EUGENE, Ore. – Four Sacramento State players scored in double-figures and the Hornets held Oregon, which had averaged 122.0 points per game through two contests, to just 85 points in a 97-85 win in Eugene on Sunday afternoon.
"I was really proud of our energy level today," Sacramento State head coach Bunky Harkleroad said. "We had a tough game on Friday and we just picked it up and played hard and played smart. We did the little things better and I'm just really proud of the focus they showed."
The teams combined to take an NCAA Div. I-record 86 total three point attempts in the game, but neither team shot well from long range. Sacramento State (3-1) had an 11-7 advantage in made three's while the Ducks shot just 18.9% from behind the arc. Oregon (2-1) shot just 28.3% from the field in the second half and 33.7% for the game. Sacramento State re-broke the school record with 93 field goal attempts and tied the record with 49 three-point attempts.
Sacramento State shot 18-of-21 from the free throw line after shooting just 58.5% from the stripe through its first three games. Another critical stat was turnovers, as the Ducks had 23 giveaways to 13 from the Hornets and Sacramento State had a 23-4 scoring edge in points off turnovers. Oregon had outscored its opposition by 67 total points through its first two games.
"We had chances to panic and lose our composure but we didn't," Harkleroad said. "Different people made plays, maybe getting a steal or hitting a shot or getting a key rebound. I'm really proud of all of them."
In a game between two of the highest scoring teams in the country, neither team could make a shot over the first two minutes of the contest. Oregon took what would be its biggest lead of the game with a 14-9 advantage at the 13:11 mark of the opening half.
Sacramento State led 26-25 midway through the half before a 7-0 run gave the Hornets a 33-25 advantage. Oregon came back to level the score at 40-40 and the Hornet lead was one before a three by senior Sadie Clements gave the visitors a 52-48 halftime edge.
The Hornets opened the second half on an 18-10 run to balloon their lead to 70-58. Sacramento State saw its lead grow to 13 points, but with just under four minutes to go the Ducks cut their deficit to six. Clements responded with a three but Oregon came back with one of their own, only to see Sacramento State junior guard Fantasia Hilliard hit another three to put her team back up by nine. The Ducks wouldn't get closer than those brief two-possession deficits through the remainder of the game.
Senior Alle Moreno led the Hornets with 18 points while hitting four 3-pointers, and junior Andrea Chenier (16), junior Shanti Smith (15), and Hilliard (15) also finished in double-figures. Hilliard added a game-high eight assists and four steals. Junior Takara Burse totaled a career-high 11 rebounds to go with eight points and Smith and redshirt freshman Margaret Huntington each had eight boards.
Chrishae Rowe had game-highs of 28 points and 14 rebounds for the Ducks but shot just 10-of-29 from the field. Ariel Thomas added 18 for Oregon, which lost center Jillian Alleyne to an ankle injury in the first half after playing just 12 minutes. The Ducks had a 67-49 rebounding advantage with 26 offensive boards, but the Hornets still totaled four more shots than Oregon.
After the thrilling win the Hornets will have 10 days off before playing at Utah Valley on Nov. 27 at noon.
"We're just going to keep trying to get better," said Harkleroad as his team looks to build on its 3-1 start. "We can't control what anyone else does and we just want to keep improving. We see that when we buckle down and we focus and really play hard that good things happen."