CEDAR CITY, Utah – Trailing by as many as 11 in the fourth quarter, the Sacramento State women's basketball rallied back to force overtime Thursday night on the road at Southern Utah before cruising to a 75-69 win over the Thunderbirds.
With the win, Sacramento State improved to 9-12 overall and 5-8 in Big Sky play. The Thunderbirds fall to 6-17 overall and 3-11 against conference opponents.
FINAL: Sacramento State comes from behind to take down Southern Utah on the road, 75-69! #StingersUp #Team54— Sacramento State Women's Basketball (@SacStateWBB) February 15, 2019
Friend and Nicholas each go for 22 points and 10 boards as the Hornets outscore the Thunderbirds 33-18 in the fourth quarter and overtime. pic.twitter.com/g6eesFaHjE
The two teams traded buckets in the first quarter and found themselves tied, 13-13, after 10 minutes. But Southern Utah began to pull away in the second quarter and took a 34-28 lead into half.
The third quarter was more of the same as the Thunderbirds continued to extend their lead, going up 51-42 after three.
Sacramento State turned things around in the fourth quarter, outscoring Southern Utah 16-7 in the final 10 minutes, including a 9-0 run to close the quarter, to tie things up, 58-58, and force overtime.
It was all Hornets in overtime as Sacramento State scored 17 points in five minutes to put away from the Thunderbirds and complete the comeback, winning 75-69.
It was Sacramento State's second win on the road against a Big Sky opponent, the first coming against Eastern Washington at the end of January.
Kennedy Nicholas and Hannah Friend went for identical double-doubles, each scoring 22 points to go with 10 rebounds, while Gabi Bade put up 17 points with a team-high three steals. The trio combined for 61 of Sacramento State's 75 points.
Nicholas was 9-for-14 from the floor, raising her shooting percentage over 50% for the season to 50.2%. She came into Thursday night's game with the fourth highest field goal percentage in the league and will likely climb a spot or two after Thursday night's win. She also added two blocks to her stat line.
The double-double was also the 12th of the year for the junior, most in the Big Sky and among the top 20 in the nation.
Friend, she continued her climb to 1,000 career points as a Hornet, scoring 22 more on 10-for-21 shooting. Friend, who leads the Hornets with 19.0 points per game this season, is now just 76 points away from becoming the 14th member of the Sacramento State 1,000 point club. The junior forward also added a team-high three blocks and a steal in the effort.
Bade did most of her damage late as she scored 17 points on 5-of-15 shooting and 5-of-6 from the free throw line. After draining the game-tying bucket with 38 seconds left in the game, Bade scored seven of her 17 points in overtime, giving the Hornets the late edge on the road. All five of her free throws came in the game's final five minutes.
Milee Enger led the Hornets with five assists and played a career-high 32 minutes. The freshman point guard, who came into Thursday night's game averaging just under 16 minutes a game, was pressed into more action after an injury to Tiara Scott early in the second quarter.
As a team, Sacramento State shot 40.8% from the floor, including 60% (12-20) in the fourth quarter and overtime. They had eight blocks – one off their season high – and 13 assists.
The road trip continues for the Hornets as they play next on the road at Northern Arizona on Saturday, Feb. 16. Tip off on Saturday is scheduled for 6:05 pm in Flagstaff. From there, the Hornets will return home before embarking for a Wednesday game at Weber State.
Saturday's game at Northern Arizona will stream live online at Pluto.TV and on WatchBigSky.com. More details, including times, notes, and links to watch, can be found online at HornetSports.com.