SACRAMENTO, Calif. – With a potential berth in the Big Sky Tournament at stake, Sacramento State (17-9, 9-8 Big Sky) plays its final home game of the season at 2 p.m. Saturday against Idaho State (11-15, 9-8 Big Sky).
A win Saturday and a loss by Northern Colorado at Portland State would secure the program's third-consecutive trip to the Big Sky Tournament. Regardless of the Northern Colorado outcome, a win on Saturday would propel the Hornets into a likely postseason berth and give the team a season split with Idaho State, which earned a 62-53 win over the Hornets in Pocatello in Jan. 30. The Hornets and Bengals are tied for fifth place in the conference entering play on Saturday.
Saturday will also be the final home game for Hornet seniors Sadie Clements, Alle Moreno, and Se'Nyce Parrish. The three came to Sacramento State in 2010-11 and endured a 4-25 season as freshmen, but the hard work of the trio helped turn the program around. The team qualified for the Big Sky tournament and earned the first postseason wins in program history over the last two years and the squad equaled the program record with 19 victories in 2012-13.
The Hornets had a school-record 11-1 start to this season, including a nine-game winning streak and a victory at Oregon, in large part due to the play and leadership of the seniors. Unfortunately, Parrish suffered a season-ending knee injury in just the second game of the season, but she has continued to be a part of the team and has been supportive from the sidelines in games and practices.
The seniors were also key in getting the rest of the team ready for the season amid a late coaching change and new system being implemented just a few weeks before the start of the season.
"After having a coaching change and coming to the end of my career I hope we can end it on a good note," said Clements. "We're leaving the program in really good hands and I think it has a good future in store for it. We had the opportunity to turn the program around and it's amazing to see how far we've come since we first got here."
All three seniors were four-year Hornets and played considerable roles throughout their careers. Each have been prolific 3-point shooters, as Moreno broke the program record for career 3-point makes, Clements has hit 97 shots from beyond the arc, and Parrish tied the Big Sky record with nine 3-pointers made and 39 points last season at Oregon State.
The progress the program has made under their leadership is their legacy, and the future looks bright with the influx of talent the seniors have seen in the younger classes.
"Of course I'm sad to be done here; these fans have been great and I feel like we've made our mark in this program as seniors. We've changed this program with three winning seasons in a row and have gone to the tournament in the last two years and hopefully that's three in a row." Moreno said. "We couldn't have asked for a better incoming class. They're going to do great things for this program and I'm excited to look back and see what they accomplish."
"At the end of the day I've spent four years of my life here and I've dedicated four years to this program so its going to be nice to walk onto the court that last time as part of the team," Parrish said. "I'm grateful for the opportunity and I'll always have these memories. I'm glad we really made some big changes and put our program on the map."
There is still one part of the legacy missing, and that is the final chapter to be written this season. With a win on senior day, the three upperclassmen and their teammates could achieve the first of their goals and earn a ticket to the conference championship.
"Its been a bumpy road this year but that's what makes us the team we are," Moreno said. "I couldn't be more thankful. I think (the win on Thursday against Weber State) brought us back to the team we were before and hopefully we are peaking at the right time."