BOZEMAN, Mont. – Sacramento State opened the game shooting 1-of-18 and could never recover, trailing by at least nine points over the final 33 minutes of the game and shooting a season-worst 25.6% from the field in an 81-63 loss at Montana State.
The Hornets and Bobcats ended the season tied for sixth place in the Big Sky with 10-10 conference marks, but Montana State had the tiebreaker to be the No. 6 seed for the Big Sky Tournament while Sacramento State will be the seventh and final seed. Sacramento State will play in the first game of the tournament next Thursday at 12:30 p.m. Pacific time in Grand Forks, N.D., facing No. 2 seed Southern Utah, which tied for the Big Sky regular season title.
The Hornets could not find the range at all in the early going, shooting 1-of-18 from the field over the first eight and a half minutes of the contest as MSU opened a 16-4 lead. Sacramento State got its offense going a bit after that, but Montana State shot 51.5% in the half and continued to increase its lead. MSU led by 21 points with 40 seconds left in the half but Hornet senior Sadie Clements hit a pair of threes over the final 31 seconds to get the Hornets within a 40-25 deficit at the intermission.
Sacramento State senior Alle Moreno hit a quick three to open the second half followed by a Hornet layup by Gigi Hascheff to extend to an 11-0 run and cut the deficit to 40-30. The Bobcats scored the next six points, however, and eventually moved back to a 19-point advantage. Sacramento State was able to get as close as a nine-point margin with 9:33 to play but could get no closer.
Montana State outshot Sacramento State .525-.256 as the Hornets shot just 19.1% overall in the first half and were 5-for-32 (15.6%) from 3-point range. The Hornets had 26 offensive rebounds and forced 21 turnovers but were outscored 20-5 in points off turnovers. Sacramento State finished with 11 made 3-pointers in 49 attempts (22.4%).
Five Bobcats scored in double figures with Jasmine Hommes leading the way with 21 points and Jackie Elliot scoring 15 with 11 rebounds. Moreno totaled 17 points and eight rebounds, making five 3-pointers and shooting 6-of-13 overall, while Hascheff had 15 points but shot 5-for-20.
Sacramento State ended the regular season with an 18-10 overall record and qualified for the Big Sky Tournament for the third consecutive year. The Big Sky Tournament schedule is as follows:
Big Sky Conference Tournament Schedule (All Times Pacific)
Betty Engelstad Sioux Center – Grand Forks, N.D.
Quarterfinals – Thursday, March 13
12:30 p.m. - #2 Southern Utah vs. #7 Sacramento State
3:00 p.m. - #3 Montana vs. #6 Montana State
5:30 p.m. - #4 Eastern Washington vs. #5 Idaho State
Semifinals – Friday, March 14
3:00 p.m. – Lowest remaining seed vs. #1 North Dakota
5:30 p.m. – Highest remaining seeds from semi-finals
Championship – Saturday, March 15
1:00 p.m. – Championship Game