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Women's Basketball Notes vs. SUU, 1/18

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Fresh off their home win over Northern Arizona this past Thursday, the Sacramento State women's basketball team (5-9, 1-4 Big Sky) will look to complete the "Sweep Week" when they host Southern Utah (5-10, 2-4 Big Sky) in the Nest on Saturday. Saturday is Kids Day and is scheduled for a 2:05 pm tip off. 

How To Watch

Saturday, Jan. 19 // 2:05 pm PT
The Nest // Sacramento, Calif.
Watch and Listen: Pluto.TV, ch. 233
Live Stats: HornetStats.com
Twitter: @SacStateWBB

The Starting Five

  • Sacramento State welcomes Southern Utah to the Nest for Saturday's matinée matchup. Tip off is scheduled for 2:05 pm PST. Saturday is also the Hornets' annual Kids Day, featuring poster giveaways and a postgame clinic and autograph session. 
  • The Hornets were dominant from the perimeter in Thursday's home win over Northern Arizona, going 8-for-18 from beyond the arc (44.4%). In total, the Hornets shot 32.1% from three while holding the Lumberjacks to just 10.5% shooting (2-19) from three. 
  • Both Kennedy Nicholas and Hannah Friend recorded a double-double in Thursday's game. It was the sixth double-double of the season for Nicholas and the third for Friend. It was the third time this season the duo had a double-double in the same game.
  • Junior guard Hannah Friend led the team on Thursday with 19 points and 11 rebounds. She has led Sacramento State in scoring 10 times and led in rebounds four times this season.
  • Southern Utah comes into Saturday's game having dropped their last contest on the road at Portland State. The Thunderbirds are 5-10 overall this season and 2-4 in league play. They are just 1-8 on the road, including 1-3 on the road against Big Sky teams.

By the Numbers

  • 2.8: Sacramento State's average margin of victory in their five wins this season.
  • 9.4: Made three pointers per game for the Hornets, 2nd in the Big Sky and 17th in the nation.
  • 18: Turnovers forced per game, 2nd most in the Big Sky. Hornets have a +0.23 turnover margin.

About Last Game

Sacramento State won a thriller Thursday afternoon, defeating the visiting Northern Arizona Lumberjacks, 65-61, in the Nest. The Hornets led for 35 minutes in the game, but Northern Arizona refused to go away, keeping things close the entire way. 

A series of big plays at the end of the game, highlighted by Hannah Friend's floater and subsequent and-one to put the game out of reach, were instrumental in giving the Hornets their first conference win of the season. Friend and Kennedy Nicholas each recorded a double-double while Tiara Scott matched her career-high with nine assists.

Against Southern Utah

Saturday's home matchup against the Thunderbirds of Southern Utah is the 28th contest between these two teams and the first of two this season. All-time, the Hornets led the series by the slimmest of margins, 14-13. However, Sacramento State has won seven straight against the Tbirds dating back to the 2014-15 season.

Last year's lone game between the two squads was a thriller as the Hornets won, 79-77, on a Justyce Dawson buzzer beater on Senior Day. During their current seven-game winning streak against Southern Utah, the Hornets own a +11.3 scoring margin while averaging 90 points per game.

Scouting the Thunderbirds

  • Southern Utah comes into Saturday afternoon's game at the Nest with a 5-10 overall record, including a 2-4 mark in Big Sky. They are currently 8th in the conference, one spot ahead of Sacramento State.
  • The Thunderbirds dropped their last game, a 63-49 loss on the road at Portland State. 
  • Southern Utah has been excellent defending against the three this season, holding opponents to just 27.2% shooting from distance. That is the best mark in the Big Sky. 
  • The Thunderbirds are also one of the best in the league at holding on to the ball, averaging just 15 turnovers per game and posting the Big Sky's second best turnover margin at +1.6. 
  • Harley Hansen leads the Thunderbirds with 12.7 points per game this season. She is taking 4.4 3PTFG attempts per game and making 1.6.
  • Rebecca Cardenas's 6.4 rebounds per game is tops on the squad. She also leads the team with 4.2 assists per game.  

Kids Day

The Hornets host their annual Kids Day game this Saturday when they welcome Southern Utah into the Nest. Admission to Saturday's game (2:05 pm tip) is free for children 12 and under. Free team posters will be handed out to the first 250 kids in attendance. Additionally, there is a basketball clinic with Hornets coaches and players as well as a team autograph session following the game.


Kennedy Nicholas recorded her team-leading sixth double-double of the season on Thursday, pulling in 10 rebounds to go with 14 points. Of those 10 boards, four came on the offensive end. For the season, Nicholas is averaging over a double-double with 12.9 points and 11.4 points per game.

Double-Double, pt. II

Hannah Friend also recorded a double-double in Thursday's win, scoring a team-high 19 points to go with a team-high 11 rebounds. The double-double was her third of the season. 

Tag Team

Thursday's game was the third time this season that both Hannah Friend and Kennedy Nicholas recorded a double-double in the same game.

