SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Northern Colorado shot 63% overall and was 12-of-26 from 3-point range with three players topping 20 points in a 102-74 win over Sacramento State in the regular season finale on Friday in The Nest.
The outcome of the game ended up having no impact on Sacramento State's first round Big Sky Tournament matchup, as the Hornets (10-19, 6-12 Big Sky) finished tied with Weber State for eighth place in the final conference standings and will face the Wildcats to open Big Sky Tournament play at 12:05 p.m. Monday in Reno in the 8-9 matchup.
Sacramento State and Weber State both finished 6-12 in league play, with Weber State earning the No. 8 seed and the Hornets No. 9 based on tiebreakers. The teams met just once in the regular season, with Weber State pulling out a 66-60 win on its home floor in Ogden, Utah.
Northern Colorado (22-7, 14-4 Big Sky) earned the No. 3 seed for the conference championship and a bye into the quarterfinal round on Wednesday. The Bears played at an extremely high level on Friday in the Nest, shooting over 66% in three of the four quarters and outrebounding the Hornets 43-32.
Sacramento State junior guard Maranne Johnson had a team-high 18 points shooting 4-of-9 from 3-point range. Her second three of the night established a new single-season program record for made 3-pointers, as she now has a hit a record 89 threes this year.
Johnson made a pair of threes and had eight points in the first quarter as the Hornets shot 59% in the opening period but Northern Colorado was 13-of-18 (72%) and led 29-25 going to the second. Sacramento State struggled shooting in the second quarter, making just 4-of-18 shots (22%) as the Bears started to pull away. UNC shot 67% in the second and opened up a 53-39 lead at halftime.
The visitors blew the game open in the third quarter as, after the Hornets scored the first two points of the second half, Northern Colorado had a 21-6 run over the next six minutes to open up a 74-47 lead. The Bears led by at least 20 points for the entire fourth quarter with their lead peeking at 31 with just under four minutes remaining.
Senior Brianna Burgos, one of five Hornet seniors honored prior to their final home game, shot 5-of-9 overall and 2-of-5 from 3-point range for 14 points. Freshman Tiara Scott had nine points and a team-high five assists while seniors Ashlyn Crenshaw and Gretchen Harrigan each had eight points and senior Margaret Huntington had a team-high seven rebounds.
Northern Colorado center Courtney Smith was a perfect 12-of-12 from the field and had 24 points. Savannah Scott nearly had a triple-double with 25 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists and Savannah Smith tallied 20 points, four rebounds, and six steals.
Sacramento State has won its first Big Sky Tournament game in each of the last two seasons. If the Hornets can defeat Weber State on Monday they would move on to face No. 1 seed Montana State in the quarterfinal round at 12:05 p.m. Wednesday.