MISSOULA, Mont. – With 15 3-pointers made in the game Sacramento State surpassed the NCAA Div. I single season record for made 3-pointers, but Montana totaled nine three's itself and shot 55.9% overall in an 87-76 win Thursday night in Missoula.
Sacramento State entered the game with 336 made 3-pointers on the season, just six shy of the NCAA season record of 342 3-point makes set by Florida Gulf Coast in 2012. Junior Shanti Smith made the Hornets sixth three of the night to tie the record at the 8:56 mark of the opening half and with 7:17 remaining freshman Hallie Gennett hit the record breaker. The Hornets had previously broken the national record for three point attempts in a season last Thursday.
The Hornets (18-10, 10-9 Big Sky) shot a solid 8-of-17 from 3-point range in the first half (41.7%) but Montana (19-9, 13-6 Big Sky) made seven of its nine 3-pointers and shot 59.4% overall through the first 20 minutes. A 3-point strike from senior Alle Moreno brought the game even at 20-20 with 12:08 left in the half and the Montana lead was just three with 7:12 to play before a 13-4 run gave Montana a 12 point advantage.
The Lady Griz led 49-40 at the intermission and opened up a game-high 62-48 lead with 13:54 remaining in the game. The Hornets wouldn't go away, though, and brought their deficit down to just two points following a Sadie Clements 3-pointer with 9:08 to play. Sacramento State still trailed by just two at 71-69 with 8:31 left but Montana ended the game on a 16-7 run to finish the win.
Gennett hit five of the 15 Hornet three's in the game, leading the team with 17 points and adding four rebounds. Clements hit four treys and had 14 points and five boards while Moreno and junior Fantasia Hilliard also totaled 14 points, with Moreno adding eight rebounds and Hilliard totaling eight assists.
The Hornets had 19 offensive rebounds and were only outrebounded 42-39 overall, but Montana's .559-.355 edge in field goal percentage was the difference. Jordan Sullivan led the Griz with 21 points, 15 rebounds, and four blocks as Montana improved to 13-1 at home this season.
Sacramento State closes the regular season at 1 p.m. Saturday at Montana State (14-14, 9-10 Big Sky). Both teams have clinched Big Sky Tournament berths, and the Hornets could earn the No. 5 seed for the conference championship with a win but could finish as low as seventh with a loss.
Conference-leading North Dakota lost 73-53 at Southern Utah on Thursday, meaning the teams could finish tied for the Big Sky regular season title, but the Sacramento State loss actually clinched Big Sky Tournament hosting rights for North Dakota based on tiebreakers. UND will host the conference championship in Grand Forks next Thursday through Saturday.