SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Sacramento State Hornets host the Portland State Vikings in their first conference rematch of the season. The Hornets opened Big Sky play on the road against the Vikings and will look to split the season series Saturday at the Nest. Tip off for the Sacramento State vs. Portland State game is set for 1:05 pm in the Nest.
How To Watch
Saturday's game can be seen live online at watchbigsky.com and on Pluto TV, channel 233. The game will also be available in audio-only format online at hornetsports.com. As always, live stats for Saturday's game can be found online at hornetstats.com.
The Starting Five
• Sophomore forward Kennedy Nicholas scored a career-high 19 points in Sacramento State's last game at home against Idaho State. She passed her previous career high of 17 and did it on 9-of-11 shooting while going 1-for-2 at the free throw line.
• Sophomore guard Hannah Friend pulled in a career-best 14 rebounds in the team's last game at home against Idaho State. With 14 points in the game, it was also her first career double-double. She is the fourth Hornets player with a double-double this season.
• Senior guard Maranne Johnson is just seven steals away from tying the Sacramento State women's basketball program record for career steals. Her 301 career steals are behind only Fantasia Hillard's 308.
• The Hornets enter Saturday riding a three-game losing streak at home. They will look to avoid losing four straight at home for the first time since the 2011-12 season. They have not lost five straight at home since 2010-11 season.
• Portland State enters Saturday's game with a 10-8 record, including 4-3 in Big Sky play. They are coming off a 77-64 win over Weber State at home but are 2-3 over their last five. They are averaging 73.8 points per game this season.
By The Numbers
8.1: The number of threes made per game by Sacramento State, the fourth most in the Big Sky Conference and the 41st most in NCAA Div. I.
32: Maranne Johnson's national NCAA Div. I ranking for total steals (53) and steals per game (2.93). She is third in both in the Big Sky Conference.
82: The shooting percentage for Kennedy Nicholas (9-for-11), a career-best, in her 19-point game (also a career-best) against Idaho State.
Scouting Portland State
Portland State enters Saturday's game against the Hornets with a 10-8 overall record and a 4-3 record in Big Sky Conference play. Like Sacramento State, the Vikings also had an off day Thursday and have not played since last Saturday. They are coming off a strong 77-64 win over Weber State but are 2-3 in their last five. On the road this season, Portland State is 4-6. As a team, the Vikings are averaging 73.8 points per game while allowing 73.5 points per game. Leading the way on the offensive end is Sidney Riley, who's 18.9 points per game are tops on the team and fourth most in the Big Sky Conference. Right behind her is former Big Sky Player of the Week, Ashley Bolston, who averages 16.2 points a game and is shooting 39.3% from three. As a team, Portland State leads the Big Sky in assists (204) and assists per game (16.3). They are also top three in field goal percentage (43.5, 3rd), free throws made (290, 2nd), and scoring offense (73.8 ppg, 2nd). The Vikings are led by third year head coach Lynn Kennedy.
About Last Game
Sacramento State dropped their fifth straight game last Saturday afternoon at home against Idaho State, falling to the Bengals 85-71. Despite the 14-point margin, it was actually just a four-point deficit with inside two minutes to play. Unfortunately, fouls and missed shots turned into a 12-2 Idaho State run to close out the game. Kennedy Nicholas led the Hornets with a career-high 19 points on 9-of-11 shooting while Hannah Friend recorded her first career double-double with 14 points and a career-best 14 rebounds. Maranne Johnson also had a good game, scoring 18 while collecting four steals. Johnson and Idaho State's Brooke Blair got into it a little bit toward the end of the game after what had been a physical matchup all day. Bunky Harkleroad was tagged with his first technical foul of the year in the loss, as well.
Against Portland State
• The Hornets are 18-27 against Portland State since the start of the 1991-92 season, including 0-1 this year. At the Nest, Sacramento State is 10-12 against the Vikings.
• In their last game earlier this season, Sacramento State dropped a heartbreak, 74-73 in the final second to Portland State after leading by four with 15 seconds to go.
• The two teams split a two-game series last season, each winning on the other's court.
• Dating back to the 2012-13 season, Sacramento State is 8-3 against the Vikings while averaging 95 points per game. They are 3-2 in their last five games while averaging 98.8 points per game.
Big Sky Breakdown
• Entering Thursday night's games, Sacramento State is tied with Northern Arizona for the Big Sky Conference's worst record at 1-6.
