SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Sacramento State women's basketball team hits the road yet again as they travel north to take on Montana on Thursday. The Hornets will look to bounce back after a tough loss at home against Eastern Washington and make it three straight wins against the Lady Griz. Thursday's game is scheduled for a 6:05 pm PT tip.
How To Watch
Saturday's game on the road at the Montana Grizzlies can be seen live online at watchbigsky.com. An audio -only version will be available on Griz All Access. Live stats are also available at hornetstats.com.
The Starting Five
- Sophomore guard Hannah Friend is averaging 19.9 points per game, the 39th best mark in NCAA Div. I and the third best in the Big Sky Conference. She has scored 20 or more points in back-to-back games and in seven games this season.
- Sophomore forward Kennedy Nicholas came up one bucket shy of her fourth double-double, finishing the team's last game with eight points and 10 rebounds. Over her last six games. Nicholas is averaging 9.0 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.
- Senior guard Maranne Johnson totaled 10 steals in last week's two games. She is third in the Big Sky and 41st in NCAA Div. I with 41 steals this season, though her 2.93 steals per game are second in the Big Sky and 28th in the nation.
- The Sacramento State Hornets hit the road again for two games this week. So far this season, the Hornets are 0-8 in road games (1-2 neutral) and are averaging just 66.9 points per game while their opponents are scoring 90.1.
- The Montana Lady Griz enter Thursday's game with a 7-8 record (3-1 Big Sky). They are coming off a tough 68-50 loss on the road at Northern Colorado, though they won their first three conference games by an average of 10 points. Their defense has limited opponents to 62.1 points per game.
By The Numbers
6: The number of steals by Maranne Johnson in the Hornets' last game, a new season-high. She averages 2.93 steals per game.
13: The number of three-pointers made by the Hornets in their last game against EWU, their most made threes in a game this season.
63: Shooting percentage for Kennedy Nicholas since the start of Big Sky Conference play. The sophomore forward is 12-19 in three games.
Montana enters Thursday's game with a 7-8 record, including 3-1 in the Big Sky Conference. Despite losing their last game 68-50 on the road at Northern Colorado, the Lady Griz have won their three conference games by a margin of 10 points. Montana has played well at home this season, posting a 6-3 record at Dahlberg Arena. While Montana is 3-1 in conference play, they are only averaging 63.8 points per game in those four games. Their defense has been stingy in Big Sky play, limiting opponents to just 61.0 points per game. Defensively, Sophia Stiles leads the team with 24 steals while Jace Henderson has collected 13 blocks. Offensively, McKenzie Johnston leads the Lady Griz squad with 11.7 points per game. She is the only Montana player to average double-figure points this season. Behind her is Henderson, whose 8.8 points per game rank second and 7.5 rebounds per game lead the team. The Lady Griz are led by second year head coach Shannon Schweyen, who is 14-31 in her Montana career.
About Last Game
Sacramento State dropped their first home game of the season last Saturday, falling 83-72 versus the Eastern Washington Eagles. The Hornets fell behind 21-14 after the first quarter and were unable to recover, trailing the rest of the way. They struggled shooting the ball, but made some shots late to pull their percentage up to 39.3% for the game. Hannah Friend led the team for the second straight game, scoring 26 points. She also pulled down four rebounds and had two steals. Maranne Johnson (13 points) and Raegen Rohn (10) each reached double-figures in scoring, and Johnson added seven boards. It was Kennedy Nicholas who led the team in boards, pulling down 10, including six offensive. Turnovers proved costly, as the Hornets committed 20, resulting in 21 Eagles points.
- The Hornets are 6-36 against Montana since the 1996-97 season, including just 1-21 on the road.
- Sacramento has won the last two games between the two schools, sweeping the Lady Griz last season with a 99-69 win at the Nest and a 73-60 win in Montana. The Hornets have won three of the last four games against Montana.
- The Hornets' 73-60 win in Montana last season was their first win on the road against the Lady Griz in 21 tries.
- Although the two teams started playing each other regularly in 1996, the Hornets did not get their first win over Montana until the 2009-10 season.
Big Sky Breakdown
- The Sacramento State women's basketball team is one of two teams to enter the second weekend of conference play with a 1-2 record (Idaho State, 1-2).
- Only Northern Colorado (4-0), who was picked to finish first in the conference in both the Media and Coaches' Preseason Polls, is the only team still undefeated in Big Sky play.
- Every team in the conference has won at least one game heading into the conference's second weekend.
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 2.9 steals per game.
- Hannah Friend leads all Big Sky sophomores with 19.9 points per game.
- Dana DeGraffenreid is tied for the Big Sky lead in steals among freshmen with 1.7 per game.
Rohn For Three
Junior guard Raegen Rohn has started back-to-back games for the Hornets and is 5-for-11 (45%) from beyond the arc in those two games. Since the start of conference play (three games), Rohn is 47.1% (8-17) from three. For the season, the junior from Erie, Colo. is shooting a team-leading 35.9% (18-39) from three-point land.
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 four times this season.
Top-10 Watch: Points
Maranne Johnson is currently sixth all-time with 1,345 points for her career. She is just 93 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 is eighth for most career assists in Sacramento State women's basketball program history with 251. The senior point guard is three 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 a season-high six steals in the Hornets' last game against Eastern Washington, Johnson now has 289 for her career, just 19 off the program mark of 308 (Fantasia Hilliard, 2011-15).
On the Road Again
After playing two conference games at home, the Hornets hit the road once again. Of the team's 14 games this season, 11 have taken place away from the Nest, including eight at opponents' home gyms and three at neutral sites. They are still looking for their first road win (0-8) and are 1-2 in neutral sites. Last season, the Hornets finished with a 4-8 record on the road and were winless (0-3) at neutral sites.
Sacramento State has endured more than their share of injuries through the first half of the season.
- Junior Raegen Rohn missed the team's first four games recovering from a wrist injury.
- Senior forward Kyhonta Doughty has been battling a knee injury all season and has missed four games while being limited in three others.
- Senior point guard Justyce Dawson missed two games and was limited in two more with a concussion.
- Freshman guard Dana DeGraffenreid missed her first game with a hip injury after starting the team's first 12 games.
- After playing just two games, freshman forward Tiana Johnson has been out all season with a leg injury.
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 Thursday with 261 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).
- Idaho's junior guard Taylor Pierce is second among active Big Sky players and third all-time with 241 made three-pointers.
As a team, the Sacramento State Hornets are top 5 in the Big Sky Conference in 11 different categories and are ranked as high as third in five of those 11, including second in three-point field goal attempts.
Among Big Sky Teams
Fewest Turnovers: 221 (4th BSC, 91st Div. I)
Free Throw Percentage: 71.7% (5th BSC, 111st Div. I)
Rebounds/Game: 38.57 (5th BSC, 158th Div. I)
Scoring Offense: 72.2 (3rd BSC, 73rd Div. I)
Steals: 130 (3rd BSC, 128th Div. I)
Steals/Game: 9.3 (3rd BSC, 89th Div. I)
3-Pt FGA: 400 (2nd BSC, 20th Div. I)
3-Pt FG: 127 (4th BSC, 36th Div. I)
3-Pt FG/Game: 9.1 (4th BCS, 24th Div. I)
Turnover Margin: 0.57 (4th BSC, 158th Div. I)
Turnovers Forced/Game: 16.36 (3rd BSC, 183rd Div. I)
-- HornetSports --