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WOMEN’S BASKETBALL DROPS NAIL-BITER VS. PORTLAND STATE, 88-86

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL DROPS NAIL-BITER VS. PORTLAND STATE, 88-86

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - In a game with 10 ties and 12 lead changes, Sacramento State had the ball down two points with 14 seconds left but was unable to make a three on its final shot as Portland State pulled out an 88-86 win on Saturday in The Nest.

The Hornets inbounded in front of their bench with 14 seconds left and were able to create a good look at a potential game-winning 3-pointer, but senior Emily Easom's shot with two seconds left would not go. Senior Margaret Huntington pulled in the rebound but the clock expired before she could attempt a put back.

Sacramento State (4-10, 0-3 Big Sky) made 15 3-pointers and forced 27 Viking turnovers, but Portland State (7-8, 1-2 Big Sky) shot 56% overall and was 7-of-12 (58%) from 3-point range. The Hornets had won five straight meetings and nine of their last ten games against the Vikings.

There were six ties and six lead changes just in the fourth quarter. The Hornets led by as many as four points and the Vikings by as many as six, but the game was tied 84-84 with under a minute to play. Portland State's Kian McNair drained a 3-pointer with 49 seconds left before senior Ashlyn Crenshaw got a two to go for the Hornets.

Up one point, Portland State drew a foul with 14 seconds left and Ashley Bolston made one of two free throws. After a Hornet timeout the home team went for a winning three but the shot missed off the rim.

Junior Maranne Johnson, who came into the game leading NCAA Div. I with 3.85 made 3-pointers per game, hit six long balls on Saturday and finished with 23 points as well as five steals. She was one of five Hornets in double-figures, with Crenshaw tallying 16 points, five rebounds, and four assists and Easom scoring 13.

Playing in her first game of the season after recovering from a toe injury, senior Gretchen Harrigan provided a spark off the bench and tallied 11 points and four rebounds in 17 minutes. Freshman Tiara Scott nearly had her first career double-double, finishing with 10 points and a career-high nine assists.

Portland State shot at least 47% in each quarter and led by as many as six points in the first quarter. The second was the best quarter for the Hornets, in which they shot 6-of-14 from 3-point range and outscored the Vikings 26-15, ending the first half on a 7-0 run to lead 44-35 at the intermission.

Easom hit a jumper to open the third quarter and give the Hornets a game-high 11-point lead at 46-35. A 28-13 Portland State run put the Vikings up 63-59 in the final minute of the quarter but the Hornets got two late baskets to draw even at 63-63 going to the fourth. Both teams were 9-of-17 overall and both made three 3-pointers in the final quarter, but two more PSU free throw makes was the difference.

Bolston had a career-high 29 points along with six rebounds, six assists, and four steals. Sidney Rielly finished with 25 points and seven rebounds and Courtney West had 12 points and 12 rebounds as those three players combined for 66 of the team's 88 points. The Vikings had a 49-44 rebounding edge though the Hornets had 22 offensive boards and 18 second chance points.

Sacramento State committed just four turnovers in the first half but had eight in the second half. The home team scored 23 points off turnovers and had 16 steals. The Hornets got to the free throw line for just six shots in the game, making five, as Portland State was whistled for just eight fouls while the Hornets had 17.

The Hornets have two more home games next week, hosting Southern Utah at 7:05 p.m. Thursday and Northern Arizona at 2:05 p.m. next Saturday.