• Northern Colorado, Weber State, Eastern Washington, and Montana sit atop the conference in a four-way tie with 5-2 records.
• Four teams - Idaho State, Montana State, Portland State, and Idaho - are tied for fifth in the conference with 4-3 records.
Even Up The Series
Sacramento State is playing for a series split against Portland State after dropping the first game against the Vikings in Portland. The Hornets very nearly took their first conference game of the year in exciting comeback fashion, but gave away a four-point lead late in the fourth quarter. They trailed four with 15 seconds left and lost as Portland State's Ashley Bolston made a go-ahead free throw with less than a second to play.
Sophomore guard Hannah Friend recorded her first career double-double in Sacramento State's last game at home against Idaho State. She scored 14 points and pulled in a career-high 14 rebounds in the effort. She joins Kennedy Nicholas, Kyhonta Doughty, and Maranne Johnson, all of whom have double-doubles this season.
Sophomore forward Kennedy Nicholas is fifth in the Big Sky Conference in both total blocks (25) and blocks per game (1.39). In the last five games, Nicholas has 12 blocks (2.4 per game).
Nicholas Stepping Up
In her second season, Kenned Nicholas has set all sorts of new career records, including points (19 vs. Idaho State), blocks (six at Montana), rebounds (14 at San Francisco), and minutes (38 vs. Idaho).
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 17.3 points per game.
Home Sweet Home
Saturday's game is the third and final game on this current homestand, their longest home stretch of the season. Sacramento State has played just five games at home this season and are 2-3 in the Nest. As a team, the Hornets are scoring 74.6 points per game at home compared to just 64.4 points per game on the road.
Breaking the Streak
Sacramento State has lost three straight home games, their longest such home losing streak since the 2011-12 season, when they dropped four straight at home (Montana, Montana State, Northern Colorado, Eastern Washington). During the 2010-11 season, the Hornets lost nine straight home contests (seven versus Big Sky Opponents).
Big Sky Record Setter
• Maranne Johnson set the new Big Sky Conference record for career made three-pointers earlier this season, passing Montana State's Katie Bussey (2008-12) on Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017. She currently has 269 career threes. She is also approaching the Big Sky Conference record for career steals.
• She is fifth all-time with 301 career steals in the Big Sky, seven back of former Hornets player Fantasia Hillard (308) and 45 back of the all-time leader, Northern Colorado's D'Shara Strange (246, 2010-15).
Sacramento State Top-10 Watch: Points
Maranne Johnson is currently sixth all-time with 1,411 points for her career. She is just 27 points back of both Sarah Stapp and Fantasia Hillard, who are tied for fourth with 1,438 career points.
Sacramento State Top-10 Watch: Assists
Justyce Dawson is seventh for most career assists in Sacramento State women's basketball program history with 265. The senior point guard is 13 back of Alle Moreno (278, 1987-91).
Sacramento State Top-10 Watch: Steals
Maranne Johnson continues to close in on the Sacramento State women's hoops program record for career steals. Johnson now has 301 for her career, just seven off the program mark of 308 (Fantasia Hilliard, 2011-15).
In Need of Threes
Over their last four games, the Sacramento State Hornets are just 19-for-their-last-105 from three-point range (18.1%). The team's leading three-point scorers - Maranne Johnson and Hannah Friend - are a combined 9-for-54 (16.7%) over that same stretch. As a team, Sacramento State's three-point field goal percentage has dropped nearly 30 points from .318 to .289 during that time.
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).
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.
As a team, the Sacramento State Hornets are top 5 in the Big Sky Conference in nine different categories and are ranked as high as third in four of those nine.
Among Big Sky Teams
Fewest Turnovers: 273 (4th BSC, 69th Div. I)
Scoring Offense: 69.3 (5th BSC, 104th Div. I)
Steals: 168 (3rd BSC, 127th Div. I)
Steals/Gm: 9.3 (3rd BSC, 79th Div. I)
3-Pt FGA: 505 (3rd BSC, 24th Div. I)
3-Pt FG: 146 (4th BSC, 63rd Div. I)
3-Pt FG/Gm: 8.1 (4th BCS, 42nd Div. I)
TO Margin: 1.00 (4th BSC, 142nd Div. I)
TOs Forced: 16.17 (3rd BSC, 178th Div. I)
-- HornetSports --