GREELEY, Colo. – Sacramento State wrapped up the 2017-18 regular season Friday night at Northern Colorado with a tough 90-68 loss against the conference-leading Bears. Sacramento State closes the season tied for ninth in the conference with North Dakota as they head into the conference tournament.
Sacramento State (5-12) entered tonight's regular season finale tied with North Dakota for ninth in the conference and just a game ahead of Northern Arizona (4-13). All three teams came out on the losing end Friday night, leaving the Hornets and North Dakota tied for ninth with identical 5-13 records.
Sacramento State's Wednesday night win at North Dakota gives them the tie-breaker and the number nine seed in the conference's upcoming tournament. North Dakota drops to 10 while Northern Arizona claims the #11 spot.
Northern Colorado entered tonight's contest against Sacramento State with a conference-leading 14-3 record and the number one seed already locked up. Now with a Big Sky-best 15-3 record, they will receive a first round bye and could very likely face Sacramento State again in the quarterfinals.
As the number nine seed, Sacramento State will go up against the conference's eight seed, Montana on Monday at noon.
Tonight at Northern Colorado, Sacramento State's Maranne Johnson led the Hornets with 17 points on 6-of-15 shooting, including 3-for-8 from three. She also pulled in nine rebounds, finishing just one board shy of the double-double.
Hannah Friend 13 points of her own on 6-of-12 from the floor. She went 0-for-3 from beyond the arc and is now 0-for-her-last-8 from three. She also added six rebounds.
Sophomore forward Kennedy Nicholas led the Hornets in rebounds for the 12th time this season, pulling in 11 boards while scoring eight points.
Sacramento State hung with Northern Colorado through the game's first seven minutes before the Bears started to pull away. The Hornets trailed by just six at the end of the first quarter but saw that deficit grow to 17 at the half. Northern Colorado continued to pile on, extending their lead to 23 by the end of the third quarter. Sacramento State put up 22 in the fourth, their only quarter with 20+ points.
As a team, Sacramento State shot 38.5% (25-65) overall and 35.0% (7-20) from beyond the arc. One game after making 28 free throws, Sacramento State had just 16 free throw attempts against the Bears, making 11 of them.
Northern Colorado was 34-for-72 (47.2%) overall Friday night, including 15-of-36 from three (41.7%). They were led by Tiarna Clarke, who scored 19 points against the Hornets. Clarke was just one of five Northern Colorado players to score in double-digits, however.
With the regular season now come to a close, Sacramento State turns their attention toward the Big Sky Conference Tournament, scheduled to begin Monday, March 5 at the Reno Events Center in Reno. The Hornets, who enter the tournament as the No. 9 seed, will kick off the tournament with a noon game against the No. 8 seed Montana on Monday at noon.
For more details on schedules, game times, ways to watch, and more, visit RoadToReno.com.