SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento State senior guard Alle Moreno scored a career-high 28 points, and in a game with 10 ties and 14 lead changes in which neither team had a double-digit lead the Hornets were able to execute down the stretch to claim a 103-99 victory over San José State and former head coach Jamie Craighead.
The 103 points scored by the Hornets equaled the 5th highest single-game total in program history, as Sacramento State improved to 6-1 and San José State dropped its fourth consecutive game to move to 4-5.
"We're thrilled to get this win," Sacramento State head coach Bunky Harkleroad said. "We've had plenty of close games already and I'm really proud of how our team has stepped up and figured out a way to win late in these games. Different people have stepped up and made plays at the right times and its been just enough."
The game was level at 97-97 with 1:45 left in regulation, but consecutive baskets by Hornet juniors Takara Burse and Fantasia Hilliard and a made free throw by Hilliard put the Hornets up 102-97 with 47 seconds remaining. The Spartans made a layup to get within three points but Moreno hit a free throw with 12 seconds to play to ice the victory.
Moreno scored 22 of her 28 points in the second half and topped her previous career high of 26 points set in 2012. She shot 9-of-15 from the field and hit four 3-pointers while adding six free throws and contributing four rebounds, three assists, and two blocks. Her career-high total moved Moreno within four points of becoming the 11th player in program history to score 1,000 career points.
"I was a little nervous for a while walking in, but once I got on the court I realized its 10 players just like every other game," said Moreno in regards to facing her former coach and mentor Craighead. "They face guarded me really well the whole game but once I got a couple of shots I was able to get a rhythm going. 6-1 is an amazing feeling but after a win you can celebrate for a little bit but then its time to move on."
The Hornets got off to a blazing start on Saturday, taking a 7-0 lead just 1:02 into the first half. San José State scored the next nine points, however, but Sacramento State responded with a 12-4 run to take a game-high nine point lead at 22-13.
Sacramento State led 34-28 with less than nine minutes left in the half, but the Spartans used a 12-0 spurt to go up 40-34, reaching their biggest lead of the game at six points, and the visitors took a 54-51 lead into the intermission.
In a back-and-forth second half the Hornets looked to have the game in hand with a 91-82 advantage with five minutes left to play, but the Spartans went on an 11-0 blitz over the next minute and a half to go up 93-91. A 3-pointer by Moreno ended the run, and Sacramento State was able to turn the late stalemate into its sixth victory of the young season.
Sacramento State improved to 4-0 this season in games decided by four points or less, and the squad has won its last three games by a total of nine points. The Hornets shot a season-best 41.8% for the contest and made 12 three's but were nearly undone by a 15-of-32 performance from the free throw line. San José State shot 50.6% and had a 61-49 rebounding edge, but the Hornets forced 23 Spartan turnovers and had a 24-9 edge in points off turnovers.
Four other Hornets joined Moreno in double-figures as Hilliard and Burse each tallied 16 points and junior Andrea Chenier and freshman Gigi Hascheff each had 10. Burse added nine rebounds and redshirt freshman Margaret Huntington had 10 rebounds and nine points.
Three Spartans finished with 20-point games, including 24 points from junior Ta'Rea Cunningan and 23 points, seven rebounds, and eight assists from junior Classye James. San José State shot just 2-of-19 from 3-point range and scored 70 of its 99 points in the paint.
Sacramento State hosts its final non-conference home game next Saturday when it faces UC Irvine in The Nest at 2 p.m.