SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Sacramento State Hornets return home for just the second time this season as they take on the Idaho Vandals in the first of two games at the Nest this weekend. For the Hornets, it is their first home conference game of the season.
Saturday, Jan. 6 is Kids Day at the Nest, as well. Kids Day features free admission for children 12 and under, a free one-hour clinic after the game with Sacramento State coaches and players, and free team photos for autographs.
How To Watch
Thursday's game at the Nest against the Idaho Vandals can be seen and heard live online at watchbigsky.com with play-by-play commentator Brian Berger. Live stats are also available at hornetsports.com.
The Starting Five
• Senior guard Maranne Johnson broke the Big Sky Conference three-point record in Sacramento State's last game, going 7-of-13 from beyond the arc to give her 257 career threes. She passed Montana State's Katie Bussey's (2008-12) mark of 254.
• Sophomore guard Hannah Friend has double digit points in nine straight games, the longest such streak for the Hornets this season. She has 20 or more points in five of those nine games and leads the team with 18.6 points per game.
• Point guard Tiara Scott matched her career-high with nine assists in Sacramento State's last game at Portland State. The last time the sophomore totaled nine assists was last season, also against Portland State.
• As a freshman, Dana DeGraffenreid is third on the team in points (10.9 ppg), minutes (28.0 mpg), and three-pointers (12). Her 22 steals are second most on the squad, behind only senior Maranne Johnson (31). She is also one of three to have started every game this season.
• The Idaho Vandals enters Thursday's game with a 5-8 record, though they have won two of their last three games. They are 2-3 on the road this season and 3-4 overall away from their home court. They are averaging just 69.9 points per game.
By The Numbers
1: The number of home games the Hornets have played this season. Thursday's game against Idaho is just their second at the Nest.
11: The number of made three-pointers Sacramento State is averaging over their last two games, nearly three more than their season average.
257: The number of three-point field goals made by Maranne Johnson in her career, the most by any women's player in Big Sky Conference history.
Idaho enters Thursday's game with a 5-8 record overall, including a 1-1 record in Big Sky Conference play. They Vandals are coming off a 78-72 loss versus Northern Colorado, though they defeated Eastern Washington 80-75 earlier last week. As a team, the Vandals are averaging less than 70 points per game, coming in just below at 69.9. They are allowing their opponents to score 76.2 points per game. Idaho leads the Big Sky Conference in three-point field goal attempts, clocking in with 355 (two more than Montana State and eight more than Sacramento State). Idaho is led by junior guard Mikayla Ferenz, who was named the Big Sky Conference Player of the Week for the week of Jan. 2. She is averaging 21.2 points per game while shooting 40.4% from three. She is also tied with senior Geraldine for the team lead with 6.2 boards per game. At the helm for Idaho is head coach Jon Newlee, in his 10th season with Idaho.
About Last Game
Sacramento State dropped a heartbreaker in their last game, falling 74-73 to Portland State in the final second on the road at Lewis & Clark College. After falling behind by as many as eight points late in the third quarter, the Hornets battled back in the final period, eventually taking the lead back on a clutch Raegen Rohn three with just under a minute to play. Leading by four with 18 seconds left, the Portland State Vikings went on a 5-0 run in the game's final seconds, handing Sacramento State the loss in their 2017-18 conference opener. Maranne Johnson and Hannah Friend scored 25 and 19 points, respectively, while Johnson just missed her second double-double of the year, pulling in nine rebounds.
• The Hornets are 4-8 against Idaho since the 1992-93 season, including just 2-3 at home.
• Idaho has won the last three straight games between the two schools, including two at the Nest. Before losing three straight, Sacramento State had won two in a row against the Vandals.
• The teams faced each other just once last season, a 72-58 Hornets loss at the Nest in February of last year.
• Sacramento State has not won at home against Idaho since the 2014-15 season.
• Idaho has been a member of three different conference since the first meeting between the two schools in 1992 (Big Sky, Big West, and WAC).
Big Sky Breakdown
• The Sacramento State women's basketball team is one of five teams still looking for their first conference win. The others are Idaho State (0-1), North Dakota (0-2), Northern Arizona (0-2), and Southern Utah (2-0).
• Five teams are undefeated through the first week of conference play: Northern Colorado (2-0), Montana State (2-0), Montana (2-0), Weber State (1-0), and Portland State (1-0).
