JUST FOUR GAMES REMAIN IN REGULAR SEASON; WOMEN’S HOOPS HOSTS NORTHERN ARIZONA THURSDAY

JUST FOUR GAMES REMAIN IN REGULAR SEASON; WOMEN’S HOOPS HOSTS NORTHERN ARIZONA THURSDAY

Complete Game Notes (PDF)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Sacramento State women's basketball team is in the final stretch of the regular season with just four games remaining. They open a weekend homestand Thursday as they host the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks at The Nest.

Thursday's game also features a celebration of the Sacramento Monarchs, Sacramento's championship-winning WNBA team. Former Monarchs players and staff will be on site for the game. For more details on Monarchs Night, please click here.

Tipoff on Thursday is scheduled for 7:05 pm PT on Thursday, Feb. 22.

How To Watch

Thursday's game is scheduled for a 7:05 pm PT tipoff at The Nest in Sacramento, Calif. Fans can watch the game live online at WatchBigSky.com and Pluto TV, channel 233. An audio stream will be available online at HornetSports.com/Radio. As always, live stats can be found at HornetStats.com.

The Starting Five

  1. Kennedy Nicholas recorded back-to-back double-doubles this past weekend, averaging 12 points and 12.5 rebounds per game at Idaho State and Weber State. Nicholas has five double-doubles this season, most on the team.
  2. Maranne Johnson enters Thursday's game with 1,504 career points, just two back of third all-time in Sacramento State women's basketball history. She trails Kylie Kuhns (2009-13), who has 1,506. Heidi Carrol (2nd, 1,729) and Kristy Ryan (1st, 2,064) lead the program record books.
  3. Hannah Friend scored 24 points against Weber State last Saturday, her 11th 20+ point game this season. Her 11 20+ games are most on the team, as are her 21 10+ point games. For the season, her 450 points are fifth most in the Big Sky.
  4. After leading the conference and finishing 11th in the nation with a 2.77 assist/turnover ratio last season, senior guard Justyce Dawson is currently second in the Big Sky and 45th in the nation with a 2.30 assist/turnover ratio. 
  5. Tiara Scott has scored double-digit points in five straight games, the longest such streak of her career. The sophomore guard is averaging 14.4 points per game during the streak while averaging 3.2 assists and 29.2 minutes per game.

By The Numbers

3: Points needed by Maranne Johnson to become the third most scoring player in Sacramento State women's basketball history.

9: Sacramento State's national rank among all NCAA Div. I teams for three-point field goals attempted this season.

75: Average points scored by the Hornets in the second half of the conference schedule (75.4 ppg). They averaged 67.6 through the first nine.

Scouting Northern Arizona

Northern Arizona enters Thursday night's contest against Sacramento State with a 6-19 record, including 3-11 in Big Sky Conference play. They are currently tied with Sacramento State for 10th in the conference. The Lumberjacks have won two out of their last three, however, including one on the road at Southern Utah, their only road win for the season. They also just defeated North Dakota at home, giving them their third conference win of the year. As a team, the Lumberjacks rank near the bottom of most Big Sky categories, but they have been excellent on the boards. They lead the conference with 30 defensive rebounds per game and are second in both rebounds per game (40.7) and total rebounds (1,019). A big part of that is Kenna McDavis, who leads the team with 8.5 boards per game. She is also second on the squad with 15.0 points per game. Not far behind her is Kaleigh Paplow, who is pulling in 7.2 rebounds per contest. Leading on the offensive end is Olivia Lucero. A Big Sky Player of the Week earlier this season, Lucero is averaging 16.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.47 assists per game this season. At the helm for the Lumberjacks is first-year coach Loree Payne.

About Last Game

Sacramento State dropped the second of two games on their latest trip, falling 86-73 at Weber State. For the most part, Sacramento State kept themselves in the game, trailing by as few as five in the fourth quarter, but was unable to overcome the Wildcats offense. Hannah Friend led the team with 24 points Kenned Nicholas added her fifth double-double of the season. Maranne Johnson, who needed just seven points to become the third most scoring player in Hornets women's hoops history, only made two baskets for four points. 

Against Northern Arizona

  • The Hornets are 15-30 against Northern Arizona since the start of the 1992-93 season. This is the first matchup between these two teams this season.
  • In their last game, Sacramento State fell in a nail-biter, 91-88, in a game that came the Hornets had a chance to tie or win in the final seconds.
  • At The Nest, Sacramento State is 9-13 against Northern Arizona.
  • Sacramento State has won three of the last five games against the Lumberjacks, including two at home.

