SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Sacramento State Hornets continue their East Coast trip as they look to avoid their first 0-3 start since the 2014-15 season. It could prove to be a tough task as they take on the No. 12 ranked West Virginia Mountaineers Tuesday night at WVU Collesium in Morgantown. Tip off is at 4:00 PM PT.
Watch/Listen: WVU Sports
Live Stats: WVU Stats Broadcast
The Starting Five
- The Hornets opened their season last Friday with a loss on the road at Kentucky, a No. 3 seed in last year's NCAA Tournament and followed that with a heartbreaking loss at Morehead State University on Saturday. The team averaged 70.5 ppg in those two losses.
- Sophomore guard Hannah Friend had a strong debut weekend for the Hornets, scoring a team-high 19 against Kentucky and adding 13 more at Morehead State. The 6-0 transfer, playing in her first games after redshirting last season, shot 41.7% from the floor and 46.2% from three (6-13).
- After two games, senior guard Maranne Johnson is averaging 34.5 minutes per game, most on the team and three more minutes than fellow senior Justyce Dawson. Johnson led the team in minutes played 14 times last season.
- Freshman Dana DeGraffenreid started both games for the Hornets, scoring 23 points on 36.4% shooting. Her 60 minutes are third most through two games behind seniors Maranne Johnson and Justyce Dawson.
- The Hornets continue their East Coast tour with Tuesday's game at West Virginia. West Virginia was a No. 6 seed in last year's NCAA Tournament and is ranked No. 12 and 13 in the latest AP Poll and Coaches Poll, respectively.
By The Numbers
16: The number of 3-pointers made needed by Maranne Johnson to become the all-time leading 3-point scorer in program history (Alle Moreno, 238).
1: The number of times the Sacramento State women's basketball team has started the season 0-3 under head coach Bunky Harkleroad (2014-15).
7: The number of games Sacramento State will play on the road before their regular season home opener on Dec. 6 vs. Antelope Valley
Scouting West Virginia
West Virginia finished last year's regular season 24-10 (8-10 BIG12), including a thrilling Big 12 Tournament run in which the sixth seeded Mountaineers upset No. 3 seed Oklahoma in the quarter finals, No. 2 seed Texas in the semifinals, and ultimately No. 2 seed Baylor to clinch the Big 12 Tournament Championship. They then advanced to the NCAA Tournament as a No. 6 seed, ultimately falling to Maryland in the second round. West Virginia entered the 2017-18 season as the No. 13 team in the nation and have jumped up one spot to No. 12 after defeating Central Connecticut State 102-52 in their season opener. The Mountaineers are led by junior guard Tynice Martin, who was named to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team before the season. As a sophomore, Martin averaged over 33 minutes and 16.9 points per game. Junior guard Teanna Muldrow led the way for West Virginia in their first game, dropping a career-high 30 points in their win over CCSU.
Back-To-Back In Kentucky
The Hornets left Sacramento almost a week ago to start a three-game trip through Kentucky and West Virginia. Sacramento State opened their season against Kentucky, currently ranked #25, and fell 101-70. Despite the 31-point margin, the Hornets played Kentucky competitively for two quarters before falling behind in the second half.
They then dropped a heartbreaker in their last game, a 75-71 loss at Morehead State. The Hornets led the entire game before giving away the lead with 25 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Sacramento State failed to score a basket in the final three minutes and was outscored by Morehouse 15-3 in the game's final eight minutes.
A Friend To Count On
Sophomore guard Hannah Friend has impressed in her first two games with the Hornets. A transfer from Delaware, Friend sat out last season as a redshirt and didn't see action on the court until this season. The 6-0 guard posted a double-double (21 points, 10 rebounds) in Sacramento State's exhibition game before scoring 19 in the season opener at Kentucky. Through two games, Friend leads the team in scoring (16.0 ppg) while shooting a team-best .462 (6-13) from the 3-point line.
On The Road
Sacramento State's game against West Virginia is their third straight road game and just number three of seven consecutive games away from The Nest. Last season, the Hornets were 4-8 on the road and 0-3 at neutral sites. They don't return to Sacramento until Dec. 6 when they host Antelope Valley.
The Hornets opened their season against Kentucky, currently ranked #25. At the time, the Wildcats were receiving votes and were the first team outside the Top 25. Next they face West Virginia, ranked 12 in the nation. Their next game, also on the road, is against Arizona State, another team receiving votes but not currently ranked.
Sacramento State enters Tuesday ranked 27th in NCAA Div. I with 47 3-point field goals attempted. Their 21 steals are 33rd most in the nation and first in the Big Sky Conference. They are also top 50 in free throws made (46th) and rebounds (48th). Known for their 3-point prowess, Sacramento State is 58th in NCAA Div. I with 12 made 3-pointers through two games.