Breaking Big Sky Records
• Sacramento State senior Maranne Johnson is the all-time leading three-point scorer in Big Sky Conference history after her performance in the team's last game at Portland State. Johnson was 7-for-13 from beyond the arc, giving her 257 career three-pointers. She moved past Montana State's Katie Bussey (2008-12), who own the previous record with 254 career threes.
• Johnson is one of four Sacramento State players to own a Big Sky conference career record. The other three are Hallie Gennett (Big Sky record 2.80 career 3-Pt FG average), Alle Moreno (Big Sky record 808 career 3-Pt FG attempts), and Kylie Kuhns (Big Sky record 1,234 career rebounds).
Leaders Among Their Peers
• Maranne Johnson leads all Big Sky seniors with 2.6 steals per game.
• Hannah Friend leads all Big Sky sophomores with 18.6 points per game.
• Dana DeGraffenreid leads all Big Sky freshmen in both points (10.9) and steals (1.8) per game.
A Sac State 30 for 30
Sophomore guard Hannah Friend is the only player in the Big Sky to post two 30-point games this season (34 points, 11/26 vs. Riverside; 32 points, 12/6 vs. Antelope Valley).
Lucky Number Seven
Senior guard Maranne Johnson has made seven threes in back-to-back games, the only time she's done so in her career. She has twice finished one shy of her career record of eight made threes in a game. She went 8-for-16 from beyond the arc against Stanislaus State in November 2016.
Big Sky Thievery
Senior Maranne Johnson and freshman Dana DeGraffenreid are both among the Top-10 in the Big Sky Conference for steals per game, averaging 2.58 and 1.83 steals per game, respectively. For Johnson, that mark is good for 70th overall in NCAA Div. I.
The Hornets continue to creep up the national leaderboards in all three-point field goal categories. They are 26th in the nation in three-point field goals attempted and 32nd in three-point field goals per game. Maranne Johnson and Hannah Friend are both among the top 75 three-point shooters in NCAA Div. I, ranking 32nd and 66th in three-point field goals made per game, respectively.
The 2017-18 Hornets squad is one that will be well traveled. The team's first seven games of the season were on the road and 11 of their first 12 will take place away from the Nest. Their season-opening road trip called for four games - three on the east coast, one on the west coast - in a span of just nine days. So far, the Hornets are 0-7 on the road and 1-2 at a neutral site. Last season, Sacramento State was 4-8 on the road and 0-3 at neutral sites.
Minutes Starting to Mount
Eight of Sacramento State's 11 players are averaging over 19 minutes per game this season while four are averaging 26 minutes or more. Maranne Johnson (33.2), Hannah Friend (29.2), Dana DeGraffenreid (28.0), and Tiara Scott (26.7) lead the team in minutes. Last season, the team had just one player average 25 or more minutes: Maranne Johnson (25.0).
As a team, the Sacramento State Hornets are top 5 in the Big Sky Conference in 10 different categories and are ranked as high as third in five of those 10.
Among Big Sky Teams
Fewest Turnovers: 187 (4th BSC, 67th Div. I)
Scoring Offense: 71.7 (3rd BSC, 82nd Div. I)
Steals: 111 (3rd BSC, 139th Div. I)
Steals/Game: 9.3 (3rd BSC, 95th Div. I)
3-Pt FGA: 347 (3rd BSC, 26th Div. I)
3-Pt FG: 105 (4th BSC, 54th Div. I)
3-Pt FG/Game: 8.8 (4th BCS, 32nd Div. I)
Turnover Margin: 1.08 (4th BSC, 137th Div. I)
Turnovers Forced/Game: 16.67 (3rd BSC, 163 Div. I)
Turnovers/Game: 15.6 (5th BSC, 134th Div. I)
Undefeated at Home
With their 95-62 win over Antelope Valley at the Nest in Sacramento, the Hornets are a perfect 1-0 at home this season.
Top-10 Watch: Assists
Senior point guard Justyce Dawson moved into a tie for ninth-most assists in Sacramento State women's basketball program history with three in the team's last game against Portland State. Dawson is now tied with Sarah Stapp (1992-96) with 246 career assists. She is one behind Kris Karley (1994-97), who is eighth on the list with 247 career assists.
Top-10 Watch: Steals
Maranne Johnson continues to close in on the Sacramento State women's hoops program record for career steals. With two steals in the Hornets' last game against Portland State, Johnson now has 279 for her career, just 29 off the program mark of 308 (Fantasia Hilliard, 2011-15). Johnson racked up 87 steals last year and is averaging 83 a season in her career, putting her on pace for 331 in her career.
-- HornetSports --