SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Sacramento State women's basketball team (15-6, 7-5 Big Sky) returns home from a two-week road trip hosting Eastern Washington (11-10, 7-5 Big Sky) at 7 p.m. Thursday and Portland State (6-15, 4-8 Big Sky) at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Thursday night will be the Hornets annual Pink game to raise awareness for breast cancer. The team will wear pink warm-ups and all fans are encouraged to wear pink to The Nest. It will also be a Green Army game and the first 25 Green Army members will receive a FREE sandwich and chips from Roxy's Deli.
Sacramento State leads NCAA Div. I in three-point makes per game (13.0), steals per game (14.3), and turnover margin (+9.90) and is second in points per game (89.3)...Alle Moreno, who broke the Big Sky career 3-point attempt record and is Sacramento State's all-time leader in 3-point makes, is just two steals shy of that program record...With 272 made 3-pointers this season the Hornets have already eclipsed their own program and Big Sky record, surpassing the previous high of 264 set in 2009-10...Sacramento State is 10-1 at home this season averaging 95.1 points per game and 16.0 steals per game and is +7.2 in scoring margin and +11.3 in turnover margin in The Nest...The Hornets lost at Portland State and Eastern Washington in Jan., with the Vikings closing on an 11-1 run to win by three and the Eagles holding the Hornets to 32.8% shooting.
All Big Sky games have a free live video stream available at WatchBigSky.com and the Watch Big Sky app. Thursday's game will also stream live on HornetSports.com/Radio with Brian Berger providing the play-by-play call. Live stats are available above and for more content and game updates like Sacramento State Athletics on facebook and follow @HornetSports and #BigSkyWBB on twitter.
Scouting Eastern Washington (11-10, 7-5 Big Sky)
Eastern Washington and Sacramento State are tied for fourth in the Big Sky, along with Idaho State, with 7-5 conference marks. The Eagles have won three straight games, including home wins over Montana and Montana State last weekend. The Hornets were defeated by EWU in Cheney on Jan. 18, with the Eagles holding the Hornets to 32.8% shooting and just six 3-point makes in a 78-65 win. Lexie Nelson and Laura Hughes each had 19 points in the contest and are the squad's top two scorers this season, with Nelson ranking third in the league with 16.7 points per game. The Eagles lead the Big Sky and rank 11th in the NCAA shooting .380 from 3-point range while making 6.7 threes per game.
Scouting Portland State (6-15, 4-8 Big Sky)
The Hornets were shocked by the Vikings in Portland on Jan. 16 as Portland State ended the game on an 11-1 run over the final 4:18 to rally for an 83-80 win. The Vikings had lost five consecutive games since defeating the Hornets but earned a 72-61 home win over Montana State last Saturday. For the season Portland State ranks last in the Big Sky in scoring margin (-14.2) and steals per game (5.9) and ranks sixth or worse in the conference in every statistical category. Sophomore Emily Easom scored 26 points on 12-of-15 shooting in the first meeting between the Hornets and Vikings and scored a career-high 27 points in the PSU win over Montana State last Saturday.
The Nation's Best
Sacramento State leads all of NCAA Div. I (343 Teams) with 13.0 three-pointers made per game, 14.3 steals per game, and a 9.90 turnover margin. The Hornets are averaging 3.1 more 3-pointers and 1.5 more steals than any other team in the nation. The squad also ranks second in the NCAA with 89.3 points per game and is 13th with 18.1 assists per game and with a 1.31 assist to turnover ratio. Sacramento State leads the Big Sky in all of those categories, other than assist to turnover ratio, as well as offensive rebounds (17.6 ORPG)
Passing All Passers
With four assists against Northern Colorado on Jan. 25 Sacramento State junior point guard Fantasia Hilliard broke the all-time program record with her 454th career assist. She tied the record with three assists in the first half and broke it at the 13:32 mark of the second half, assisting on a layup by Margaret Huntington that gave the Hornets a game-high 12-point lead. Heather Baker had owned the record since completing her Sacramento State career in 1993 and was in attendance as Hilliard surpassed her total. Hilliard totaled 184 assists last season, bettering Baker's previous single-season school record of 160, and is on pace to surpass that number again this season. Her current assist total stands 12th in Big Sky history with still another season to play, and she ranks eighth in the NCAA this year with 6.8 assists per game.
Happy to be Home
Following its longest road trip of the season Sacramento State has four home games and four road games remaining in the regular season. The Hornets have been nearly unbeatable at home, going 10-1 and averaging 95.1 points per game in The Nest. Sacramento State is +7.2 in scoring margin and +11.3 in turnover margin in The Nest while averaging 16.0 steals per game. By comparison, the Hornets have gone 5-5 on the road while averaging 83.0 points and being outscored by 3.0 points.
