GREELEY, Colo. – In a one-point game with four minutes to play, Sacramento State missed its last eight shots, including five layups, as well as a free throw and Northern Colorado scored the last six points of the game to claim a 62-55 win on Thursday night in Greeley.
Sacramento State (16-8, 8-7 Big Sky) had season lows in free throws made and attempted (4-of-7) and steals (3) and had its second lowest point total, field goal percentage (.297), and made field goals (19) of the year. Northern Colorado (14-11, 8-8 Big Sky) avenged a 74-64 loss to the Hornets in Sacramento in January, shooting 47.0% and winning despite not making a single 3-pointer (just three 3-point attempts).
The Hornets were held to 31.0% shooting in the first half but seven of their nine made field goals were 3-pointers. Sacramento State led 21-19 with eight minutes remaining in the half but then went scoreless for six and a half minutes as the Bears used a 10-0 run to take a 29-21 lead. Sacramento State hit a pair of late three's, including a made long ball from senior Sadie Clements to end the first half, and trailed just 31-27 at halftime.
Sacramento State tied the game on four different occasions in the second half but never regained the lead. Northern Colorado did not lead by more than six in the second period and, after a jumper from freshman Hallie Gennett with 4:06 to play, the Hornets trailed just 56-55.
Both teams went ice cold from there, with Northern Colorado missing two shots and four free throws over the next three minutes and, despite the Hornets not scoring, leading by just two points with 30 seconds left. UNC's Molly Duehn made one of two free throws with 29 seconds left to stay at just a one possession lead, but after the Hornets were rejected on a layup the Bears converted their last four free throw attempts to clinch the win.
The Bears outshot the Hornets 52.4% to 28.6% in the second half, but the Hornets had a 20-19 rebounding edge in the second period with 12 offensive boards. Sacramento State did make 13 three-pointers in the game, just above its NCAA-leading season average, but the lack of free throw attempts and shooting just 6-of-24 (25%) on 2-point shots doomed the visitors.
Freshman Gigi Hascheff led the team with 13 points and had six rebounds but shot just 4-of-12. Gennett had 11 points and Clements had nine points as Hascheff, Gennett, and Clements each made three 3-pointers. Takara Burse and Margaret Huntington each had seven rebounds for the Hornets while Kim Lockridge led UNC with 19 points and seven boards and Stephanie Lee had 18 points and five blocks.
Northern Colorado committed just 11 turnovers in the game, by far the fewest turnovers against the Hornets this season, as Sacramento State had just three steals after going into the game leading the NCAA with 14.3 steals per game. The Hornets also were just +1 in turnover margin, well below their national-leading 9.96 season turnover margin.
Sacramento State faces Big Sky-leading North Dakota at noon Pacific time on Saturday. UND, which lost to the Hornets 110-104 in January, improved to 17-8 overall and 12-4 in conference play with a 71-41 thrashing of Northern Arizona on Thursday.