|CEDAR CITY, Utah – The Sacramento State women's basketball team dropped a 79-71 decision to league newcomer Southern Utah in a Big Sky Conference game on Saturday evening at Centrum Arena.
The Hornets (6-6, 1-2 Big Sky) couldn't carry over the momentum from a thrilling overtime victory against rival UC Davis last weekend and trailed the entire second half on Saturday. With the loss, Sacramento State became the Thunderbirds' (8-5, 2-1) first home conference win as a member of the Big Sky.
Sacramento State led by as much as eight in the first half but the Southern Utah finished strong to take a 38-33 halftime lead. The Thunderbirds shot 48.5 percent from the field in the second half and held off the Hornets for the eight point win.
Kylie Kuhns tallied her second straight double-double and seventh this season with 13 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Kuhns also had three steals, breaking her tie with Kristy Ryan atop Sacramento State's all-time leaderboard. The senior now has 182 steals in her career. Kuhns also holds the program's career rebounds record and recently became just the fifth player in Big Sky history to reach 1000+ rebounds.
Sadie Clements led the Hornets with 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting, including 5-of-9 on three-pointers. Fantasia Hilliard had a game-high eight points. Megan Kritscher, who entered the game averaging a NCAA-best 4.5 blocked shots, did not register a block for the first time this season.
Despite Kuhns' double-double, the Hornets were done in by rebounding as the Thunderbirds tallied 19 more than the Hornets. Southern Utah scored 19 second-chance points off 22 offensive rebounds.
Southern Utah was led by Kimie Hawkins' 22 points while three other players scored in double figures. Tayler Anderson posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The contest pitted the top two scoring offenses (Southern Utah - 71, Sacramento State 69.2) in the Big Sky and both teams eclipsed their season averages.
Sacramento State shot 41.5 percent overall on 27-of-65 shooting, including 8-of-19 from three-point range. The Hornets snagged 33 rebounds, committed 26 turnovers and tallied 15 assists. They went 9-of-14 at the free throw line.
Southern Utah shot 44;1 percent from the field on 30-of-68 shooting, with 5-of-13 coming from beyond the arc. The Thunderbirds grabbed 52 rebounds and were pressured into 26 turnovers with 20 assists. They went 14-of-24 at the free throw line.
After playing just three home games so far this season, the Hornets will return home next weekend to kick off a four-game homestand against Portland State at 7 p.m. on Thursday and Eastern Washington at 2 p.m. on Sunday.