BOZEMAN, Mont. - The Sacramento State women's basketball team made eight of its last nine field goal attempts and rallied to defeat Montana State, 69-65, in the Hornets' Big Sky Conference opener on Thursday night at Worthington Arena.
The Hornets (5-4, 1-0 Big Sky) have won back-to-back games at Montana State (6-3, 0-1) after going 2-14 in Bozeman since joining the Big Sky for the 1996-97 season. The win was also the second straight in a Big Sky opener.
"It's really nice to get a conference win on the road, especially the first one of the year," head coach said. "We played well when we needed to and we battled. We did a good job of using screens to free things up on the perimeter and we shot the ball well from outside, which was important since they are very good in the post. We have a goal for our team and to get there we need to take everything one game at a time, one week at a time.
Last year hit a runner at the buzzer to defeat the Bobcats and Thursday night's victory was almost equally thrilling.
After being tied, 33-33, at halftime, the Hornets jumped out to a quick 39-35 lead. But Montana State battled back to go up 57-52 with 7:58 left in the game. That's when it was the Hornets' turn to rally, and after knocked down a three-pointer with 2:03 remaining, Sacramento State retook the lead at 64-60. Over the final minutes, Montana State closed the lead to just two points on two occasions but Hilliard hit a pair of crucial free throws with 16 seconds left to put the game away.
Over the final 9:11 of the game, Sacramento State went 8-of-9 from the floor and 7-of-8 at the free throw line.
Moreno had a game-high 18 points on 7-of-16 shooting while added 14 and Hilliard chipped in 10. , who entered the game with a NCAA-leading 4.75 blocked shots per game, had four blocks against Montana State, including one with just 1:14 left on the clock.
Montana State was paced by three players who each had 12 points - Jackie Elliott, Rachel Semansky and Latisha Adams.
Sacramento State shot 41.9 percent overall on 26-of-62 shooting, including 6-of-16 from three-point range. The Hornets snagged 39 rebounds, committed 18 turnovers and tallied 16 assists. They went 11-of-14 at the free throw line.
Montana State shot 38.2 percent from the field on 26-of-68 shooting, with 1-of-6 coming from beyond the arc. The Bobcats grabbed 47 rebounds and were pressured into 15 turnovers with 12 assists. They went 10-of-19 at the free throw line.
The Hornets will stay in the Treasure State this weekend for a Big Sky game on Saturday at 1 p.m. PT. Fans can find links for live stats and Big Sky TV HERE.