Photo Courtesy Robert Casey
OGDEN, Utah - In another low scoring contest Sacramento State held Weber State to just 66 points but the Wildcats forced 19 Sacramento State turnovers, 11 of which came in the decisive second half, and held the Hornets to a season-low 52 shot attempts in a 66-60 win on Thursday in Ogden.
Sacramento State (8-14, 4-7 Big Sky) dropped its third straight game after winning four of its five previous contests. The Hornets again put forth a strong defensive effort but scored less than 70 points for the third straight game after topping 70 in each of the first 19 games of the season.
The 52 field goal attempts match the fewest the Hornets have attempted in a game in nearly eight years, going back to 43 shots against Northern Colorado on March 7, 2009. On Thursday the Hornets led at halftime and shot a solid 43% from the field in the second half but attempted just 21 field goals, and only eight threes, in the 20 minute half.
The Hornets did shoot 16 free throws in Thursday's game, however, and made 15. Unfortunately that was counteracted by Weber State (11-11, 5-6 Big Sky) shooting an identical 15-of-16 at the line as the two teams combined to go 30-of-32 (94%) for the game.
Sacramento State battled back from an early eight-point deficit in the first quarter to take a 29-27 lead at the half. The Hornets outscored the Wildcats 16-2 in points off turnovers in the first half, forcing 12 turnovers with just eight of their own, and limited the home team to 2-of-13 shooting from 3-point range.
Weber State went ahead 33-32 midway through the third quarter before a 7-0 Hornet run gave Sacramento State a 39-33 lead with 2:39 left in the quarter. The Wildcats went back ahead by a point going to the fourth and started the final period on a 10-1 run to take a 54-44 lead. The Hornets got their deficit down to four points with less than two minutes to play but could get no closer.
Sacramento State stayed in the game with outstanding free throw shooting, making 15-of-16 as a team with junior Alexia Mefi (6-of-6) and senior Gretchen Harrigan (4-of-4) leading the way. Harrigan had a game-high 13 points while Mefi had a career-high 10 rebounds. Freshman Quayonna Harris chipped in a career-high 12 points, shooting 5-of-8 overall and 2-of-2 from beyond the arc, and senior Ashlyn Crenshaw finished with 11 points.
The Hornets actually had a higher field goal percentage than the Wildcats in the second half but were 2-of-8 from 3-point range while WSU was 5-of-12 from beyond the arc. Sacramento State had a 36-31 rebounding advantage with 12 offensive boards in the game but was outscored in second chance points, 8-6. The Hornets finished the game 5-of-19 (26%) from 3-point range and are now 1-11 this season when shooting below 30% from distance.
Sacramento State concludes its road trip at 1 p.m. Pacific time Saturday at Idaho State. The contest will be Bunky Harkleroad's 500th career game as a head coach.