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JOHNSON SCORES CAREER-HIGH 24; LATE 10-0 RUN LIFTS WOMEN’S BASKETBALL OVER SOUTHERN UTAH, 87-82

JOHNSON SCORES CAREER-HIGH 24; LATE 10-0 RUN LIFTS WOMEN’S BASKETBALL OVER SOUTHERN UTAH, 87-82

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento State went on a game-best 10-0 run late in the fourth quarter, retaking the lead and keeping it for good in a back-and-forth, 87-82, win over Southern Utah.

With the win, Sacramento State improves to 4-12 overall and 2-5 against the Big Sky. Southern Utah falls to 8-7 overall and 2-4 in league.

Sophomore Tiana Johnson led the Hornets in scoring with a career-best 24 points on Saturday. She finished 9-for-15 from the floor (2-6 3PT) while going a perfect 4-for-4 at the free throw line.

Johnson also added five rebounds (three offensive), an assist, and a block to round out her career afternoon. Her 24 points obliterated her previous career-best of 16, a mark she reached twice earlier this season. 

Sacramento State needed just about every one of Johnson's points as the Hornets won yet another nail-biter against the Southern Utah Thunderbirds. Trailing by five with under five to play in the game, Sacramento State kicked off a 10-0 run, its best of the game, to jump ahead of Southern Utah, 81-76. 

The Thunderbirds never recovered as Sacramento State made each of its final six free throws in the game's final 23 seconds to secure its 10th straight against Southern Utah.

While Johnson finished with a career-best 24 points on Saturday, she was matched by senior forward Kennedy Nicholas, who also finished with 24. Nicholas went 10-for-17 from the floor, including 1-for-1 from distance, while also making 2-of-4 free throws.

The senior also pulled in a game-high 17 rebounds (seven offensive), giving her her fourth double-double of the year and second straight. Nicholas rounded out her line with an assist, two steals, and six blocks (matched career-high).

Camariah King joined her teammates in breaching the 20-point mark, finishing with 21 points. She made a team-high four threes (4-11) while piling up a team-high seven assists.   

The trio combined for 69 of Sacramento State's 87 points. Including the team's last game - when the trio scored 56 of 63 - King, Nicholas, and Johnson scored 83% of the team's points this week.

Senior Gabi Bade finished with four points, four boards, and four assists in 16 minutes. Freshman Jordan Olivares collected a team-high three steals and also added two assists.

Sacramento State outrebounded Southern Utah, 43-30, including a dominating 22-11 effort on the offensive boards. Saturday's game was just the third time this season the Hornets outrebounded their opponent; they are 2-1 in those games.

Saturday's come-from-behind thriller felt right in line with what has been a streak of closely contested games between the Hornets and the Thunderbirds. 

While Sacramento State has won 10 straight against Southern Utah, each of the last five have been decided by six or fewer points, including a 77-76 win in the Nest in 2019 and a 79-77 win at home in 2018. 

With their first home Big Sky win now locked up, Sacramento State will head back out on the road for their next contest. The Hornets will travel north to face Portland State on Thursday, Jan. 23. It is the only game of the week for Sacramento State.

For details on how to follow Thursday's game, and for more information on Sacramento State women's basketball, please visit the Sacramento State women's basketball homepage online at HornetSports.com.