SACRAMENTO, Calif. - After a 97-85 home win over Hofstra on Friday, Sacramento State (2-4) continues a three-game homestand hosting Stanislaus State (2-5) at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday in The Nest.
The Starting Five
- Senior Margaret Huntington has 47 rebounds in her last three games, including a pair of 17-rebound contests. She is one of just four NCAA Div. I players with 17 or more rebounds in two games this season and leads the Big Sky and ranks 22nd in NCAA Div. I with 64 total rebounds this year.
- In three home games this season the Hornets have averaged 96.3 points per game shooting 42.2% overall and 37.0% from 3-point range. The team is averaging 17.5 made 3-pointers with 41.7% shooting from the arc in their two home wins with at least 16 made 3-pointers in both contests.
- Sacramento State's 48.5% 3-point shooting mark against Hofstra was the second best the team has shot in the last four years but was the top long range shooting performance in a game in which the team made 10 or more threes. The Hornets finished 16-of-33 from distance against the Pride.
- Stanislaus State is the third straight first time opponent of the Hornets. After Tuesdays, game, Sacramento State has faced every remaining regular season opponent in at least the last two seasons. After the USC game, the team's 21 remaining games will be against team it faced just last year.
- An NCAA Div. II school located in Turlock, Stanislaus State was picked to finish second in the CCAA preseason coaches' poll after going 16-11 last year. The Warriors, who are averaging just 59.4 points per game this year, lost two exhibition games vs. Div. I opponents but fell just 91-77 vs. Nevada.
Scouting Stanislaus State (2-5)
An NCAA Div. II school located in Turlock, Stanislaus State is 2-5 this year with wins over Academy of Art and Metro State. The Warriors played two exhibition games against Div. I schools leading into the season, losing at UC Davis 84-47 and at Nevada 91-77 (The Hornets beat two Div. II teams in exhibitions, both by 35 or more points). Stanislaus State went 16-11 last year and was picked to finish second out of 12 teams in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) preseason coaches poll. The Warriors returned three All-CCAA players and have been led in scoring by Sacramento product Ana Burch, who is averaging 11.9 points per game. As a team Stanislaus State is averaging just 59.4 points per game shooting 36.7% from the field but does average 10.1 steals per game. The Hornets and Warriors have never before met in a regular season game.
Dominating the Glass
Senior forward Margaret Huntington has totaled an astounding 47 rebounds in her last three games. The stretch includes a pair of 17-rebound games, against New Mexico State and Hofstra, as well as a 13-rebound performance. She is one of just four NCAA Div. I players that has totaled 17 or more rebounds in two games this year. That total was one shy of her career high of 18 boards, and the three huge rebounding games came after she scored a career-high 19 points shooting 9-of-12 vs. Nevada. With 11 points against Hofstra she recorded her eight career double-double and is averaging a double-double with 10.8 points and 13.5 rebounds per game while shooting 60% from the field over her last four contests. Her 64 total rebounds this season lead the Big Sky and rank 22nd in NCAA Div. I. She was named to the all-tournament team at the Bank of Hawaii Classic and was the Federated Insurance Sacramento State Student-Athlete of the Week last week.
Best Day From Three
In the win over Hofstra, Sacramento State put together arguably its best 3-point shooting performance in four seasons under coach Bunky Harkleroad. The team's 48.5% 3-point shooting mark was the second best the team has shot in the last four years but was the No. 1 shooting performance in a game in which the team made 10 or more threes. The Hornets finished 16-of-33 from distance against the Pride, knocking down at least three 3-pointers in each quarter. Maranne Johnson hit six while Tiara Scott (3-of-4), Raegen Rohn (3-of-6), and Ashlyn Crenshaw (2-of-3) were the most efficient long-range shooters.
Sacramento State is in the midst of a three-game home stand and has begun the year 2-1 on its home floor. In three home games this season the Hornets have averaged 96.3 points per game shooting 42.2% overall and 37.0% from 3-point range. In three away games (one road game and two neutral site games) the Hornets have averaged just 87.3 points while shooting 38.5% overall and 24.1% from the arc. The team has also averaged 16.3 steals per game at home compared to 12.3 steals per contest outside of The Nest.
The 3-point shot has been as critical as ever in Sacramento State's early season success this year. The Hornets are averaging 17.5 made 3-pointers and 41.7% shooting from the arc in their two wins against 8.0 3-point makes per game and 22.7% shooting from long range in the four losses. The team has made at least 16 threes and shot at least 37% from three in its wins.
Sacramento State plays its third consecutive game against a first-time opponent. Youngstown State was the first such opponent followed by Hofstra and concluding with Stanislaus State. After Tuesday's game, the Hornets have faced every remaining regular season opponent in at least the last two seasons. Sacramento State faced USC two years ago while the 21 remaining games will be against teams it played just last season.
