SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Sacramento State Hornets return home to the Nest after a tough road trip through Idaho and Eastern Washington. They'll take on the Montana State Bobcats on Thursday as they look to snap their current losing streak. Tip on Thursday is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. PT.
How To Watch
Thursday's game is scheduled for a 7:05 p.m. PT tipoff. The game can be seen live online at watchbigsky.com on Pluto TV channel 233. The game will also be available in audio only online at hornetsports.com. As always, live stats for Saturday's game can be found online at hornetstats.com.
The Starting Five
- Sophomore guard Hannah Friend scored just four points in Sacramento State's last game, snapping her double-double streak at three games. During the streak, Friend averaged 21.3 points and 12 rebounds per game while playing 37 minutes per game.
- With three assists against Idaho last Saturday, senior point guard Justyce Dawson moved into sixth all-time for career assists in Hornets women's basketball history. She now has 279 career assists and is 18 back of Kylie Kuhns (297, 2009-13) for fifth.
- Sophomore forward Kennedy Nicholas has double-digit points or double-digit rebounds in three of her last four games. Her 6.5 rebounds per game are second on the team (Friend, 6.9) while her 7.1 points per game are fifth.
- Already a feared shooter in the Big Sky, senior guard Maranne Johnson enters Thursday's game with career-highs in rebounds per game (6.0) and assists per game (3.0), well-eclipsing her career averages of 4.1 and 1.8, respectively.
- Montana State enters Thursday's contest having lost their last game at home against Northern Colorado. Prior to that loss, however, the Bobcats had won five straight, a streak that started with a win over Sacramento State in Bozeman.
By The Numbers
7: The number of steals needed by Maranne Johnson to become the all-time career steals leader in Hornets women's basketball history.
37: Sacramento State's rank among all NCAA Div. I teams with 8.5 made three-pointers per game. They are fourth in the Big Sky.
47: Opponents shooting percentage against Sacramento State, the highest in the Big Sky Conference.
Scouting Montana State
Montana State enters Thursday night's game at Sacramento State with a 13-9 record, including a 7-4 mark in Big Sky Conference play. Although the Bobcats dropped their last game, a home loss to Northern Colorado, Montana State had won their previous five games, a streak that started with a home win over the Hornets on Jan. 13. On the road, Montana State is just 3-6 this season, though they are 2-2 on the road since the start of conference play. As a team, the Bobcats average just 66.5 points per game, though they have held opponents to 62.1 points per game, the third lowest mark in the Big Sky Conference. Blair Braxton leads the Bobcats defensively, with a team-leading 30 blocks this season. Madeline Smith is averaging nearly a double-double, scoring 11.3 points per game and pulling in a team-leading 8.6 rebounds per contest. Hannah Caudill paces Montana State on offense, averaging 11.9 points per game. Despite their lower scoring, Montana State is lights out from three, leading the Big Sky Conference, shooting 36.3% from distance. The Bobcats are led by 13th year head coach Tricia Binford.
About Last Game
Sacramento State dropped what was perhaps their worst game of the year, falling to Idaho on the road, 101-66. The Hornets entered the contest fairly beaten up and, after falling behind early to the Vandals, never managed to recover. Hannah Friend, the team's leading scorer, was limited by foot and elbow injuries, and scored just four points in 35 minutes of play. Despite Friend's quiet night, four other Hornets - Tiara Scott, 11; Justyce Dawson, 14; Kennedy Nicholas, 10; Maranne Johnson, 15 - all broke double-digit points. Defensively, Saturday was the fourth time this season that the Hornets have allowed triple-digit points.
Against Montana State
- The Hornets are 11-34 against Montana State since the start of the 1996-97 season, including 0-1 this year. In Sacramento, the Hornets are 6-14 against the Bobcats.
- In their last matchup, Sacramento State fell on the road to Montana State, 85-50.
- Montana Stat has won the last five straight contests between these two teams - two in the Nest and three in Bozeman. Sacramento State's last win came during the 2014-15 season.
