SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Senior guard Alle Moreno broke the program record for career 3-point makes and had a key four-point play in the final minute as Sacramento State claimed a 93-89 win over San Diego State on Sunday in The Nest.
Sacramento State (2-0) led by as many as 19 points in the first half and held an 11-point halftime lead, but San Diego State (0-1) came all the way back and held a five-point advantage with four minutes to play before the Hornets closed on a 13-4 run to claim the victory.
"It was a big game; they are a great team and we knew that coming in, and it was just really important that we stayed together as a team and we never let the momentum fully shift towards them," Moreno said. "We are really clicking as a team right now. We're finding our rhythm in the system and it's working really well."
Moreno hit six 3-pointers on the day and finished with a team-high 23 points. Her third 3-pointer gave the senior the Hornet career record for three-pointersa made as she now has hit 177 threes in her career. She picked up her fourth foul with more than 13 minutes remaining in regulation but managed to stay on the floor and help her team close the win.
The Aztecs led 85-80 with four minutes remaining, but Moreno and junior Takara Burse hit consecutive 3-pointers as the Hornets got within a point. After an Aztec layup Moreno was fouled on a long 3-point strike and hit the free throw to put the Hornets up 90-89. She added another free throw 30 seconds later and after a missed Aztec shot with 12 seconds to play Hornet redshirt junior Andrea Chenier hit two free throws to clinch the win.
"San Diego State's a very good basketball team. They made their run and I was pleased with how our girls responded," Sacramento State head coach Bunky Harkleroad said. "They kept fighting the whole way and we couldn't be more proud of them than we are right now. We have the bar set high; we're trying to learn every day and get better and I couldn't be more proud of them."
The Hornets came out blazing in a dominant first half in which they made 12 three-pointers and grabbed 14 offensive rebounds. The home team had a 15-13 lead at the 13:18 mark of the opening period before using an 11-2 run to take a 26-15 lead. A three by Moreno with 5:40 left in the half gave Sacramento State a game-high 42-23 advantage. The Hornets had a 17-point lead with just over a minute remaining in the half but SDSU ended the stanza with six straight points.
The Aztecs continued to cut into the lead through the second half in which the Hornets went cold from long range until the final minutes. San Diego State pulled even at 57-57 with 13 minutes to play before the Hornets moved back to a five-point lead at 69-64. The score returned to a tie at 80-80 with 4:54 remaining before the Aztecs opened up their five point lead. Moreno scored eight points in the final three minutes of the contest to give her team the win.
After breaking the program record with 17 made 3-pointers on Friday, the Hornets surpassed that total with 18 threes on Sunday while taking a program-record 49 three-point attempts. Sacramento State also broke the program record with 91 field goal attempts on Sunday, breaking the previous record of 90, and broke Big Sky records for both 3-pointers made and attempted.
Chenier finished with 17 points while freshman Gigi Hascheff had a fantastic all-around game with 14 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists while hitting four 3-point shots. Senior Sadie Clements added 10 points for the Hornets, who were outshot 62.3% to 35.2% but attempted 30 more shots than the Aztecs and made 16 more 3-pointers.
Senior center Cierra Warren led the Aztec comeback attempt with 28 points and seven rebounds while shooting 14-of-19 from the field. The Hornets tallied 25 steals while forcing 34 Aztec turnovers and recording a 23-18 assist-to-turnover ratio.
The Hornets have made 35 three-pointers already this season while shooting 38.5% from long range. Through two games 56.7% of Sacramento State's points have come from 3-pointers.
The Hornets, who are averaging 92.5 points per game through two contests, will take their show on the road next week to face a pair of Pac-12 foes. Sacramento State plays at Oregon State Friday at 11:30 a.m. and at Oregon next Sunday at 2 p.m.