SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Sacramento State women's basketball team returns to the Nest for their first home Big Sky matchups of the year. The Hornets will host the Montana Grizzlies on Thursday before welcoming the Montana State Bobcats on Saturday.
How To Watch
All streaming links, news, and updates can also be found by visiting the 2018 Women's Basketball Schedule online at HornetSports.com.
- Sacramento State returns to the Nest for their Big Sky home opener Thursday against the Montana Grizzlies. The Hornets defeated the Grizzlies at home last season, 79-64, for their fifth straight home win against the Lady Griz.
- The Hornets also host the Montana State Bobcats this week, on Saturday. The Hornets defeated the Bobcats, 88-77, at home last season, their first win against Montana State since the 2014-15 season.
- Junior forward Kennedy Nicholas recorded her fourth double-double of the season in Sacramento State's last game at Northern Colorado, scoring 16 points while pulling down a game-high 11 boards.
- Junior guard Gabi Bade had a career-game against Northern Colorado, setting career highs in multiple categories, including points (14) and minutes (24).
By the Numbers
5: Categories in which Sacramento State leads the Big Sky, including scoring and rebounds.
2: National ranking for Kennedy Nicholas's 5.4 offensive rebounds per game.
13: Average margin of victory in last year's home sweep of Montana and Montana State
About Last Week
Sacramento State played just one game last week, opening the Big Sky Conference season on the road at Northern Colorado. Despite a dominant second-half showing by the Hornets, Sacramento State fell in their league opener, 82-69, in Greeley.
Thursday's home contest against Montana is the 46th between the two teams since the 1996-97 season. All-time, the Lady Griz lead the Hornets, 38-7, including a win in the first round of last year's Big Sky Tournament.
Despite the lopsided all-time record, the Hornets have won five straight games against Montana in the Nest, including last year's 79-64 win. The Hornets won by an average of 14.4 points in those games.
Scouting the Grizzlies
- Montana comes into Thursday's game with a 7-4 overall record, including a 2-0 mark in Big Sky play.
- Montana has won three straight games coming into Thursday's matchup. They have won by an average of 25.3 points during that stretch.
- Last year, the Lady Griz finished with a 14-17 overall record, including a 9-9 record in conference play.
- Montana is averaging 67.4 points per game, outscoring their opponents by a 1.7 margin.
- So far this season, the Lady Griz are just 1-3 on the road.
- Montana has excelled in the fourth quarter this season, outscoring their opponents, 206-176.
- As a team, Montana is shooting 44.2% overall, best in the Big Sky. They also lead the conference with just 13.7 fouls per game.
- The Lady Griz are led by McKenzie Johnston, who averages a team-high 11.9 points and 35.4 minutes per game.
Against Montana State
On Saturday, the Hornets and Montana State Bobcats will face off for the 47th time since the 1996-97 season. All-time, the Bobcats hold a 34-12 game lead over the Hornets. Last year, Sacramento State beat the Bobcats, 88-77, at home, snapping a five-game losing streak to Montana State.
Scouting the Bobcats
- Montana State starts the week with a 7-5 overall record, including a 2-0 mark in Big Sky play.
- Before they take on the Hornets on Saturday, the Bobcats will face the Portland State Vikings in Portland.
- Last year, Montana State finished with a 16-15 overall record, including a 9-9 record in conference play.
- The Bobcats average 64.3 points per game. Despite their winning record, Montana State have a -2.7 margin over their first 11 games.
- So far this season, the Bobcats are just 1-4 on the road, though they are 1-0 on neutral courts.
- Montana State's 199 free throw attempts this season are the most in the Big Sky. They shoot 72.4% as a team from the free throw line.
- The Bobcats are led by Claire Lundberg, who averages 18.7 points per game. That is the third highest mark in the Big Sky conference, behind Idaho's Mikayla Ferenz (22.5) and the Hornets' Hannah Friend (21.3).
Leading the Big Sky
Sacramento State leads the Big Sky Conference in five different categories as the league enters its second week of competition. The Hornets are tops in Offensive Rebounds per Game (19.2), Total Rebounds per Game (46.4), Scoring Offense (78.0), Steals per Game (11.3), and Three-Point FG Attempts (353).
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).
In games in which Sacramento State scored 80 or more points, they are 3-1 this season. When they score less than 80, the Hornets are 1-4.
Sacramento State has done a good job of getting to the free throw line this season, having taken a Big Sky-leading 185 free throws this season. They have been led by junior guard Hannah Friend, a 78.3% free-throw shooter (47-60). Forward Kennedy Nicholas has also spent a fair amount of time at the line, making 29-of-41 attempts (70.7%).
Quiet in the Nest
Although they are 2-2 at home this season, the Hornets' offense has been quieter in the Nest than on the road this year. In four games at home, Sacramento State is scoring 77.2 points per game on 34.0% shooting overall and just 16.8% from three. All of those numbers are higher on the road (78.2 pts, 35.3% FG, 29.3% 3PTFG).
Double-Digits From Three
Sacramento State made 10 three-point field goals in last Saturday's game at Northern Colorado, just their second double-digit three-point performance in their last six games (11-47 at New Mexico).
During that six-game stretch, the Hornets are averaging 7.2 made threes per game. In their first three games of the season, Sacramento State averaged an NCAA-best 13.7 made threes per game.
Bade's New Best
Junior guard Gabi Bade had a career afternoon last Saturday against Northern Colorado, setting new bests in nearly every category in what was her third game as a Hornet. Bade set new bests in points (14), field goals and field goal attempts (5-15, 3-7 from three), and minutes (24). She also added eight rebounds and five assists, both one off her career-bests.
Nicholas Dominating Down Low
Junior forward Kennedy Nicholas continues to excel underneath the basket for the Hornets. She is pulling down a conference-best 12.7 rebounds per game (including an NCAA-best 5.4 offensive rebounds per game) and is shooting a team-high 48.1% from the floor.
Through the season's first nine games, Nicholas has four double-doubles and averages 14.3 points (2nd on the team) and 12.7 rebounds per contest.
Junior guard Hannah Friend has been a rock for the Hornets this season, leading the team in points (21.3) and minutes (28.4) per game. She has scored at least 20 points in six of nine games and has seven or more rebounds in seven of nine games.
Her 21.3 points per game is second in the Big Sky and 13th in the nation.
Dishes by Tiara
Junior point guard Tiara Scott leads Sacramento State with 29 assists this season, or 4.3 per game. That number is 5th best in the Big Sky and her 2.05 assist-to-turnover ratio is 2nd in the league. Last year, Scott led the Hornets with 103 total assists (3.4 per game).
In addition to Scott, freshman guard Milee Enger has made her mark, totaling 22 assists over nine games (2.4 per game). Also, junior guard Gabi Bade, who has appeared in just three games for the Hornets, has 12 assists (4.0 per game.)
Juniors, We Get the Job Done
With just one senior on the roster this year, it has been a core group of juniors who have led the way for the Hornets this season. Led primarily by Hannah Friend, Kennedy Nicholas, Tiara Scott, and the recent addition of Gabi Bade, Sacramento State's juniors are responsible for 69% of the team's total points, 73% of the team's blocks, 60% of the team's rebounds, and 62% of the team's assists.
Sacramento State has used every bit of their 17-player roster this season. 11 of the team's 17 players are averaging double-digit minutes while nine are logging more than 15 minutes per game and three are over the 20-minute mark.
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.
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