Big Sky Breakdown
- Entering Saturday's games, Sacramento State is second to last in the Big Sky Conference with a 1-9 conference record. They are only a half game better than Northern Arizona (1-10)
- Despite being picked 9th and 10th in the Media and Coaches' preseason polls, respectively, Weber State sits atop the conference with an 8-2 Big Sky record. Their 16-5 overall record (.762) is also the best in the conference.
- Three teams - Northern Colorado, Idaho, and Montana - are all tied for second with an 8-3 record.
- Seven of the 12 teams in the conference have a winning record.
Dawson Dishing Em Out
Justyce Dawson recorded three assists Saturday against Idaho last Saturday, giving her 279 career assists. That moves her into sixth all-time for career assists in Hornets women's basketball history as she jumps Alle Moreno (2010-14, 278). She is just 18 assists back of the number five spot, currently held by Kylie Kuhns (209-13), with 297.
After three straight games with a double-double, sophomore guard Hannah Friend saw her streak snapped in the team's last game at Idaho. During her three-game streak, Friend averaged 21.3 points and 12 rebounds per game.
More Double Talk
With three double-doubles, Hannah Friend is tied with sophomore forward Kennedy Nicholas for the Sacramento State team lead. Kyhonta Doughty and Maranne Johnson each also have one double-double this year.
Sacramento State has done a good job this season holding on to the basketball, having committed just 301 turnovers on the season. That number is the 41st fewest in all of NCAA Div. I and third in the Big Sky Conference.
Giving Triple Digits
Sacramento State gave up 101 points to Idaho last Saturday, the fourth time this season that a team has put up triple-digits against the Hornets. Idaho shot 47.6% (39-82) in that game, one point higher than team's average against Sacramento State for the season (46.8%).
They Score More
The Hornets are giving up 83.3 points per game, the most by any team in the Big Sky Conference. The next closest is Northern Arizona, who allows 75.3 points per game. On the flip side, Sacramento State averages 69.6 points per game.
Dawson Puts up Points
After scoring a season-high 11 points back on Dec. 18 versus Miami, senior Justyce Dawson has scored 17 points (career-high) and 14 points in the team's last two games. She is shooting 39.3% over those two games, going 13-for-33, including going just 2-for-13 from three. Dawson's previous career-high was 14 points, a total she put up twice.
Leaders Among Their Peers
- Maranne Johnson leads all Big Sky seniors with 2.6 steals per game.
- Hannah Friend leads all Big Sky sophomores with 17.4 points per game.
Win Big, Lose Big
Sacramento's margin of victory in their three wins this season is 25 points. However, their scoring margin for the season overall is -13.7. In addition to having two wins by 25+ points (No 26 vs. UC Riverside, Dec. 6 vs. Antelope Valley), the Hornets also have seven losses by 25 or more points.
Losing Streak Blues
Sacramento State has lost eight straight games, their longest streak since dropping eight straight games during the 2010-11 season. That eight-game losing streak was part of a much longer 19-game losing streak.
Bitten By The Injury Bug
Sacramento State has endured more than their share of injuries through the 2017-18 season.
- Junior Raegen Rohn missed the team's first four games recovering from a wrist injury, putting the Hornets short during a trying east coast road trip.
- Senior forward Kyhonta Doughty has been battling a knee injury all season. Expected to be a staple in the starting lineup, Doughty has just eight starts, has played in just 17 of 21 games, and is averaging only 15 minutes a game.
- Senior point guard Justyce Dawson missed two games and was limited in two more with a concussion.
- After leading all freshmen in steals and scoring, Dana DeGraffenreid went down with a hip injury and has not played since Jan, 4 (missed eight straight games).
- After playing just two games, freshman forward Tiana Johnson has been out all season with a leg injury.
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 275 career threes. She is also approaching the Big Sky Conference record for career steals.
Sacramento State Top-10 Watch: Points
Maranne Johnson is currently fourth all-time with 1,554 points for her career. She is now just 50 points back of Kylie Kuhns (2009-13) and her 1,504 career points.
Sacramento State Top-10 Watch: Assists
Justyce Dawson is sixth for most career assists in Sacramento State women's basketball program history with 279. The senior point guard is 18 back of Kylie Kuhns (279, 2009-13).
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).
-- HornetSports --