WOMEN'S HOOPS TAKES ON PEPPERDINE, ILLINOIS IN THANKSGIVING TOURNAMENT

WOMEN'S HOOPS TAKES ON PEPPERDINE, ILLINOIS IN THANKSGIVING TOURNAMENT

Women's Basketball Game Notes, 11/21 - PDF

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Sacramento State women's basketball team will travel to San Luis Obispo for a two-day Thanksgiving tournament beginning Friday. The Hornets will face the Pepperdine Waves on Friday before going up against Illinois on Saturday in the ShareSLO Holiday Classic, hosted by the Cal Poly Mustangs.

How To Watch

Hornets vs. Pepperdine
Friday, Nov. 23 // 4:35 PM PT
Mott Athletics Center // San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Live Stats: HornetSports.com
Twitter: @SacStateWBB

Hornets vs. Illinois
Saturday, Nov. 24 // 2:05 PM PT
Mott Athletics Center // San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Live Stats: HornetSports.com
Twitter: @SacStateWBB

All home Sacramento State basketball games and all Big Sky Conference games will be streamed live online at WatchBigSky.com and on Pluto.TV, channel 233. 

All streaming links, news, and updates can also be found by visiting the 2018 Women's Basketball Schedule online at HornetSports.com.

Opening Tip

  • Sacramento State opened the 2018-19 season with a win at home over the visiting Cal Poly Mustangs, 88-85 on Sunday, Nov. 11. They are 1-0 to start a season for the first time since 2015-16 season. 
  • Junior guard Hannah Friend led the Hornets with 25 points in the win, going 9-for-23 from the floor and 5-for-6 from the free throw line. The 25 point performance was the 14th career 20+-point game for Friend, who led the team with 13 such games last season. 
  • Tiara Scott set a new career mark with five steals in Sacramento State's season-opening win, passing her previous career-high of four (2x, last vs. Nevada, 11/16/16). Additionally, Scott also led the Hornets with five assists in the win. 
  • Kennedy Nicholas pulled in 13 rebounds against the Mustangs in the team's opener, including six offensive boards. Nicholas had 10 or more rebounds seven times last year, including her career best, 15. 
  • Sacramento State's last scheduled game, a home  tilt against the defending Big Ten Ohio State Buckeyes, was canceled due to unhealthy air quality levels in Northern California over the weekend.

By The Numbers

91: Shots taken in Sacramento State's 88-85 win over Cal Poly. The team averaged 77.5 shots per game last season.

14: Different players used in Sunday's season-opener against Cal Poly, four more than the most used in a game last year.

34: Turnovers forced against Cal Poly (compared to 16 of their own), which turned into 32 points off turnovers. 

Against Pepperdine

The Hornets first weekend matchup comes against the Pepperdine Waves, who enter the tournament with a 1-0 record and will face Cal Poly on Saturday. Sacramento State last faced Pepperdine over a decade ago in the 1994-95 season. The Hornets are 0-2 all-time against the Waves.

Against Illinois

Sacramento State's game against Illinois on Saturday is the first meeting between the two teams. The Fighting Illini are 3-0 coming into this weekend's tournament and will face host Cal Poly on Friday. 

Against the Big Ten

Saturday's game against Illinois will be Sacramento State's third game against a Big Ten opponent since moving to Div. I in 1991. The Hornets are 0-2 against the Big Ten (Penn, Ohio State). Sacramento State was supposed to face another Big Ten opponent - Ohio State - last week before that game was canceled.

Ohio State Canceled

Sacramento State's game against Ohio State, scheduled for Friday, Nov. 16, was canceled due to hazardous air quality levels in Northern California over the weekend. Ohio State canceled its entire West Coast trip, also canceling a scheduled game at Stanford. The game will not be made up this season, though the two teams are looking at possibilities for the 2019-2020 season. 

Off On The Right Foot

Sacramento State opened the 2018-19 season last Sunday, Nov. 11 with a home win over the visiting Cal Poly Mustangs, 88-85. The Hornets were outshot in the effort, 44.0% to 35.2%, but took advantage of 34 Mustangs turnovers to secure the win.

The Hornets are off to a 1-0 start to the season for the first time since the 2015-16 season, when they opened the year with a 95-86 win on the road at Utah State. 

With a win on Friday, Sacramento State can get off to their first 2-0 start to a season since Coach Harkleroad's debut season in Sacramento in 2013-14. 

More Time In The Nest

Four of Sacramento State's first six games this year will be played on their home court in the Nest in Sacramento. Last year, the Hornets played just one non-conference game at home. 

Further, Sacramento State plays just one true road game during their non-conference schedule this season, a game at New Mexico against the Lobos. The Hornets' three remaining non-conference away games are on neutral courts. 

Everyone's Getting Involved

The Hornets used all 14 of their active players in their season opener against Cal Poly. Five of the 14 players used logged 20 or more minutes while another five totaled at least 10 minutes. 12 of the 14 players used appeared on the stat sheet, either scoring points or recording a steal, in the win. 

Hannah Friend, Tiara Scott, Kennedy Nicholas, and Raegen Rohn each led the team with 23 minutes. Last season, the Hornets never used more than 10 players in a game. 

