WOMEN'S HOOPS OPENS ROAD TRIP AT EASTERN WASHINGTON THURSDAY

WOMEN'S HOOPS OPENS ROAD TRIP AT EASTERN WASHINGTON THURSDAY

Complete Game Notes (PDF)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- After a tough three-game homestand, the Sacramento State women's basketball team takes to the road Thursday as they go up against the Eastern Washington Eagles. The Hornets, who have lost six straight, will look to snap their skid Thursday night at 6:05 p.m. PT.

How To Watch

Thursday's game can be seen live online at watchbigsky.com on Pluto TV channel 234. As always, live stats for Saturday's game can be found online at hornetstats.com. Tip off is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. PT.

The Starting Five

  1. Sophomore guard Hannah Friend recorded her second double-double in as many games in Sacramento State's last tilt against Portland State. Friend put up 28 points and pulled in 12 rebounds while matching her career-high with three steals.
  2. Senior guard Maranne Johnson scored 20 points in the team's last game, the sixth time she's scored 20 or more this season and the 24th time in her career. She scored her 20 on 8-of-17 shooting while going 4-for-11 from beyond the arc.
  3. Senior point guard Justyce Dawson set a new season-high with nine assists in Sacramento State's game against Portland State. Over her last four games, Dawson is averaging 5.5 assists per game while playing just 27 minutes per game during that time.  
  4. Sacramento State is riding a six-game losing streak, it's longest since losing six games at the end of the 2013-14 season and beginning of the 2014015 season. The Hornets have not lost seven straight games since the 2010-11 season.
  5. Eastern Washington enters Thursday's game having lost back-to-back contests on the road against North Dakota and Northern Colorado. However, the Eagles have won their last four straight home games and are 7-3 in Cheney this season.

By The Numbers

9.8: The difference between Sacramento State's points per game on the road (64.4) and at home (74.2).

27: Maranne Johnson's national NCAA Div. I ranking for total steals per game (2.84). She is third in the Big Sky Conference.

54: The NCAA Div. I ranking for the Hornets for fewest turnovers (282). They have committed the fourth fewest turnovers in the Big Sky Conference.

Scouting Eastern Washington

Eastern Washington enters Thursday night's game against the Hornets with a 10-11 record, including a 5-4 mark in Big Sky Conference play. They are currently riding a two game losing streak, having dropped back-to-back contests on the road to North Dakota and Northern Colorado. However, the Eagles have won their last four straight home games and are 7-3 overall this season when playing on their home court. As a team, the Eagles are averaging just 64.1 points per game, 10th fewest in the Big Sky. Defensively, however, they only allow 66.0 points per game, fifth best in the conference. They lead the Big Sky in total blocks (90), blocked shots per game (4.3), and total steals (228). They are second in the conference in steals per game (10.9). On the floor, Eastern Washington is led by Delaney Hodgins, whose 20.1 points per game are second most in the Big Sky. A former conference player of the week, Hodgins leads the Eagles in scoring, steals, blocks, rebounds, and minutes. And it's not all that close. At the helm for Eastern Washington is Wendy Schuller (17th season).

About Last Game

Sacramento State dropped their sixth straight game last Saturday afternoon at home against Portland State, falling to the Vikings 81-72. Despite the final nine-point margin, the Hornets led for 32 minutes until late in the fourth quarter. A rough 10-point fourth quarter led to the loss, especially in the final two and a half minutes as the Vikings went on a 9-0 run to close the game. Sacramento State did not make a basket in the game's final 3:38. Hannah Friend posted another very strong game for the Hornets, scoring 28 points and pulling in 12 rebounds for her second double-double in as many games. The sophomore guard was 9-for-24 overall, including 6-of-12 from three. She also matched her career-high with three steals. Maranne Johnson also had a good game for Sacramento State, scoring 20 on 8-of-17 shooting. Justyce Dawson also came on strong for the Hornets, making her first start in three games and dishing out a season-best nine assists.

Against Portland State

  • The Hornets are 17-31 against Eastern Washington since the start of the 1991-92 season, including 0-1 this year. In Cheney, the Hornets are 7-14 against the Eagles. 
  • In their last game earlier this season, Sacramento State fell 83-72 at home.
  • Sacramento State's last win against Eastern Washington came on the road, a 94-91 win in Cheney during the 2015-16 season.  
  • Over their last five matchups, Sacramento State is 1-4 against the Eagles despite average 82.2 points per game.

Big Sky Breakdown

  • Entering Thursday night's games, Sacramento State is second to last in the Big Sky Conference with a 1-7 conference record. They are one game better than Northern Arizona (1-8).
  • Montana sits alone atop the Conference with a 7-2 Big Sky record. Weber State is next with a 6-2 mark.
  • Three teams - Northern Colorado, Montana State, and Idaho - are all tied for third with a 6-3 record.
  • Seven of the 12 teams in the conference have a winning record.

Even Up The Series

Sacramento State is playing for a series split against Eastern Washington after dropping the first game against the Eagles at home in The Nest. The Hornets have not won a season series against the Eagles since the 2007-8 season when they wont both games.

Double Trouble

Just one week after recording her first career double-double, sophomore guard Hannah Friend recorded her second in back-to-back games for Sacramento State. Neither were career-highs, but Friend scored 28 points on 9-of-24 shooting while pulling in 12 rebounds (six offensive). Over her last two games, Friend is averaging 21 points and 13 rebounds.

More Double Talk

With two double-doubles, Hannah Friend is second on the team this season. Sophomore forward Kenned Nicholas leads the team with three double-doubles this season while Kyhonta Doughty and Maranne Johnson each have one.

Rejected!

Sophomore forward Kennedy Nicholas is sixth in the Big Sky Conference with 1.37 blocks per game. She is just outside the top five with 25 total blocks this season.

Nicholas Stepping Up

In her second season, Kennedy 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

On the Road Again

The Hornets will play two games on the road this weekend, starting at Eastern Washington on Thursday and at Idaho on Saturday. Sacramento State is still looking for their first win on the road this season where they are 0-10 (1-2 at neutral sites). Sacramento is averaging nearly 10 fewer points per game on the road (64.4, 74.2) and are allowing almost 12 more points per game to opponents away from the Nest (87.4, 75.5).

Breaking the Streak

Sacramento State has lost six straight games, their longest streak since dropping six straight games to end the 2013-14 season and open the 2014015 season. Sacramento State has not lost seven straight games since the 2010-11 season when they lost 19 straight games in the midst of a 4-25 season.

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 273 career threes. She is also approaching the Big Sky Conference record for career steals.
  • She is fifth all-time with 302 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 1,431 points for her career. She is just six 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 274. The senior point guard is four 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 302 for her career, just seven off the program mark of 308 (Fantasia Hilliard, 2011-15).

In Need of Threes

After struggling to an 18.1% shooting percentage from three (19-105) during a four-game stretch, the Hornets rebounded nicely, shooting 38.7% from beyond the arc in their last game against Portland State. Maranne Johnson and Hannah Friend, who entered the game 9-for-54 during those four games, combined to go 10-for-23 (43.5%) against the Vikings.

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).

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. 

-- HornetSports --