SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Junior Maranne Johnson led five Hornets in double figures with 22 points, senior Margaret Huntington had another monster game on the glass with 17 rebounds, and the Hornets shot a season-best 16-of-33 (48.5%) from 3-point range in a 97-85 victory over Hofstra on Friday in The Nest.
Sacramento State (2-4) posted its highest 3-point percentage in a game since January 2015 and had its best shooting game in which it made double-digit threes under fourth-year head coach Bunky Harkleroad. The Hornets defeated a Hofstra (3-2) team that reached the quarterfinals of the WNIT last season and has recorded consecutive 20-win seasons.
"I thought we played hard throughout the entire game and had fewer mental breakdowns (than previous games)," Harkleroad said. "We showed some really good signs just in terms of growing up a little bit. Our players were more in tune today and our focus was better than it has been."
With his team still missing several key players due to injuries, Harkleroad employed just a nine-player rotation on Friday. The team responded with both its best offensive and defensive performances of the season, holding an opponent below 90 points and posting a higher field goal percentage than its opposition for the first time this year.
Johnson scored a team season-high 22 points while knocking down a season-high six 3-pointers. Huntington posted her third straight double-digit rebounding game and has now totaled 47 rebounds in her last three contests with two 17-rebound performances. She also scored 11 points on Friday for her eighth career double-double.
Senior Ashlyn Crenshaw shot 8-of-12 overall and 2-of-3 from 3-point range for 18 points while also grabbing six boards. Freshman Tiara Scott made three shots from beyond the arc and had 15 points and six assists and sophomore Raegen Rohn also made a trio of threes and scored a career-high 13 points shooting 5-of-8 from the field.
The Hornets got off to a quick start on Friday, leading by as many as 14 points in the first quarter at 21-7 through six and a half minutes of play. Sacramento State led 24-18 at the end of the quarter but Hofstra had a 31-13 run bridging the first two quarters to go ahead 38-34 at the 4:48 mark of the second.
Hofstra led 48-43 with 1:51 left in the first half, but the Hornets ended the half on a 7-0 run, capped by a 3-point buzzer-beater by Scott for just past the center court line to put the home team up 50-48 at the break.
Hofstra moved back ahead by a 53-52 score a minute and a half into the third quarter, but Johnson spurred a massive 28-7 run over the next 10 minutes (into the fourth quarter) to put the Hornets up 80-60. The run included 3-point makes by Johnson on three consecutive possessions for her own 9-0 run over less than a minute.
Sacramento State outscored Hofstra 26-12 in the third quarter as the Pride shot just 4-of-18 (22.2%) overall and 1-of-5 from 3-point range in the period. After taking the 20-point lead with nine minutes left to play the Hornets led by at least 12 points the rest of the way.
The Hornets and the Pride finished tied with 51 rebounds and 21 assists apiece. Sacramento State had 22 offensive boards and outscored Hofstra 29-14 in second chance points and outscored the visitors in the paint, 42-38.
Hofstra committed just 12 turnovers and forced the Hornets into 15 and, in an extreme rarity for Sacramento State, the Hornets were outscored 25-16 in points off turnovers. Ashunae Durant led Hofstra with 23 points and 17 rebounds but shot just 7-of-25 (28%).
Sacramento State plays two more home games next week, hosting Stanislaus State at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday before welcoming Pac-12 school USC next Saturday, Dec. 3, at 7:35 p.m.