SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento State freshman guard Gigi Hascheff scored 22 points and the Hornets forced 25 Portland State turnovers in an 84-80 win on Saturday in The Nest.
The Hornets (16-7, 8-6 Big Sky) led by as many as 15 points in the first half before Portland State (6-17, 4-10 Big Sky) closed to within six points at halftime and used a 13-0 run to tie the game early in the second half. Sacramento State led for the rest of the game but had to hang on late for the win.
"I'm proud of the team for hanging on; we had to have this win today so I'm happy about that," Sacramento State head coach Bunky Harkleroad said. "We have a hard time making it as easy as we think it should be but this a tough league and you have to give Portland State credit as the didn't go away. We just have to do a better job as a team recognizing what works and what doesn't and just doing what has made as successful."
The Vikings led 4-2 early before the Hornets went on a 24-7 run over five and a half minutes to open up a 26-11 lead at the 9:33 mark of the opening period. Sacramento State, which shot just 38.7% in the first half, still led by 13 points with less than 1:30 in the half but the Vikings closed the half on a 7-0 run.
Portland State also scored the first six points of the second half to erase the entirety of its deficit and tie the game at 39-39. The Hornets answered with consecutive layups and brought their lead back to as many as 12 points midway through the second half but the Vikings would not go away.
Sacramento State had an 82-75 lead with 22 seconds left but Viking sophomore Emily Easom made a jumper, the Hornets through away the ensuing inbounds pass, and then Easom drained a three to get PSU within two points with three seconds left. Hornet senior Sadie Clements was fouled on the inbounds and made two free throws in the final seconds to solidify the win.
Portland State shot 62.5% in the second half and 53.3% for the game and made six more field goals than Sacramento State, but the home team made nine 3-pointers and shot 23-of-33 from the free throw line. The Vikings were just 11-of-21 from the line and committed 25 turnovers as the Hornets had a 25-17 edge in points off turnovers.
Hascheff posted her fifth consecutive game scoring 10 or more points and had her third 20-point game of her rookie season, shooting 5-of-11 from the field and 10-of-14 from the line with two 3-pointers. Senior Alle Moreno chipped in 16 points and a game-high eight rebounds, junior Takara Burse had 12 points and four steals, and freshman Ashlyn Crenshaw scored a career-high 10 points with three steals.
With the win the Hornets took sole possession of fifth place in the Big Sky and could move into a tie with Eastern Washington for fourth if the Eagles lose tonight at Northern Arizona. Sacramento State is on the road next week facing Northern Colorado at 6 p.m. Pacific time Thursday and conference-leading North Dakota at 12 p.m. Pacific on Saturday.