Senior point guard Justyce Dawson set a new career-high with 32 minutes played in Saturday's game against Morehead State. Prior to that game, Dawson's career-high was 29 minutes, set last February against Idaho. Maranne Johnson matched her career-high, playing 35 minutes against Kentucky, while Tiana Johnson set a new high, as well, playing 20 minutes against Kentucky.
Senior guard Maranne Johnson made 93 3-pointers last season, setting a new single-season record for Sacramento State women's basketball. The previous record was 86 and was held by both Brianna Burgos (2016-17) and Hallie Gennett (2015-16). Johnson made 76 3-pointers her sophomore year and now has 220 in her career. She is just one of two players to ever break the 200-mark. With three made 3-pointers so far this season, she is just 15 made 3-pointers behind Alle Moreno's program career record of 238 career threes.
In addition to chasing the program record for career made 3-pointers, Maranne Johnson also enters the season second in career steals. After an 87-steal season last year, Johnson entered this season with 248 steals in her career. With four steaks already this season, Johnson is poised to overtake the all-time program leader Fantasia Hilliard, who has 308.
The Hornets return just two starters from last year's postseason squad: senior guards Maranne Johnson and Justyce Dawson. Johnson led the team in scoring last season, averaging 15.0 points per game. She was also the team's leading 3-point shooter, shooting 33% from outside the arc. She was top-20 in NCAA Div. I in 3-pointers attempted (10th, 282), 3-pointers made (20th, 93), and 3-pointers made per game (13th, 3.10). Dawson, a 5-4 point guard, led the club in assists, average 4.3 per game. With 130 assists all season compared to just 47 turnovers, Dawson was 11th in NCAA Div. I with a 2.77 assist/turnover ratio. Among those returning to NCAA play this year, Dawson's 2.77 mark is the fifth best in the nation.
A Young Squad
Sacramento State's roster features five newcomers and two returning from redshirt seasons. Among the seven total players joining the roster this season, four are true freshmen: Tiana Johnson, Dana DeGraffenreid, Anna Weibel, and Skylar Jackson. Of the 13 players on the roster, eight are underclassmen.
The Nation's Best
For the fourth straight season, Sacramento State led NCAA Div. I in 3-pointers made per game (10.7). The Hornets set and all-time NCAA Div. I record when scoring 12.5 3FG/game in both 2015-16 and 2016-17.
Sacramento State finished in the top-10 in multiple stats per game last season, including steals (3rd, 12.3), turnovers (7th, 21.13), offensive rebounds (5th, 18), and overall scoring (8th, 82.4). Since the arrival of Coach Harkleroad, the Hornets have finished top-5 in steals for four straight seasons, including first from 2013-16.
Happy To Share
Senior point guard Justyce Dawson led the Big Sky and ranked 11th in NCAA Div. I with a 2.77 assist to turnover ratio last season. Among returners in NCAA Div. I women's basketball, Dawson's 2.77 assist/to number ranks fifth. She had a career-high 13 assists last season at Southern Utah, the second most assists in a game in program history and the most by a Hornets player in the Div. I era. She has 224 career assists and is just outside the top-10 all-time.
All The Threes
The Hornets knocked down 21 threes in two games last season, the most by a team in NCAA Div. I. Sacramento hold the NCAA Div. I record for 3-pointers made in a game with 25, a feat they achieved twice during the 2015-16 season. Sacramento State owns the NCAA Div. I record for both 3-pointers made (25) and 3-pointers attempted (80) in a single game.
Big Sky Preseason Poll
Sacramento State was picked to finish 10th in the Big Sky preseason media poll and ninth in the coaches' poll. The Hornets earned 61 points in the media poll, just five behind Weber State and 27 ahead of Northern Arizona. In the coaches' poll, Sacramento State received 37 points, 26 back of Idaho State and three ahead of Weber State. The polls were unanimous on the Big Sky Champion, with Northern Colorado taking the top spot in both. North Dakota was selected to finish second in both polls, as well.
Presence in the Post
While Coach Harkleroad has built his program around "The System," a style of play that calls for aggressive traps, steals, and lots of quick outside shots, the Hornets have one of their tallest teams in recent history, averaging 5-9 across the roster. Senior Kyhonta Doughty, a 6-1 forward is back from injury while sophomore guard Hannah Friend (6-0) is back after redshirting last season. They are joined by freshmen newcomers Tiana Johnson (6-2) and Anna Weibel (6-3) and returning sophomore Kennedy Nicholas (6-3) as the six-footers on the roster. With the added height, the Hornets could see more post-play this season than in years past.
Sacramento State enters the 2017-18 season having led the Big Sky in scoring for eight straight seasons. Last year, their 82.4 points per game were 10.2 more than second-place Montana State (72.2 ppg). Their 82.4 ppg was the eighth highest in the nation.