SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Sacramento State opens up the 2018-19 season of women's basketball this Sunday in the Nest as 2:05 p.m. as the Hornets host the Cal Poly Mustangs. Tip off is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. and doors to the Nest will open at 1 pm.
How To Watch
Hornets vs. Cal Poly
Sunday, Nov. 11 // 2:05 PM
The Nest // Sacramento, Calif.
Watch Live: WatchBigSky.com // Pluto.TV
Listen Live: HornetSports.com/Radio
Live Stats: HornetStats.com
All home Sacramento State basketball games and all Big Sky Conference games will be streamed live online at WatchBigSky.com and on Pluto.TV, channel 233. Hornets home games will also be broadcast via HornetSports.com/Radio.
All streaming links, news, and updates can also be found by visiting the 2018 Women's Basketball Schedule online at HornetSports.com.
In The Nest
Sacramento State opens the 2018-19 season with back-to-back home games against Cal Poly and Ohio State. In total, the Hornets will play five of their nine non-conference games this season in the Nest. Last year, the Hornets played just one of 11 non-conference games at home.
Further, Sacramento State plays just one true road game during the non-conference schedule, a game at New Mexico against the Lobos. The Hornets' three remaining non-conference away games are on neutral courts.
The Hornets open their season at home for the first time since the 2013-14 season when they defeated CSUN, 92-73, in the Nest in their first game of the year.
Since that season, the first under current head coach Bunky Harkleroad, the Hornets are 3-2 in home openers while averaging 92 points per game.
A Refreshed Roster
The Sacramento State women's basketball team opens the 2018-19 season with 17 active players on the roster, its most ever under head coach Bunky Harkleroad (sixth season). Last season, Sacramento State had 11 active players (plus two redshirts). Because of injuries, the Hornets spent much of the season with just eight available players.
Statistically speaking, Sacramento State is returning most of its production from a year ago. The Hornets return 65.4% of their total points and 59.9% of their total rebounds. While they are returning fewer than half of their total assists (47.5%), they are returning last year's assist leader, Tiara Scott (103 total assists, 3.4 apg).
The Hornets 2018-19 roster features nine total returners, including three returners. The trio of returning starters includes last year's leading scorer, Hannah Friend (17.5 ppg), last year's leading rebounder, Kennedy Nicholas (7.0), and last year's assist leader, Tiara Scott (3.4 apg).
Three of Sacramento State's newcomers are from outside the United States. Claire Bady, a transfer from Eastern Florida, is originally from France, while Emily Enochs comes to Sacramento State from Germany. Julynne de Silva Sa, a transfer from Northwest College, is from Brazil.
Around the Country
In addition to three players from outside the country, the 2018-19 roster includes players from eight different states. California remains the team's most-represented state with six players.
A Return to "Bunky Ball"
Coach Harkleroad and Sacramento State have become known for an aggressive style of play that features a lot of steals, multiple substitutions at a time, and even more three-point shots. For three straight seasons from 2013 through 2016, the Hornets led the NCAA in threes and steals per game, even setting multiple NCAA records (see sidebar, page 7). With last year's smaller roster, the team played a more conservative-style offense. This season, with an expanded roster, the team is expected to make a return to its fast-paced roots.
The First Half of the Game
Sacramento State won all seven games last season in which they led at halftime. When the Hornets entered the break tied with or trailing their opponents, they were winless, going 0-23.
The Second Half of the Season
Sacramento State was 1-8 after their first nine conference games last season and 4-5 over their final nine. As a team, the Hornets averaged 67.6 points on 37.5% shooting in the first half compared to 76.2 points on 40.1% shooting in the second.
Exhibition Tune Up
Sacramento State's season got off to an unofficial start last Monday, Nov. 5 with an exhibition contest against William Jessup. The Hornets piled up 106 total points on 41-of-92 shooting (44.6%), including 12-of-41 (29.3%) from three.
Both Kennedy Nicholas (26) and Hannah Friend (24) scored over 20 points in Monday's exhibition. Last year, Friend led the Hornets by scoring 20+ points in 13 games, including a career-high 34 vs. UC Riverside.
Tiara Scott is the only other player on the roster to have scored 20 or more points in a game for the Hornets, doing it twice last season, including her career-high 25 vs. Montana State.
Junior forward Kennedy Nicholas scored 26 points and pulled in 12 rebounds in the team's preseason exhibition. Last year, Nicholas recorded a team-leading five double-doubles.
12 different players appeared in Sacramento State's exhibition game and 10 of those 12 played at least 10 minutes. Five of the 12 logged 20 or more minutes, led by junior guard Hannah Friend, who played a team-high 27 minutes. Last year, the Hornets never used more than 10 different players in a game.
Sacramento State pulled in 19 offensive rebounds in their exhibition game against William Jessup, led by eight from Kennedy Nicholas. Last year, the Hornets led the Big Sky with 13.9 offensive boards per game.
Newcomers combined for 40 of the team's 106 points in Monday's exhibition game, as well as 20 of 48 rebounds, 11 of 23 assists, and eight of 22 steals.
Freshman Summer Menke (15 points, 7 rebounds, 5 steals), junior transfer Juylnne da Silva Sa (14 points, 6 rebounds), and freshman Milee Enger (six assists) all made the greatest statistical impact in their debuts.
Taking Advantage of Freebies
The Hornets shot 70.3% from the free throw line last year, led by senior guard Raegen Rohn (15-16, 93.8%). Among players with at least 40 free throw attempts, guard Tiara Scott paced the offense with a 74.2% mark (49-66). In Monday's preseason game, the Hornets were 12-of-14 from the line, good for 85.7%.
A Focus On Scoring
Sacramento State averaged 72.0 points per game last season. While that number was the 55th best in the nation, it was the lowest for the Hornets since the 2011-12 season (71.7).
Prior to last season, Sacramento State averaged 85.7 points per game under coach Harkleroad from 2013-2017 (four seasons).
Additionally, prior to last year, the Hornets had led the Big Sky Conference in scoring in eight consecutive seasons. The team's 72.0 average last season was fourth in the Big Sky, behind Weber State, Idaho, and Portland State.
Protecting The Ball
Sacramento State did an excellent job of protecting the ball last season. Their 401 total turnovers were the 20th fewest in all of NCAA Div. I. Their 2.17 turnover margin was the second best in the Big Sky and 88th in the country.
Former Hornet Justyce Dawson (2.38) and returner Tiara Scott (1.63) were both top 10 in the Big Sky Conference in assist-to-turnover ratio.
Last year's seven-win season was the first season with fewer than 10 wins since 2010-11, when Sacramento State won just four games. From 2011-2017, the Hornets averaged 15 wins per season.
Big Sky Gets a Little Smaller
With the departure of North Dakota from the Big Sky, the Big Sky Conference now includes 11 women's basketball programs. While the total number of conference games remains the same as last season (20), those 20 games now features a home-and-home with each of the other 10 teams.
Big Sky Preseason Poll
Sacramento State was selected ninth in both the Big Sky's Coaches Preseason Poll and Media Preseason Poll. The Hornets received 28 total points in the Coaches Poll, 10 behind Weber State for the ninth spot. In the Media Poll, Sacramento State received 57 points, a full 43 back of Weber State.
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