PORTLAND, Ore. – In a back-and-forth game Sacramento State led Portland State by seven points with just over four minutes to play before the Vikings closed the contest on an 11-1 run to rally for an 83-80 victory on Thursday night in Portland.
The Hornets missed their last five field goal attempts and two free throws in dropping their second consecutive game following their nine-game winning streak, moving to 11-3 overall and 3-2 in the Big Sky. Portland State, which was playing without leading scorer Kate Lanz and leading rebounder Angela Misa, improved to 3-3 in conference play and 5-10 on the season.
Trailing 79-72 with 4:18 remaining, Portland State scored seven straight points capped by a 3-point strike from Lariel Powell that leveled the game at 79-79 with 1:29 to play. Hornet senior Alle Moreno made a free throw to put the Hornets back up by a point, but an ensuing Viking jumper put the home team up one. The Hornets had a shot attempt blocked and Emily Easom added a layup to put the Vikings up three with 16 seconds to play. Sacramento State got a clean look at a potential game-tying 3-pointer but the try from junior Fantasia Hilliard would not go as the clock expired.
The NCAA leader with more than 14 three-point makes per game, Sacramento State made just six three's on Thursday, its first game this season making less than 11 three-point shots. The team also had a season-low 19 three-point attempts but had a season high 46 points in the paint as the Viking's allowed several layups but limited 3-point opportunities.
The Hornets started the game strong, leading from the onset and taking a game-high 12-point advantage at 25-13 with 11:37 left in the half. The Vikings took over from there, utilizing a 15-3 run over the next five and a half minutes to draw even at 28-28. Portland State led by four in the final minute of the half but a pair of Moreno free-throws pulled Sacramento State within two points at the intermission. The visitors led by as many as 10 points in the second half before the late Viking rally.
Sacramento State shot a season-best 44.6% from the field but had two less field goal attempts than Portland State, which shot 56.7% and had a 43-27 rebounding advantage. The Hornets forced 20 turnovers with just 11 of their own but had just a 21-18 edge in points off turnovers while the Vikings had a 21-4 advantage in second chance points. Sacramento State made 16-of-20 free throws, but three of its misses came in the final five and a half minutes of the game.
Freshman Gigi Hascheff led the Hornets with a career-high tying 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting. Moreno tallied 14 points, freshman Hallie Gennett had 13 points and made three 3-pointers, and redshirt freshman Margaret Huntington shot 5-of-6 to equal her career high of 10 points. The Hornets, who were playing without injured redshirt junior Andrea Chenier, lost for the first time this season in seven games decided by six points or less.
Sacramento State will face Eastern Washington at 2 p.m. Saturday in Cheney. The Eagles, who were picked to win the Big Sky in the preseason polls, improved to 7-8 overall and 3-3 in the Big Sky with a 92-68 win over Northern Arizona on Thursday.