Hornet Freshmen Hallie Gennett and Gigi Hascheff have been major contributors to the Hornets since the start of the season. Gennett ranks 19th in the NCAA and leads the Big Sky with 2.95 three-point makes per game, including seven games making five of more 3-point shots. She made a Big Sky season-high eight 3-point shots in her first collegiate game vs. Cal State Northridge. Of her 86 made field goals on the season, 62 have been 3-pointers, while 179 of her 223 field goal attempts (80.3%) have come from beyond the arc, where she is shooting 34.6% on the season.
Hascheff is averaging 10.6 points per game this season and leads the team shooting 78.0% from the free throw line. She has been especially superb in Big Sky play, averaging 11.8 points per game and shooting 41.7% from the field and 33-of-39 (84.6%) from the line. Hascheff is also third on the team with 2.9 assists per game and averages 1.3 steals per game. Over the last eight games (seven starts) Hascheff is leading the team with 14.0 points per game and is second with 22 assists.
Sacramento State re-broke its third Big Sky single game record of the season against Weber State on Feb. 1, breaking conference records with 111 points and 215 combined points in the contest. The Hornets had already broken both records with 110 points and 214 combined points against North Dakota, which surpassed the 109 points Idaho scored against Portland State in 1986 as the highest scoring game in conference history. The Hornets have also surpassed single game conference records this season in 3-pointers made and attempted.
The Hornets will likely play the rest of the 2013-14 season without two key players as senior Se'Nyce Parrish and junior Andrea Chenier are out indefinitely with knee injuries. Parrish started the Hornets' season opener but played in just two games before getting hurt, while Chenier averaged 10.0 points and a Big Sky-best 2.9 steals per game in 13 games before her injury.
Historic three-point shooting has been the Hornets calling card, as the team has led the nation in 3-pointers made per game throughout the 2013-14 season. The squad has thrice broken the single-game program record in 3-point makes and came within one of the NCAA record against UC Irvine, re-breaking the Big Sky record with 21 3-point makes and 55 3-point attempts. With 272 total 3-pointers made the team has already broken the single-season program and Big Sky records for made threes in a season and is approaching the NCAA record of 342, set last season by Florida Gulf Coast.
Sacramento State has had eight players make double-digit threes, including seven with 20 or more three-point makes this season. The Hornets have scored 816 of 1,876 total points this season on 3-pointers, as 272 made long balls have accounted for 43.5% of the team's points while just 37.7% of the total points have come on 2-point shots. The NCAA record for 3-pointers made per game in a season is 10.7 and Sacramento State is currently averaging 13.0.
Sacramento State leads the NCAA with 14.3 steals per game and has had more steals than its opponent in 18 games this season. The team has also recorded double-digit steals in all but three games this year and broke the single-game program record with 26 steals against San Diego State. For the season the Hornets are +157 in steal margin (300-143) and as a result have also had fewer turnovers than their opponent in all but one game this year.
To Every Season Turn, Turn, Turn
Over the last three seasons Sacramento State improved its turnover margin from -3.1 to +1.8 to +3.8, and this season that number has skyrocketed. The Hornets now lead the NCAA at +9.90 in turnover margin, leading the Big Sky by 6.3 per game. The margin has enabled the Hornets to attempt 12.0 more shots per game than their opponents, and the squad is +226 this year in points off turnovers (511-285). The team has scored 27.2% of its total points this season off of opponent giveaways with a season-best 48-17 edge against NAU and a 37-7 advantage at UC Davis. Sacramento State also ranks second in the Big Sky and is 13th in the nation in assist to turnover ratio (1.31).
Senior guard Alle Moreno became Sacramento State's all-time leading 3-point shooter on Nov. 10 when she hit her fourth of six 3-point makes against San Diego State. Moreno surpassed the previous career 3-point record of 176 set by former Hornet Kim Sheehy, who concluded her collegiate career in 2007, while she had already established a new record for career 3-point attempts during her junior year. With 221 career 3-pointers to date Moreno is now 6th in Big Sky history. Moreno also became the 11th player in program history to crack the 1,000-point plateau this season when she scored her fourth of 22 points on Dec. 14 against UC Irvine. She is also now just three steals shy of equaling that program record and last week broke the Big Sky record for career 3-point attempts.
Clutch In Crunch Time
Sacramento State is 7-1 this season in games decided by six points or less with its only close loss at Portland State. The Hornets have outscored their opposition 47-37 in the last two minutes of those eight games and in the final minute had a 26-15 scoring edge.
Sacramento State has used 15 different starting lineups in 19 games this season and no starting lineup has been used more than twice. The starters for each game are picked from a statistical formula using the individual totals from the previous game, and with 11 different players seeing starts this season the combinations are, barring multiple injuries, almost endless. No Hornet has started every game this year as Fantasia Hilliard and Takara Burse are tied for the team lead with 17 starts apiece.