Turning Over and Over
The Hornets have forced 149 turnovers in six games, creating at least 30 opponent giveaways in three games and 24 in another. Sacramento State led NCAA Div. I with 24.16 turnovers forced per game last season and is averaging 24.83 so far this year. The Hornets have scored 155 points off those 149 forced turnovers, outscoring the opposition 155-130 in that category while creating 14 more shots per game than their opponents.
Throughout her career senior Ashlyn Crenshaw has been one of the best shooting guards in the Big Sky in terms of field goal percentage. She is a 43% field goal shooter for her career and has been even better so far this season, shooting 30-of-56 (53.6%) from the field through six games. She was 5-for-7 at San Francisco and 8-of-12 against both Cal Poly and Hofstra, consistently getting to the basket and finishing in close. She ranks fourth on the team scoring 11.7 points and is second in the Big Sky in field goal percentage. She also paces the team defensively, leading the Big Sky and ranking 34th in NCAA Div. I with 17 steals this year.
Sacramento State played three straight games against teams that played in the postseason last year. Hofstra made the semifinals of the WNIT last year while New Mexico State was in the NCAA Tournament and Youngstown State reached the semifinals of the WBI. The Hornets also opened the year against NCAA Tournament team San Francisco and will face multiple Pac-12 teams for the fourth straight year, hosting USC and playing at California, which received votes in the preseason polls. In all the Hornets will play 10 games against teams that reached the postseason last year.
Seniors Brianna Burgos and Gretchen Harrigan, two of the team's top three returning scorers from last season, both have not played yet this season due to injury. Burgos missed the last four games of the 2015-16 with a knee injury and is still working her way back while Harrigan was injured in the preseason. Senior forward Kyhonta Doughty and junior guard Taylor Brown are also sidelined with injuries as half of the team's senior class is on the sidelines.
Redshirt senior Emily Easom has played three seasons of Big Sky basketball but just made her Hornet debut this year. A former two-time all-Big Sky selection at Portland State, Easom transferred to Sacramento State after three seasons as a Viking. After having to redshirt last year, Easom is second on the team with 13.3 points per game this year with 15 or more points scored in four contests. She made five 3-pointers, including the winning shot with 12 seconds left, against Cal Poly and leads the team shooting 35% from 3-point range, making 14-of-40 shots from the arc.
Pac The Nest
Sacramento State will host a Pac-12 team in The Nest for the second consecutive season when the team faces USC on Saturday. The Hornets hosted No. 19 UCLA in The Nest last season and will be playing multiple Pac-12 teams for the fourth straight season, playing at Cal for the third straight year. The Hornets have three wins all-time against Pac-12 teams but are 0-4 all-time hosting Pac-12 schools.
Filling the Void
Sacramento State's five eligible newcomers this season have been pressed into action with the team missing four injured returners and have had strong starts to their Hornet careers. Freshman Tiara Scott is averaging 12.0 points and 3.0 assists per game and freshman Quayonna Harris has chipped in 6.3 points per game. Freshman Kennedy Nicholas and junior transfer Alexia Mefi have helped fill Doughty's role in the post, with Nicholas leading the team with five blocked shots and averaging 3.2 rebounds, and Dajhae Mullins has contributed 7.2 points and 4.0 rebounds per contest shooting 44.1% from the field.
Junior guard Maranne Johnson scored a team season-high 22 points against Hofstra and has three straight double-digit scoring games. She leads the Big Sky with 20 made 3-pointers ranks third in steals while playing a team-high 25.7 minutes per game. Johnson had a fantastic end to her sophomore season, scoring at least 15 points in eight of the last 11 games last year. She scored a career-high 31 points and 25 points in the team's two Big Sky Tournament games last year and finished the year with 22 double-digit scoring games and eight 20-point games.
A Veteran Squad
The Sacramento State roster has 20 total years of experience playing under coach Bunky Harkleroad, a far cry from the experience the team had through Harkleroad's first three seasons leading the program. The six-member senior class and the five-member junior class are both the biggest the team has had in the last four years.
Sacramento State has 86 steals in five games after again leading NCAA Div. I averaging 14.9 steals per game last year. The Hornets have led NCAA Div. I in steals for three consecutive seasons and averaged 2.3 more steals per game than the second place school in the nation, Santa Clara, last year. The Hornets also own the Big Sky record for steals in a game, tallying 30 at Portland State in 2015.
Sacramento State has used a different starting lineup in all six games this season. The starters for each game are typically picked from a statistical formula using the individual totals from the previous game. The team used 22 different starting lineups in 31 games last year with just four lineups used more than once after rolling out 30 starting lineups in 34 games during the 2014-15 season.