WOMEN'S BASKETBALL LOOKS FOR THIRD STRAIGHT HOME WIN SATURDAY AGAINST EASTERN WASHINGTON

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL LOOKS FOR THIRD STRAIGHT HOME WIN SATURDAY AGAINST EASTERN WASHINGTON

Complete Game Notes (PDF)

Big Sky Conference Standings

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Sacramento State women's basketball team (3-10, 1-1) welcomes Eastern Washington (6-9, 1-2) to the Nest tomorrow, Saturday, Jan. 6 as they look to win their third straight home game and improve to 2-1 in Big Sky Conference play. 

Saturday, Jan. 6 is also Kids Day at the Nest. 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

Saturday's game at the Nest against the Eastern Washington Eagles can be seen live online at watchbigsky.com with play-by-play commentator Will Schilling. Live stats are also available at hornetstats.com.

The Starting Five

  • Sophomore guard Hannah Friend is averaging 19.4 points per game, the 49th best mark in NCAA Div. I and the fourth best in the Big Sky Conference. She has scored 20 or more points in six games this season, including 30 or more twice.
  • Sophomore forward Kennedy Nicholas recorded her third double-double of the season in the Hornets' win over Idaho, scoring 12 points and pulling in 11 boards. Over her last five games, Nicholas is averaging 9.4 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. 
  • Senior guard Maranne Johnson is top-10 in the Big Sky in nearly every category, ranking as high as third in both steals (35) and field goal attempts (220). She is also top-5 in steals per game (2.69) and three-point field goal attempts (111).
  • The Eastern Washington Eagles enter Saturday's game with a 6-9 record (1-2 Big Sky). They are coming off a 75-60 loss at Portland State and are 1-5 on the road. As a team, the Eagles are averaging 60.8 points per game while their opponents average 66.5. 

By The Numbers

2: The number of 30-point games for Hannah Friend, the second most in the Big Sky Conference this season (Mikayla Ferenz, Idaho, three).

25: The average margin of victory in Sacramento State's wins this season. Their largest was a 33-point win over Antelope Valley at the Nest.  

76: Points per game for the Hornets since starting conference play, nearly five points higher than their non-conference average of 71.5 points per game.

Scouting Eastern Washington

Eastern Washington enters Saturday's game with a 6-9 record, including a 1-2 record in Big Sky Conference play. The Eagles are just 1-5 on the road so far this season, and are coming off a tough 75-60 loss at Portland State, a team the Hornets very nearly beat in Portland just last weekend. As a team, Eastern Washington is averaging just over 60 points a game (60.8) while allowing opponents to score 66.5 per contest. The Eagles lead the Big Sky in blocks (73) and blocks per game (4.9) in large part thanks to star senior forward Delaney Hodgins, who has 26 blocks on the season. In addition to blocks, Hodgins leads the team in scoring (19.3 ppg), rebounds (7.7 rpg), and minutes (35.3 mpg). Eastern Washington's defense has tormented opponents all season and they rank in the top 100 in all of NCAA Div. I in blocks, (38th, 73), blocks per game (43rd, 4.9), steals (25th, 155) and steals per game (34th, 11.1) as well as forced turnovers (89th, 18.43). The Eagles are led by head coach Wendy Schuller in her 17th season as women's basketball head coach.

 

About Last Game

The Hornets picked up their second home win and third win of the season Friday night, defeating the Idaho Vandals in convincing fashion, 79-64. Sacramento State opened the game with a 12-0 run and never looked back, leading by as much as 26 and never by fewer than eight. They had their best shooting night of the season, shooting 50.9% from the floor. Hannah Friend led the Hornets in scoring, putting up 29 points and collecting four rebounds. Kennedy Nicholas had her third double-double of the season, scoring 12 and pulling down 11 boards. Raegen Rohn made her first start of the season and played a career-high 38 minutes. 

Against Eastern Washington

  • The Hornets are 17-30 against Eastern Washington since the 1991-92 season, including just 8-14 at home.
  • Eastern Washington has won the last two games between the two schools, including one at the Nest and another in Reno during the first round of the 2015-16 Big Sky Tournament. Sacramento last beat Eastern Washington on the road during the 2015-16 season. 
  • The teams faced each other just once last season, a 72-65 Hornets loss at the Nest in February of last year.
  • Sacramento State has not won at home against Idaho since the 2014-15 season, an 84-49 victory.

