CEDAR CITY, Utah – Sacramento State broke open a tie game with a 16-2 run in the third quarter and never looked back en route to a 71-62 win at Southern Utah on Thursday. Tiana Johnson led all players with a career-high 26 points.
With the win, Sacramento State improves to 8-15 overall and 6-8 in the Big Sky. Southern Utah falls to 12-10 and 6-7 in league.
Sacramento State handed Southern Utah just its second home loss of the season. The Thunderbirds had been 8-1 when playing in the America First Event Center coming into Thursday.
Thursday night's win was Sacramento State's 11th straight victory over Southern Utah, a streak that stretches back to the 2014 season. The Hornets are 5-0 on the road during that streak, 5-0 at home, and 1-0 on neutral courts.
For the Hornets, the win Thursday night was highlighted by Tiana Johnson's career-best 26-point,14-rebound performance. Both were career-highs for the redshirt sophomore, who finished 12-for-20 from the floor (2-6 3PT) while also adding an assist and two blocks.
16 of Johnson's 26 points came in the second half and the double-double was the second of her career.
Summer Menke returned to action Thursday night after missing two games with an ankle injury and scored 16 points while shooting 50% (5-10) overall. Menke made four free throws late in the second half to keep the game tied and finished 4-for-7 from the stripe overall.
The Hornets and Thunderbirds went back in forth in the first half, with neither team going ahead by more than six, before taking a 33-33 tie into the break.
All of that changed with the start of the third quarter, however, as Sacramento State opened with a 16-2 run over four minutes of game time to take a commanding 49-35 lead.
Southern Utah made a late push, cutting the Hornets' lead down to just six, but Sacramento State fended off the fourth-quarter surge before defeating the Thunderbirds, 71-62.
Overall, Sacramento State shot 45.9% compared to Southern Utah's 32.8%. The Hornets had more assists than the T-Birds, 15-9, improving to 5-0 this season when out-assisting their opponents.
Sacramento State will look to go back-to-back when they travel to Northern Colorado on Saturday for a 1 p.m. PT tip off.
Saturday's game will stream live online on Pluto.TV and live stats can be found at HornetStats.com. All details – including specific links – can be found by visiting the Sacramento State women's basketball homepage online at HornetSports.com.