SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Seven Hornets scored in double figures and, after trailing 24-16 early, Sacramento State outscored UC Santa Cruz 103-47 over the final 31 minutes and 42 seconds of the contest en route to a 119-71 exhibition win.
The 119 points scored by the Hornets would have broken the program record for single game scoring, which is 111, if not for the game being an exhibition. The team's 42 made field goals, 111 field goals attempted, 16 three-point makes, 46 three-point attempts, and 78 rebounds would also break the program records if the game counted.
"I think we were a little nervous and we let our energy level be determined by whether or not we made shots, so it took a little a while to get going but we stuck after it and picked up the pace," Sacramento State head coach Bunky Harkleroad said. "UC Santa Cruz did a good job with their game plan and we had zero practice against the trapping zone, so we had scenarios that we hadn't practiced against. Once we got going we got into a good rhythm and were able to dictate the pace."
Senior Alle Moreno led the Hornets with 21 points as the Sacramento State starters scored 60 points and its bench scored 59, providing the depth needed for the team's system to be effective. Se'Nyce Parrish (16 points), Hallie Gennett (15), Gigi Hascheff (14), Sadie Clements (12), Shanti Smith (11), and Takara Burse (10) joined Moreno in double figures, with Burse adding 13 rebounds.
"We've been waiting for this since the end of last season and we were really excited to get back out there," Moreno said. "We got our jitters out after a while and started playing the way we were taught. There are some little things we need to fine tune but just playing hard and knocking down shots is what we need to keep doing."
The Hornets struggled mightily to start the game as the Banana Slugs took the early lead and remained ahead until the Hornets brought the score level at 28-28 with just over five minutes remaining in the first half. UCSC regained a 32-31 lead with 2:32 left in the half before the Hornets closed the opening period on a 20-2 run, scoring 20 points in just over two and a half minutes.
Sacramento State led 59-41 with 17:08 remaining in the second half and extended to a 74-47 advantage at the 13:47 mark. From there the home team went on a 19-0 run to blow the game wide open with a 93-47 lead, and a layup by Hilliard gave the Hornets their biggest advantage with a 51-point cushion at 110-59 with 4:42 to play.
The Hornets shot 47.3% in the second half after shooting just 28.6% in the first half. For the game UC Santa Cruz had a .429 to .378 advantage in field goal percentage, but Sacramento State had a 78-47 rebounding advantage, including 39 offensive boards, and outscored the Banana Slugs 48-18 from beyond the three-point line. UCSC started the game 2-of-24 from the free-throw line and made just 11-of-36 free-throw attempts for the duration, though the Hornets also struggled from the line with a 19-of-31 tally.
Sacramento State will open the regular season on Friday when it hosts Cal State Northridge at 5 p.m. The game will open a doubleheader with the Hornet men's basketball team, which will host UC Santa Cruz at 7:30.