Big Sky Breakdown

  • The Sacramento State women's basketball team is one of two teams that enter the weekend with a .500 record in Big Sky play (Weber State, 1-1).
  • Only Northern Colorado (3-0), Montana (3-0), and Portland State (2-0) remain undefeated. Northern Colorado was picked to finish first in the conference in both the Media and Coaches' Preseason Polls.
  • Idaho State (0-2) and North Dakota (0-3) are the only teams still looking for their first conference win. North Dakota was picked to finish second in the conference in both the Media and Coaches' Preseason Polls.

Breaking Big Sky Records

  • Sacramento State senior Maranne Johnson is the all-time leading three-point scorer in Big Sky Conference history. She enters play Saturday with 258 career three-pointers. She moved past Montana State's Katie Bussey (2008-12) on Saturday, Dec. 30. Bussey owned 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).

Winning Big

The Hornets may only have three wins this season, but they are winning by an average of 25 points when they do. They defeated UC Riverside 99-72 (27 points), Antelope Valley 95-62 (33 points), and Idaho (79-64 (15 points).

Leaders Among Their Peers

  • Maranne Johnson leads all Big Sky seniors with 2.7 steals per game.
  • Hannah Friend leads all Big Sky sophomores with 19.4 points per game.
  • Dana DeGraffenreid leads all Big Sky freshmen in both points (10.2) and steals (1.7) per game. 

A Sac State 30 for 30

Sophomore guard Hannah Friend is the one of two players in the Big Sky Conference to post two or more 30-point games this season. She scored 34 points on Nov. 26 vs. Riverside and 32 points on Dec. 6 vs. Antelope Valley. Idaho's Mikayla Ferenz has scored 30 or more three times this season.

Double-Double

Sophomore forward Kennedy Nicholas recorded her third double-double in Sacramento State's last game. All three of her double-doubles have come in the last five games. During that stretch, she is averaging 9.8 rebounds and 9.4 points per game.

Rohn For Three

Junior guard Raegen Rohn made her first start of the season last night and scored a season-best 11 points. She shot 3-for-5 from three and is shooting a team-best 36.4% from beyond the arc this season.

From Three!

The Hornets continue to creep up the national leaderboards in all three-point field goal categories. They are 24th in the nation in three-point field goals attempted and 28th in three-point field goals per game. Maranne Johnson and Hannah Friend are both among the top 60 three-point shooters in NCAA Div. I, ranking 45th and 60th in three-point field goals made per game, respectively. 

Undefeated at Home

The Hornets have played just two home games this season, but remain undefeated in the Nest with wins over both Antelope Valley and Idaho.

Top-10 Watch: Points

Maranne Johnson is currently sixth all-time with 1,332 points for her career. She is 106 points back of both Sarah Stapp and Fantasia Hillard, who are tied for fourth with 1,438 career points.

Top-10 Watch: Assists

Senior point guard Justyce Dawson moved into eight for most career assists in Sacramento State women's basketball program history with four in the team's last game against Idaho. Dawson is is four back of Terri Lugert (254, 1987-91).

Top-10 Watch: Steals

Maranne Johnson continues to close in on the Sacramento State women's hoops program record for career steals. With four steals in the Hornets' last game against Idaho, Johnson now has 283 for her career, just 25 off the program mark of 308 (Fantasia Hilliard, 2011-15).

Conference Rankings

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)

Minutes Starting to Mount

Seven of Sacramento State's 11 players are averaging over 20 minutes per game this season while four are averaging 26 minutes or more. Maranne Johnson (32.5), Hannah Friend (29.8), Dana DeGraffenreid (26.8), and Tiara Scott (26.8) lead the team in minutes. Last season, the team had just one player average 25 or more minutes: Maranne Johnson (25.0).

Road Warriors

The 2017-18 Hornets squad is one that will be well travelled. 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.

-- HornetSports --