SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Senior Alle Moreno became the 11th player in program history to score 1,000 career points and hit a 3-pointer and made two free throws in the final 29 seconds of the game to break a late tie and give Sacramento State a 99-94 win over UC Irvine.
The Hornets (7-1) improved to 5-0 this season in games decided by five points or less. UC Irvine (5-5) ended a school-record nine game road trip with Saturday's defeat.
Sacramento State broke the NCAA record for single game 3-point attempts in the contest, attempting 55 three's to break the previous Div. I record of 52 3-point attempts set by Alabama in 1995 and matched by Cal Poly against Ole Miss in 1999. The Hornets also re-broke the Big Sky record by knocking down 21 three's, surpassing their own record set this year at 18, and finished just one 3-point make behind the all-time NCAA record of 22 three's set by Florida Gulf Coast last season.
"UC Irvine did a great job and had a great game plan and we were fortunate to hang on for the win," Sacramento State head coach Bunky Harkleroad said. "I'm really proud of my team and I'm really proud in the way Alle stepped up and hit the shot late. It was great day for her and her individual career and our team fought through and found a way to win."
Moreno scored just four points in the first half but reached 1,000 in her career after making a free-throw with 37 seconds remaining in the opening period. She came back with 18 points in a superb second half and broke a 94-94 tie with a 3-pointer with 29 seconds remaining in the contest. The Hornets forced an Anteater miss on the other end and Moreno was fouled with six seconds left. She would hit both free throws to ice the win.
"We called the play in a timeout and TK (Takara Burse) ran it to perfection. She drove and pulled all the defenders in with her and it was a wide open three," Moreno said of her tiebreaking 3-point strike. "(Scoring 1,000 points) feels great, especially in a great environment like this at home. It's a great accomplishment that I can only be thankful for from my teammates and all my coaches."
Moreno led six Hornets in double figures with 22 points as freshman Hallie Gennett hit seven 3-pointers and scored 21 points and freshman Gigi Hascheff (14 points), junior Fantasia Hilliard (13), junior Andrea Chenier (12), and redshirt freshman Margaret Huntington (10) also reached double-digits. Hilliard added a career-high 12 assists and Huntington had a career-high 13 rebounds for her first career double-double.
UC Irvine jumped out to a 13-2 lead over the first four minutes of the contest, but a three by Hascheff led a 9-0 Hornet run to get the home team back within two points. Neither team led by more than five points for the remainder of the half, but UC Irvine shot 57.9% in the half and got a late layup to take a 55-53 halftime lead.
The Anteaters started the second half strong and moved back to a seven point lead at 65-58, but consecutive Hornet three's made the lead short-lived. In a game with 10 ties and 13 lead changes neither team led by more than five for the rest of the game.
Sacramento State had a 94-92 lead before an Anteater layup knotted the score with 51 seconds to play. Moreno's three put the Hornets up, and on the ensuing possession the Anteaters had two shots but a long three-pointer went out of bounds to give the home team possession with eight seconds left. Moreno made both free throws after being fouled on the inbounds and UC Irvine had a last second shot blocked by Burse to end the game.
The Anteaters outshot the Hornets 52.0% to 40.2% but the 21 Hornet three's were matched by eight long range makes for the visitors. UCI had a slight 46-41 rebounding edge but committed 21 turnovers to 16 giveaways by Sacramento State. Senior Camille Buckley led four Anteaters in double-figures with 22 points and 10 rebounds on 9-of-12 shooting.
The Hornets break for finals and the holidays before resuming play on Saturday, Dec. 28, in a 2 p.m. Causeway Cup game at UC Davis.