MISSOULA, Mont. – After winning seven of its previous 10 games, the red-hot Sacramento State women's basketball team went cold at Montana in the semifinals of the Big Sky Conference Tournament, falling 74-53 to the No. 1 seed and host Lady Griz on Friday at Dahlberg Arena.
The Hornets (19-12) posted the most wins in program history and were victorious in first round Big Sky Tournament games in back-to-back years under head coach Jamie Craighead after not winning a league tournament game in four previous trips. Sacramento State was eliminated in the semifinals last year by No. 1 seed and host Idaho State, who the Hornets defeated in the first round this year.
Despite the loss, Sacramento State's season might not be finished. The Hornets are in contention for a WNIT bid and will find out on Monday.
Senior Kylie Kuhns ends her stellar career with 1,504 points and 1,234 boards. The Salem, Ore., native owns the Big Sky and Sacramento all-time rebounds records and is finishes third in program history career points. Kuhns tallied 52 double-doubles in her stellar career.
Fellow seniors Natasha Torgerson, Mallorie Franco and Megan Kritscher also ended their careers on Friday. Kritscher set the Big Sky's single-season blocks record this season and ends the year with 111 rejections.
Montana, the Big Sky's regular season champion, came out clicking despite getting a first round bye. The Lady Griz started the game 4-for-5 from 3-point range and led 44-25 at halftime. The Hornets shot 26.5 percent in the first half while the Lady Griz shot 44.7 percent in the opening period with 6-of-12 coming from beyond the arc.
Montana could not maintain its strong shooting in the second half, but the Hornets did not improve theirs enough. Sacramento State shot 30 percent after halftime while Montana shot 36.1 percent.
The Lady Griz dominated the glass and grabbed 58 rebounds compared to 34 for the Hornets. Montana's 24 rebound advantage led to 26 second chance points.
Junior Alle Moreno led the Hornets with 14 points, including four 3-pointers, while Kuhns had a game-high 12 rebounds. Junior Se'nyce Parrish went 3-for-3 from 3-point range and finished with nine points.
Montana was led by Big Sky MVP Katie Baker's 17 points while Jordan Sullivan and Alexandra Hurley each grabbed nine rebounds.
Sacramento State shot 28.1 percent overall on 18-of-64 shooting, including 9-of-25 from 3-point range. The Hornets snagged 34 rebounds, committed 18 turnovers and tallied 12 assists. They went 8-of-10 at the free throw line.
Montana shot 40.5 percent from the field on 30-of-74 shooting, with 9-of-25 coming from beyond the arc. The Lady Griz grabbed 58 rebounds and were pressured into 22 turnovers with 19 assists.