Big Sky Breakdown

  • Entering Thursday's games, Sacramento State is tied for 10th in the Big Sky Conference with Northern Arizona (3-11). Both teams are just one game ahead of Southern Utah (2-12) and two back of North Dakota (5-10).
  • Northern Colorado, picked to finish first in both the coaches and media preseason poll, sits atop the conference in sole possession of first place with a 12-3 Big Sky record.
  • Two games separate six teams vying for third and fourth in the conference before the Postseason Tournament.

Maranne Making History

Senior guard Maranne Johnson needs just three points to become the third highest scorer in Sacramento State women's basketball program history. She enters Thursday's game with 1,502 career points, just two back of Kylie Kuhns (2009-13), who is currently third with 1,504 points. Johnson is 227 points back of second place (Heidi Carroll, 1982-86, 1,729).

Pulling Double Duty

Kennedy Nicholas recorded her second straight double-double Saturday and her fifth overall for the season. Her five-double-doubles lead the team. She is averaging 7.6 points and 7.0 rebounds per game this season. 

Consistency Matters

Sophomore forward Kennedy Nicholas has scored between eight and 14 points in each of the team's last seven games while also pulling in no fewer than six rebounds over that stretch. 

Rejected!

Kennedy Nicholas has 34 blocks this season, the fourth most in the conference. She is averaging 1.36 rebounds per game. She has three games this season with four or more blocks.

Dish It Like Dawson

Justyce Dawson collected a team-leading four assists in Sacramento State's last game. She has 69 assists for the season and a team-best 2.30 assist/turnover ratio. She has led the team in assists a season-most 10 times.

Grand Theft Basketball

After breaking the Sacramento State women's basketball record for career steals against Montana, senior guard Maranne Johnson moved into third all-time in the Big Sky Conference with her 313th steal.

Second Half Strong

Through the first nine games of the Big Sky Conference schedule, Sacramento State went 1-8 while averaging just 67.6 points per game on 37.5% shooting. Since then, Sacramento State is 2-3 with four games remaining. Through their last five games, the Hornets are putting up 75.4 points per game while shooting 41.9%.

A One-Two Punch

Hannah Friend and Maranne Johnson have been a knock-out 1-2 punch for the Hornets this season. The duo is both top 10 in the Big Sky in numerous offensive categories.

Field Goals Attempted: Friend, 424, 3rd; Johnson, 390, 5th

Three-Point FG Attempted: Friend, 208, 4th; Johnson, 196, 6th

Three-Point FG Made: Johnson, 64, 6th; Friend, 62, 7th

Three-Point FG Per Game: Johnson, 2.56, 5th; Friend, 2.48, 7th

Points Per Game: Friend, 18.0, 6th; Johnson, 15.2, 11th

Home Sweet Home

The Hornets are back home for the first time since winning back0to0back games in The Nest against Montana State and Montana. The Hornets have had much better luck at home this season.

  • Four of Sacramento State's five wins this season have come at home (the fifth was at a neutral site)
  • The Hornets average 76.5 points per game at home this season, more than 10 points better than they do on the road (66.4 points per game).
  • At home, the Hornets have a +2.3 scoring margin. On the road, that number plummets to -21.2.

Ball Security

Sacramento State has done a good job this season holding on to the basketball, having committed just 349 turnovers on the season. That number is the 39th fewest in all of NCAA Div. I and tied for second fewest in the Big Sky Conference (Idaho). Sacramento has committed nine or fewer turnovers in a game seven times this season.

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 18.0 points per game.

Sac State Tag Team

  • Hannah Friend (31 points) and Maranne Johnson (21 points) combined for 54 points last Thursday against Montana State. Their combined point total matched the most by a duo in a conference game in women's basketball program history.
  • Johnson was involved the last time, as she (20 points) and former Hornet Brianna Burgos (34 points) combined for 54 points on Feb. 6, 2016, also against Montana State.

Sacramento State Top-10 Watch: Points

Maranne Johnson is currently fourth all-time with 1,502 points for her career. She is now just two 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 293. The senior point guard is four back of Kylie Kuhns (297, 2009-13).

Sacramento State Top-10 Watch: Field Goals

Maranne Johnson enters the weekend fourth all-time for made field goals in Hornets' women's basketball program history. Her 565 made field goals are 37 back of Heidi Carroll's (1982-86) 602. With four games remaining in the regular season, Johnson needs to average over nine made buckets a game to catch Carroll.

-- HornetSports --