WOMEN'S HOOPS TRAVEL TO NORTHERN COLORADO FOR SATURDAY'S BIG SKY OPENER

WOMEN'S HOOPS TRAVEL TO NORTHERN COLORADO FOR SATURDAY'S BIG SKY OPENER

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Sacramento State women's basketball team kicks off the 2018-19 Big Sky Conference schedule this weekend as they travel to Colorado to take on the Northern Colorado Bears on Saturday. Saturday's contest is scheduled for 1:05 pm PT and is Sacramento State's third straight conference opener on the road.

How To Watch

Hornets at Northern Colorado
Saturday, Dec. 29 // 1:05 PM PT
Bank of Colorado Arena // Greeley, Colo.
Watch: Pluto.TV, Ch. 241
Live Stats: UNCBears.com
Audio: UNCBears.com
Twitter: @SacStateWBB

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

All streaming links, news, and updates can also be found by visiting the 2018-19 Women's Basketball Schedule online at HornetSports.com.

Opening Tip

 

  • Saturday's game against Northern Colorado begins the 2018-19 Big Sky schedule for Sacramento State. The Hornets will play a home-and-home with each other team in the conference for a total of 20 Big Sky games. Last year, Sacramento State finished 5-13 against conference opponents.
  • Sacramento State concluded the non-conference schedule with a win on the road against Hampton University at the Lobo Invitational in New Mexico. The Hornets' 4-4 finish to non-conference is their best since going 8-1 to start the 2013-14 season.
  • Junior forward Kennedy Nicholas had 12 more rebounds in the Hornets' win over Hampton. She is now averaging 12.8 rebounds per game, most in the Big Sky and fourth most in all of NCAA. Nicholas is also averaging 6.0 offensive rebounds per game, tied for most in the nation.
  • Junior guard Hannah Friend scored 25 points in Sacramento State's win over Hampton, raising her points per game to 21.4. She is tied with Idaho's Mikayla Ferenz for highest ppg in the Big Sky.
  • Northern Colorado enters Saturday's game with a 5-4 record. They are perfect at home, where they are 3-0 and are averaging 66.7 points per game.

By the Numbers

6.0: Offensive rebounds per game for forward Kennedy Nicholas, tied for most in the nation.

15: National rank for Hannah Friend and her 21.4 points per game. She is tied for most in Big Sky.

20: Offensive rebounds per game for the Hornets, who rank second in the nation. 

About Last Game

Sacramento State went 1-1 in two games at the Lobo Invitational tournament in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

After falling to the host Lobos last Wednesday, 85-53, the Hornets bounced back on Thursday for a thrilling come-from behind win, 65-61, over the Hampton Pirates. 

In the two games, Hannah Friend paced the offense with 14 then 25 points while also pulling down a combined 13 rebounds. As usual, Kennedy Nicholas led the team in rebounds, pulling down 11 then 12 in the two games. Gabi Bade (7) and Tiara Scott (6) were the team's assist leaders during the tournament.

All-Tournament

Hannah Friend was named to the Lobos Invitational All-Tournament team, joining one players from Stephen F. Austin and three others from New Mexico. During the two games last week, Friend averaged 19.5 points and 6.5 points in 29.5 minutes per game.

Against Northern Colorado

Saturday's Big Sky opening matchup against Northern Colorado is Sacramento State's 25 against the Bears from Greeley. All-time, the Bears lead the Hornets, 14 games to nine, including wins in each of the last three. Sacramento State's last win against Northern Colorado came at home during the 2015-16 season. The Hornets have not beaten the Bears in Greeley since 2010.  

Scouting the Bears

  • Northern Colorado closed out its non-conference season with a 5-4 record, after falling at BYU.
  • In the game at BYU, Savannah Smith became the program's all-time leader in made 3-pointers with 208. Smith scored a team-leading 18 points in the game.
  • Alexis Chapman continues to be the Bears second leading scorer with 15 points at BYU. She is averaging 12.8 this season.
  • Ali Meyer stretched her streak of consecutive double-digit rebound games to seven, with 13 against UTC.
  • UNC joined the Big Sky in the 2006-07 season and has gone 124-99. Overall, the team is 136-137 against Big Sky schools.
  • The Bears enjoyed playing on their home court last season, going 11-3 inside Bank of Colorado Arena. Currently, UNC is on a nine-game win streak at home including being 3-0 this season.
  • For more on the UNC Bears, visit UNCBears.com

Leading the Big Sky

Sacramento State leads the Big Sky Conference in four different categories as the league begins conference play. The Hornets are tops in the Big Sky in Offensive Rebounds per Game (20.0), Total Rebounds per Game (46.4), Scoring Offense (79.1), and Three-Point FG Attempts (322). 

And Leading the Nation

Sacramento State ranks among the Top 10 in the NCAA in both Offensive Rebounds per Game (2nd, 20.0) and Total Rebounds per Game (7th, 46.4). They are also among the Top 25 when it comes to Three-Pointers Attempted (11th, 322) and Three-Pointers Made per Game (22nd, 9.3). 

Coming From Behind

Sacramento State's 65-61 win over Hampton was their third this season when trailing at halftime. Last year, the Hornets won just one game when entering the break behind. 

