sky Conference Co-Player of the Week. Hilliard averaged 17.5 points, 8.0 assists, 6.5 rebounds and 6.0 steals in a pair of wins over the weekend against Northern Arizona and Southern Utah. Her best performance was a near quadruple-double on Saturday against the Thunderbirds. Hilliard posted a career-high 24 points with 10 assists, eight rebounds and eight steals. In Thursday's win over Northern Arizona, Hilliard posted 11 points, six assists, five rebounds and four steals. Hilliard is averaging a team-best 13.3 points per game in conference games and leads the league with 6.8 assists per game.
LAST TIME VS. EASTERN WASHINGTON
The Hornets never trailed in the second half and defeated Eastern Washington, 85-70, on Jan. 12. The Eagles jumped out to a 14-5 lead over the first 3:35 of the contest but that 9-point lead would be their biggest of the game. Sacramento State used a 14-0 run over the next 4:41 to take a 19-14 lead with 11:54 left in the first half. Eastern Washington stormed back to take a 27-21 lead with 6:59 remaining before halftime but once again the Hornets rallied and lead 43-38 at the break. Sacramento State closed out the first half strong and carried over that momentum into the second half. The Hornets sprinted ahead with a 13-3 run over the first 5:38 of the second half and they never led by less than eight points for the remainder of the game. finished with a then-career-high 22 points and seven assists while shooting a blistering 7-of-9 from the field. The sophomore from went 3-for-3 from 3-point range and was also a perfect 5-for-5 at the line. had her best scoring night in over a month as the junior tallied 21 points, including three 3-pointers.
LAST TIME VS. PORTLAND STATE
Natasha Torgerson scored a career-high 20 points and the Hornets defeated PSU, 81-77, on Jan. 10. Torgerson scored 15 points in the first half, matching her previous career-high, on 6-of-8 shooting, including 3-of-4 on three-pointers. At one point the senior scored 11 straight Sacramento State points in just under two minutes on three three-pointers and a jumper. Torgerson and the Hornets overcame an 11-point Portland State lead in the first half to take a one-point lead at halftime. Despite the strong finish to the first half, it was how Torgerson closed out the second half that was more important for the Hornets. Up just two points with 13 seconds left, Torgerson was intentionally fouled on an inbounds play and went to the line to shoot a one-and-one. The Grants Pass, Ore., native calmly knocked down both tries from the charity striple to give the Hornets a four-point lead and ice the game. set up Torgerson's game-clinching free throw attempts when she was able to tie-up a Portland State player for a jump ball following a missed free throw attempt. The arrow gave the Hornets the ball back and forced Portland State to foul.
POSSESSIONS PER 40 MINUTES
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 81.9 possessions per 40 minutes. Only Troy (85.6) and San Jose State (85.4) rank ahead of Sacramento State.
KRITSCHER NEARS BLOCKS RECORD
Senior has 79 blocked shots this year and is just five away from break the Sacramento State single-season record. Heidi Carroll (1985-86) owns the current record for blocked shots with 83. Kritscher has been a menace on defense this season and the forward is second in the NCAA in blocked shots, averaging 4.0 per game. Kritscher tallied a career-high eight blocks at Eastern Illinois on Dec. 7, and has tallied five or more blocks in nine games. Kritscher had seven on Saturday versus Southern Utah after posting five on Thursday against Northern Arizona. She had 43 blocked shots last season. Kritscher reached 100 career blocks with her first of four against Idaho State on Jan. 17.
KUHNS NEARS BIG SKY BOARDS RECORD
Kylie Kuhns has 1,109 rebounds in her stellar career. The Big Sky record is 1,174, set by Idaho State's Natalie Doma in 2008, and Kuhns needs just 65 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.
KUHNS IN REBOUND RANKINGS
Kylie Kuhns ranks first in the Big Sky Conference and No. 22 in the nation this season, averaging 10.9 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 62 career games and 13 of 20 games this season. She tallied 15 boards against Northern Arizona and 13 more versus Southern Utah last weekend. Kuhns has grabbed at least one rebound in every single game of her career.
KUHNS A DOUBLE-DOUBLE MACHINE
Kylie Kuhns has 45 career double-doubles and nine this season. While she missed on one versus Northern Arizona last Thursday, she posted 11 points and 13 boards against Southern Utah on Saturday. 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.
Sacramento State is once again at the top of the Big Sky in scoring this year, averaging 73.1 points per game. After starting relatively slow by their standards, the Hornets have scored 75+ points in five of their last eight 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 '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.
A HELPING HAND
Sacramento State leads the Big Sky and ranks No. 15 in the NCAA, averaging 17.0 assists per game. Point guard leads the conference, individually, and ranks No. 11 in the NCAA with 6.8 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 136 assists thus far in 2012-13.
Sacramento State leads the Big Sky in blocked shots and steals per game this year. The Hornets are averaging 6.4 blocks per game, which ranks No. 4 in the NCAA. The big reason why is , who is second in the nation with 4.0 blocks per game. At 12.4 steals per game, Sacramento State checks in at No. 1 in the Big Sky and No. 15 in the NCAA. The trio of (2.6, 2nd), Se'nyce Parrish (2.5, 3rd) and (2.2, 6th) 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 8-1 at home in The Nest this season after defeating Northern Arizona and Southern Utah last weekend. Sacramento State suffered its only 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.
Senior will likely make her 81st consecutive start and the 84th overall on Thursday night at Eastern Washington. 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 51 straight games, every contest since arriving on campus. Junior is just behind with 50 straight starts. Se'nyce Parrish is now a fixture in the lineup and has made 18 consecutive starts.