One More About Rebounds

Kennedy Nicholas's 11.1 rebounds per game this season is second best in the Big Sky while Hannah Friend ranks fourth with 8.5 per contest.

Speaking strictly of offensive rebounds, Nicholas is averaging 4.4 offensive boards per game, most in the Big Sky and ninth-most in the nation. 

Not in My House

Kennedy Nicholas collected four blocks in the Hornets' win over Northern Arizona, her second game this season with four blocks. The junior forward has at least two blocks in six of her last seven games and at least one block in nine straight. Her 22 total blocks are most on the team and third most in the Big Sky.

The Dime Donor

Tiara Scott piled up nine assists in the Hornets' last game, match her career high. It was the second time this season and the third time in her career that the junior point guard has touched the nine-assist mark (last, 11/23 vs. Pepperdine).

For the season, Scott is averaging 4.6 assists per game, best on the team and the fifth-most in the Big Sky. However, her 2.3 turnover-to-assist ratio is the best in the league.

Battling Out Wins

All five of Sacramento State's wins this season have been close, with none by more than six points (W, 86-80 vs. Antelope Valley). In their five wins this season, the Hornets have won by three points, two, six, four, and four. They have a +3.8 margin in their wins this season.

Career Marks

A number of Hornets set career marks in Thursday's win over Northern Arizona.

Claire Bady set new career bests in minutes played (20), assists (3), points (5), field goals made and attempted (2-3), and matched her career marks for rebounds (4) and steals (2).

Tiana Johnson set new career bests in minutes (25), rebounds (7), assists (2) and steals (2).=

Kennedy Nicholas's three assist from Thursday are a new career-high. 

Foul Trouble

Kennedy Nicholas fouled out of Thursday's win with over two minutes remaining in the game. It was the second time this season the forward has fouled out of a game. 

For the season, Nicholas is averaging 3.5 fouls per contest and has had at least three in all but two games this season. Last season as a sophomore, Nicholas set the Hornets' program record for most fouls in a season with 114. 

Leading the Big Sky

Sacramento State leads the league in four different categories: Offensive Rebounds per game (16.6), Rebounds per game (43.2), Steals per game (10.6), and Three-Point Field Goal attempts (465). 

Tops in the Nation

In addition, the Hornets are in the top 25 in the country in four categories: Offensive Rebounds per game (16.6, 13th), Rebounds per game (43.2, 22nd), Three-Point Field Goal attempts (465, 13th), and Made Three-Point Field Goals per game (9.4, 17th). 

Taking Away the Three Ball

Sacramento State is second in the Big Sky conference with a 27.3 Three-Point Field Goal defense, behind only their Saturday opponent, Southern Utah (27.2). On Thursday, the Hornets held Northern Arizona to a season-low 10.5% shooting from beyond the arc. It was the third time this season they have held an opponent below 20% shooting from three (.000 vs. Pepperdine, .176 vs. New Mexico).

Line Changes

The Hornets made a return to the five-for-five substitutions that head coach Bunky Harkleroad has become known for on Thursday in their win against NAU. Eight different players logged double-digit minutes in the game while six of those eight broke the 20 minute mark.

For the season, 10 different Hornets are averaging double-digit minutes. Just four of those are above the 20-minute mark while Hannah Friend (30.9) and Tiara Scott (30.1) are the only two above 30. 

Swapping Starters

Maesyn Rix made just her second start of the season on Thursday as the Hornets employed their 11th different starting lineup of the season. Seven players have started at least four games this season.

Snapping the Streak

Thursday's win snapped a season-long four-game losing streak for the Hornets while also giving them their first Big Sky win of the season.

Tough Scheduling

Through the first five games of the conference schedule, four of Sacramento State's five games have come against teams with a .500 record or better, including three against teams with a .667 winning percentage or better (Idaho State, 5-1; Northern Colorado, 5-2; Montana State, 4-2).

Over their next four games, the Hornets will face Southern Utah (2-4), Idaho (4-1), Weber State (1-6), and Portland State (4-1).

Starting Streak

Hannah Friend's 12-game starting streak this season is now the longest on the team after her teammate Kennedy Nicholas started Thursday's game on the bench, ending her streak at 11 games. Dating back to last season, Friend has started 26 straight games for the Hornets.

Breaking Thirty

Both Hannah Friend and Kennedy Nicholas have touched the 30-point mark this season. Friend scored 33 points against Illinois on 11/24, just one point shy of her career-high (34 vs. UC Riverside, 11/26/17). Nicholas scored exactly 30 (while also pulling in 18 rebounds) in the Nest against San Francisco on 12/5/18. Both the 30 points and 18 boards are career highs for Nicholas.

Double Overtime

Sacramento State's double-overtime game against Montana earlier this season was just its fourth double-OT game since the 1976 season. In those four games, the Hornets are 1-3. 

Big Ten Victory

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

- HornetSports.com -