Additionally, two of those three come-from-behind wins saw the Hornets trailing entering the fourth quarter. Entering the fourth quarter, the Hornets trailed Cal Poly, 70-66 (won 88-85) and trailed Illinois, 85-80 (won 109-107). 

Protecting the Ball

Sacramento State ranks third in the Big Sky for fewest turnovers with 149 through eight games (18.7 per game). Conversely, they are forcing their opponents into 20.4 turnovers per game, the second most in the conference. The Hornets' 1.7 turnover margin is also second best in the league.

Wrapping Up Non-Conference

Sacramento State concludes the 2018-19 non-conference schedule with an even 4-4 overall record. Their four non-conference wins are their most since winning eight in 2013-14.

Opening Up Conference

Sacramento State opens the 2018-19 Big Sky Conference schedule on the road for the third straight season (2016-17 at UNC, 2017-18 at PSU). Since joining the Big Sky in 1996, the Hornets are 7-15 in league openers,, including 3-8 when starting on the road.

Everyone's Involved

11 of Sacramento State's 17 players are averaging double-digit minutes for the Hornets so far this season, including three over 20 minutes per game and another seven logging over 15 minutes per game. Junior guard Tiara Scott leads the team with 28.0 minutes per game while teammate Hannah Friend is right behind at 27.8. 

Big Ten Victory

The Hornets' 109-107 win over Illinois in the ShareSLO Holiday Classic Tournament earlier this season was the program's first over a Big Ten school. Entering that game, the Hornets were 0-2 against Big Ten programs over the course of their history. 

Home vs. Road

So far this season, Sacramento State is an even 2-2 at home and 2-2 when away from the Nest. The Hornets average 77.2 points per game inside the Nest while shooting 34.0% overall but just 16.8% from beyond the arc. On the road this season (one road, three neutral), the Hornets are averaging 81.0 points on 34.8% shooting, including 28.7% from three.

Wins vs. Losses

In their four wins this season, the Hornets are shotting 36.5% from the floor, including 26.8% from three. They are also averaging just 16.7 turnovers in their four wins.

In their four losses, Sacramento State has shot 32.3% and just 19.0% from three. They are turning the ball over much more in losses, 20.5 times per game.

Struggles From Distance

After jumping out to the country's best 13.7 made threes per game after their first three games, Sacramento State is making just 6.6 threes per game
over their last five contests.

Nicholas Dominating the Glass

Junior forward Kennedy Nicholas has been excellent down low for the Hornets this season, leading the team in total rebounds (12.8 per game) and offensive rebounds (6.0 per game).  Both of those numbers are the best in the Big Sky Conference. Additionally, her 6.0 offensive rebounds per game are most in the nation while her 12.8 rebounds per game rank 4th in the nation. 

Averaging a Double-Double

In addition to leading the team in rebounding, Kennedy Nicholas also ranks second on the Hornets with 14.1 points per game. With her 12.8 rebounds per game, the junior forward is averaging a double-double through the season's first eight games. She has recorded a double-double in three games this season.  

You've Got a Friend in Me

Junior guard Hannah Friend continues to lead the Hornets in nearly every offensive category. She is tops on the team with 21.4 points per game, tied for the most in the Big Sky with Idaho's Mikayla Ferenz and ranked 15th in the nation. 

She is also among the best in the Big Sky in Field Goal Attempts (2nd, 156), Total Points (171, 3rd), Free Throw Attempts and Makes (43-53, both 2nd), and Field Goal Percentage (81.1, 5th). 

Tiara For Three 

Junior guard Tiara Scott enters Saturday's Big Sky opener with a team-best 33.9% shooting from beyond the arc (20-59). Her 20 made threes are also the most on the team, two ahead of teammate Hannah Friend.  Scott's 33.9% shooting from three is sixth best in the Big Sky while her 2.50 threes per game is fourth best. 

The Hornets' Big Three

Together, Hannah Friend, Kennedy Nicholas, and Tiara Scott are the Hornets' three returning starters from a year ago. So far this season, the trio lead the team in points per game and minutes per game while leading in various other categories. Through six games, the trio is responsible for 63% of the team's total blocks, 62% of the team's total points, 50% of the team's rebounds, and 45% of the team's assists.  

Assists All Around

In addition to leading the team in three-point percentage, Tiara Scott also leads the team in assists, with 35. Her 4.4 assists per game is sixth best in the Big Sky while her 2.06 assist-to-turnover ratio is 2nd.

In addition to Scott, freshman guard Milee Enger has made her mark, totaling 21 assists over eight games (2.6 per game). Also, junior guard Gabi Bade, who has appeared in just two games for the Hornets, has seven assists (3.5 per game.)

Gabi Breaks Ground

Junior guard Gabi Bade made her much anticipated Hornets debut last week in the team's trip to Albuquerque. After sitting out last season as a transfer redshirt, Bade missed this season's first six games due to injury.

In her Hornets debut at New Mexico, Bade played 24 minutes while pulling down nine rebounds and totaling six assists. She also added a steal in the debut.

- HornetSports.com -