SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Kennedy Nicholas put on an incredible display Wednesday night in the Nest, finishing with a career-high 30 points and matching her career-best with 18 rebounds. Despite the showing by the junior forward, Sacramento State was unable to overcome an early deficit and fell 86-75 to the San Francisco Dons.
The loss is the first of the year at home for the Hornets, who fall to 3-2 on the season. The Dons climb to 3-5.
Nicholas started strong for Sacramento State, finishing the first quarter with seven points and four rebounds. She took over the Hornets offense in the second quarter, scoring 12 more points and pulling in six more rebounds. The junior forward, who recorded a double-double in the team's last game, went into the half with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
She slowed down slightly out of the break, but finished with 11 second-half points and eight second-half rebounds.
In total, Nicholas finished with 30 points - a new career best - on 10-for-14 shooting. She was also 10-for-15 from the free throw line. She added two steals, a block, and an assist in the effort.
Her 18 total rebounds match her career-best - a mark she set just a few days ago in Sacramento State's win over Antelope Valley. Perhaps most impressive, 10 of her 18 rebounds came off the offensive glass.
Nicholas entered Wednesday night's matchup averaging 7.0 offensive rebounds and 13.8 total rebounds per game, the best mark in the NCAA and the 4th best, respectively.
After Wednesday's performance, Nicholas is now averaging 7.4 offensive rebounds and 14.6 rebounds per game. As of Wednesday night, those are the best and second best marks in the country, respectively.
Despite an all-around showing by Nicholas, Sacramento State was unable to overcome a significant early deficit. The Hornets scored just 13 points in the first quarter and trailed by as many as 21 midway through the second quarter.
However, after trailing 52-39 at the half, the Hornets dominated the third quarter, holding the Dons to just nine points while scoring 21 of their own. Although they were unable to take the lead, Sacramento State trailed by just one at the end of the third.
Sacramento State finally took back the lead in the fourth quarter, 67-66 on a Nicholas layup around the seven-minute mark before a Raegen Rohn free-throw made it a 68-67 Hornets lead a minute later. From there, though, it was all San Francisco as the Dons outscored the Hornets 19-7 over the game's final six minutes.
Hannah Friend and Tiara Scott were both in double-digits for Sacramento State. Friend scored 13 for the Hornets while pulling down seven rebounds (three offensive) while Scott scored 11 with four assists.
Despite the team's big-three all finishing in double figures, the team as a whole shot just 37.7% from the floor including a season-worst 10.0% from beyond the arc (3-30). In addition, struggles at the free throw line proved costly as the team was just 14-for-25 (56.0%).
Seven different players grabbed a steal on the night, though as a team, the Dons out-stole the Hornets, 14-13. The two teams were nearly even in total turnovers, with San Francisco committing 23 to Sacramento State's 22.
For the Dons, Shannon Powell scored a career-high 25 points as the team shot 50.0% from the floor. Abby Rathburn and Veronica Preciado paced the Dons with eight rebounds each.
The loss drops the Hornets record to 3-2 overall and 2-1 in the Nest. They will look to bounce back from Wednesday night's loss immediately as they welcome Causeway rivals UC Davis to the Nest on Friday, Dec. 7.
Friday night's contest is set to begin at 7:05 p.m. with doors open at 6. More details, including information on tickets and scheduling, can be found online at HornetSports.com.