Winning The Turnover Battle

Sacramento State forced the Cal Poly mustangs to commit 34 turnovers in their season opener while committing just 16 turnovers of their own.

The Hornets have finished first or second in the Big Sky in turnover margin in each of the last five seasons and among the top 15 in four of the last five. During that stretch was a program-best 11.97 turnover margin in 2014-15, the best in the nation. Sacramento State advanced to their first WNIT appearance that season. 

Scott Sets New Career Mark

Junior guard Tiara Scott set a career-best when she collected five steals in the team's 88-85 win over Cal Poly. Scott's previous career-mark was four steals in a single game, a number she had reached twice in her career (last vs. Nevada, 11/16/16). 

Assist Leader Scott 

Last year's assist leader, Tiara Scott continued that trend with a team-high five assists against Cal Poly. She averaged 3.4 assists per game last season while totaling a team-high 103 for the season. Scott's 5:1 assist-to-turnover ratio is third best in the Big Sky after the season's first week. 

Friend Finds 20+

Hannah Friend led the Hornets with a team-high 25 points against Cal Poly.  She was 9-of-23 (2-for-13 from three) from the floor and 5-of-6 from the free throw line. Friend has scored 20 or more points in 14 of her 31 career games, including a career-high 34 vs. UC Riverside last season. 

Attacking The Boards

Last year's leading rebounder, junior forward Kennedy Nicholas pulled in a team-best 13 rebounds against Cal Poly, just two off her career-high (15 at Eastern Washington). Of those 13 rebounds, six came off the offensive glass. Although early, Nicholas ranks second in the Big Sky with six offensive boards per game. 

You Get a Steal, You Get a Steal!

Nine of Sacramento State's 14 players recorded at least one steal in their season-opening win against Cal Poly. Tiara Scott led the team with five, seven others had two steals, and one had one steal. The Hornets' 20 total steals on Sunday are their most since recording 20 in a game in January of the 2016-17 season. 

A Come From Behind Win

Sacramento State trailed on Sunday, 48-47 at the half and again 70-66 heading into the third quarter, before coming from behind to win 88-85. Last year, Sacramento State was 0-23 in games in which they trailed or were tied at halftime. 

Putting Up 100

Head coach Bunky Harkleroad has said that his team's goal is to take 100 shots a game. The Hornets finished just shy of that mark in their season opener, taking 91 total shots. Including their preseason exhibition game (92 shots), the Hornets are averaging 91.5 shots per game through two games.

Home Openers

With their season-opening win over Cal Poly, the Hornets improved to 4-2 in home openers under head coach Bunky Harkleroad.  

A Refreshed Roster

The Sacramento State women's basketball team opens the 2018-19 season with 17 active players on the roster, its most ever under head coach Bunky Harkleroad (sixth season). Last season, Sacramento State had 11 active players (plus two redshirts). Because of injuries, the Hornets spent much of the season with just eight available players.

Returning Numbers

Statistically speaking, Sacramento State is returning most of its production from a year ago. The Hornets return 65.4% of their total points and 59.9% of their total rebounds. While they are returning fewer than half of their total assists (47.5%), they are returning last year's assist leader, Tiara Scott (103 total assists, 3.4 apg). 

Leaders Returning

The Hornets 2018-19 roster features nine total returners, including three returners. The trio of returning starters includes last year's leading scorer, Hannah Friend (17.5 ppg), last year's leading rebounder, Kennedy Nicholas (7.0), and last year's assist leader, Tiara Scott (3.4 apg). 

International Influence

Three of Sacramento State's newcomers are from outside the United States. Claire Bady, a transfer from Eastern Florida, is originally from France, while Emily Enochs comes to Sacramento State from Germany. Julynne de Silva Sa, a transfer from Northwest College, is from Brazil.

Around the Country

In addition to three players from outside the country, the 2018-19 roster includes players from eight different states. California remains the team's most-represented state with six players. 

Line Changes, Presses, and Steals, Oh My!

With a full roster under his command, head coach Bunky Harkleroad and the Sacramento State women's basketball program have returned to the aggressive style of play that brought them success early in coach Harkleroad's time in Sacramento.

The style features regular five-for-five substitutions and a constant back court press on defense. The Hornets look to force turnovers and create shooting opportunities as quickly and as often as possible with aggressive full court pressure at all times. 

Streak Snapped

Last year's seven-win season was the first season with fewer than 10 wins since 2010-11, when Sacramento State won just four games. From 2011-2017, the Hornets averaged 15 wins per season.

Big Sky Gets a Little Smaller

With the departure of North Dakota from the Big Sky, the Big Sky Conference now includes 11 women's basketball programs. While the total number of conference games remains the same as last season (20), those 20 games now features a home-and-home with each of the other 10 teams. 

Big Sky Preseason Poll

Sacramento State was selected ninth in both the Big Sky's Coaches Preseason Poll and Media Preseason Poll. The Hornets received 28 total points in the Coaches Poll, 10 behind Weber State for the ninth spot. In the Media Poll, Sacramento State received 57 points, a full 43 back of Weber State. 

- HornetSports.com -