PORTLAND, Ore. – The Sacramento State women's basketball went toe-to-toe in the first half against the Portland State Vikings Thursday night, but were unable to keep pace with the Vikings in the second as they fell on the road, 74-58.
With the loss, Sacramento State falls to 8-11 overall and 4-7 against the Big Sky. Portland State, meanwhile, improves to 16-4 overall and 8-3 in league.
Kennedy Nicholas led the Hornets in both scoring and rebounds, putting up 19 points to go with nine boards, including four off the offensive glass. The junior forward also added two blocks and a steal and did not commit a turnover.
Hannah Friend was next for the Hornets finishing with 17 points and seven rebounds. She was 6-for-13 overall and added a team-high four steals to her stat line Thursday night. Friend leads the Hornets with 34 total steals this season.
Combined, Nicholas and Friend scored nearly two-thirds or Sacramento State's total points while pulling down exactly half of the team's rebounds. They also combined to go 9-for-9 from the free throw line while the remainder of the team was just 1-for-6.
Both the Hornets and Vikings came into Thursday night's contest averaging better than 70 points a game at 71.3 and 71.9, respectively, but it was the defenses that set the tone in the first half. At the break, the Hornets and Vikings were even, tied up at 30.
Sacramento State shot 38.1% over the first 20 minutes, but were forced into nine turnovers by the Portland State defense. The Hornets held Portland State to just 32.4% shooting in the game's opening half while forcing the Vikings into seven turnovers.
Two of the biggest differences in the first 20 minutes were Sacramento State's 10-for-15 from the free throw line compared to Portland State's 4-for-6 and the Vikings' eight points off turnovers compared to none for the Hornets.
In the second half, Sacramento State's defense began to bend, falling behind, 50-42, by the end of the third quarter and then 74-58 by the game's end. The Vikings shot nearly 60% in the second half while the Hornets managed just over 34%.
For the game, Sacramento State shot 36% (20-56) overall and 27% (7-26) from beyond the arc. They were outrebounded by the Vikings, 46-32. The Hornets had 11 steals to the Vikings' nine, though both teams had 16 total turnovers.
Portland State shot 44% (28-64) and were led by Sydney Rielly, who scored 19 on 7-for-17 shooting. Jordan Stotler had a game-high 15 rebounds for the Vikings.
Sacramento State's game at Portland State was the only stop on their quick, two-night trip to the Pacific Northwest. The Hornets will return to Sacramento for a Monday night matchup against Northern Colorado at 5pm. Monday's game is the first of a double-header with the men's team, who will face Portland State at 7:30pm. For more details on Monday's game and all upcoming games – including notes, ticket information, and more – visit HornetSports.com.