NICHOLAS SCORES CAREER-HIGH, BUT WOMEN’S HOOPS DROPS HARD FOUGHT GAME SATURDAY AGAINST IDAHO STATE

NICHOLAS SCORES CAREER-HIGH, BUT WOMEN’S HOOPS DROPS HARD FOUGHT GAME SATURDAY AGAINST IDAHO STATE

SACRAMENTO, Calif.Kennedy Nicholas scored a career-high 19 points Saturday afternoon for the Sacramento State women's basketball team (3-15, 1-6), but despite her effort and a late fourth-quarter push, the Hornets fell to the Idaho State Bengals (13-6, 4-3), 85-71, at the Nest.

Nicholas did much of the heavy lifting early for Sacramento State, scoring eight of the team's 17 first-quarter points. She went on to score a career-high 19 total in the game on 9-of-11 shooting. She was also 1-2 from the free throw line while pulling in five rebounds, collecting a steal, and adding an assist.

The sophomore forward from Washington passed her previous career-high of 17 points and did so in just 21 minutes of play. Unfortunately, her time was limited by foul trouble as she picked up her fourth foul midway through the third quarter. She played just seven minutes in the second half.

Hannah Friend rebounded nicely from a tough game against Weber State, recording a double-double with 14 points and a career-high 14 rebounds Saturday against Idaho State. Friend was unable to shake her recent struggles from range, going 0-for-5 from beyond the arc, but found success down low and continued to shoot well from the free throw line.

Maranne Johnson also broke double-digits for Sacramento State, scoring 18 points on 8-of-15 shooting. She added six rebounds and continued to climb the record books by adding four more steals. Johnson is now just seven steals back of the Sacramento State women's basketball program leader Fantasia Hillard (308 career steals).

The game itself felt familiar for the Hornets after one quarter of play as Sacramento State trailed 23-17. That deficit expanded and Idaho State took a 42-31 lead into the half. 

The Hornets slowly started to chip away at the deficit in the second half, however, outscoring the Bengals in the third quarter and surging late in the fourth quarter. After trailing by 16 with six and a half minutes to play, Sacramento State rallied back, cutting the deficit to just four points with inside two minutes to go.

Unfortunately, the Hornets were unable to hold on to their momentum and Idaho State outscored the Hornets 12-2 in the game's final two minutes. 10 of those 12 points came by the way of free throws.

The game featured 33 free throw attempts, 25 of them by Idaho State. There were a combined 35 fouls – 23 by Sacramento State – in a game that started physical and started to get out of control late in the fourth quarter.

Things boiled over with two minutes left in the game as Johnson and Idaho State's Brooke Blair exchanged words and shoves at midcourt. Both players were charged with fouls and Blair, whose foul was her fifth, left the game.

Sacramento State's Bunky Harkleroad was also charged with a technical foul earlier in the game, his first of the season, and Quayonna Harris fouled out for the Hornets.

Overall, Sacramento State shot 41.1% (30-73) from the floor but just 15.4% (4-26) from three. They continued to find success at the free throw line, going 7-for-8 (87.5%) as a team. They had a strong game down low, outscoring Idaho State 42-32 in the paint.

Idaho State, on the other hand, shot 52.8% (28-53) from the floor, including 35.3% (6-17) from three. Their bench provided much needed depth, scoring 25 points to Sacramento State's 15 points off the bench. Kenyon Grace did most of the damage for the Bengals, scoring 22 points on 10-of-11 shooting and pulling in 13 total rebounds.

With the loss, Sacramento State falls to 3-15 overall and 1-6 in Big Sky Conference play. They have a week off before taking the court again next Saturday, January 27 at the Nest against Portland State. Tip off for Saturday's game is scheduled for 1:05 pm PT.