SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento State freshman forward Hallie Gennett made eight 3-pointers and scored 26 points as the Hornets broke the single game program record with 17 three-point makes en route to a 92-71 season-opening win over Cal State Northridge.
Gennett made her first eight three-point attempts, including six in the first half, to lead Sacramento State to a program-record 17 threes, topping the previous record of 15 three-point makes set against Montana in 2010. Gennett finished one three shy of the school and Big Sky individual record of nine set in 2001 and equaled by senior Se'Nyce Parrish last season.
"It was really nerve racking at first and I had major butterflies before the game," said Gennett after her first collegiate game. "I just kind of got out there and didn't think about anything and every time I got the ball I just had confidence to shoot. It was so much fun, and the system is so fast paced its just really enjoyable."
Gennett finished 8-of-9 from three-point range and shot 9-of-12 overall while adding three rebounds and a steal. Senior Alle Moreno hit three 3-pointers, putting her just two 3-point makes behind the program career record, while junior Andrea Chenier hit three from long range and senior Sadie Clements added two 3-pointers.
The Hornets started the game sluggishly as shots weren't falling and Cal State Northridge opened up a 16-3 advantage at the 13:30 mark of the first half. Gennett hit her first two 3-point attempts in the ensuing minutes to spark a Hornet run to get within one point, then she added two more threes over consecutive possessions to bring the score level at 22-22.
After trailing 22-19 Sacramento State went on a 15-0 run to open up a 34-22 lead with 6:40 to play, but the Matadors fought back to get within two points as the visitors trailed just 40-38 with 2:22 remaining. From there the Hornets closed the first half on a 13-0 spurt capped by a pair of threes by Gennett over the final 30 seconds, including a buzzer beater from near NBA range.
Cal State Northridge would get no closer than an eight-point deficit for the duration of the second half. An 11-0 Sacramento State run midway through the second half grew the Hornets' lead to more than 20 with a game-best 26-point lead at 86-60 with 5:19 to play. The Matadors got a bit closer through the end of the game but the result had long been decided.
"We got off to kind of a shaky start and we didn't show a lot of confidence, and Northridge is a good team and they got to the rim. Once we were able to knock a couple shots down we got our feet under us a little bit and made some things happen," said Sacramento State head coach Bunky Harkleroad after his first Div. I victory. "We are allowed to enjoy this win until midnight, but then we have to get back to work tomorrow and get ready for Sunday."
In addition to breaking the program record for made 3-pointers in a game the Hornets also tied the program mark of 42 three-point attempts. The squad shot 40.5% from behind the arc and 38.6% overall while the Matadors had a higher field goal percentage and attempted only two fewer shots, but the big discrepancy was from 3-point range where Sacramento State had a 51-12 scoring edge. Northridge had a 62-53 rebounding advantage and had 23 offensive boards but committed 27 turnovers to just 19 giveaways from the home team.
Hornet redshirt freshman Margaret Huntington had a game-high 11 rebounds and senior Fantasia Hilliard had 11 assists. Moreno (15 points) and Chenier (14 points) joined Gennett in double-figures while Northridge junior guard Cinnamon Lister led her team with 15 points and seven assists.
Sacramento State will conclude its season-opening home weekend at 2 p.m. Sunday vs. San Diego State.