SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Playing their first game in the Nest in nearly a month, the Sacramento State women's basketball team went head-to-head over two overtime periods against the Montana Grizzlies before falling just short, 88-86.
With the loss, the Hornets fall to 4-6 on the season and 0-2 in the Big Sky while the Lady Griz improve to 8-4 and a perfect 3-0 in Big Sky play.
The double-overtime contest was the first for Sacramento State since the 2011-12 season and just their fourth since 1976. In those four double-overtime contests, the Hornets are 1-3, their win coming at home against Northern Arizona in 2012.
Overtime was still far from anyone's mind as the Hornets jumped ahead early and led for the first two and a half quarters. But Montana refused to give in, battling back before taking their first lead of the night with 3:25 remaining in the third quarter.
The deficit never exceeded more than three for the Hornets, who found themselves down exactly that much with just nine second remaining in the game.
It was a brilliant, in-traffic shot from freshman guard Sarah Abney that forced the extra periods. Her buzzer-beater went to review as the officials looked at the time on the clock and Abney's feet, but the shot was confirmed a three and the game went to overtime, 68-68.
After three lead changes and two ties in the first overtime period, the Hornets and Grizzlies went to a second five-minute overtime with the scored still locked at 78-78.
With just three seconds on the clock, Sacramento State had a great look to go ahead as junior Gabi Bade dished to an open Kennedy Nicholas inside the paint, but after a bounce, the ball lingered on the rim before falling away and into the hands of the waiting Grizzlies. From there, Montana held on for the 88-86 win.
For Bade, she finished with a career-high 26 points and six assists in what was her first ever game in the Nest. The junior sat out all of last season as a redshirt and missed the early part of the 2018-19 season due to injury. She scored her game-high 26 on 10-of-19 shooting, including 6-for-10 from three.
In four games with Sacramento State this season, Bade is averaging 24.8 minutes with three starts. In her last two games - both against Big Sky opponents - Bade is averaging 33.0 minutes, 20.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 5.5 assists.
Friend finished with 23 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. She also led the Hornets in minutes, playing 48 of a possible 50 minutes Thursday night.
For the season, Friend is averaging 21.5 points and 8.4 rebounds. With 215 total points this season, the junior already has 740 total points in less than two seasons with the Hornets.
For Nicholas, her 16 points and 10 rebounds gave her her team-leading fifth double-double of the season. The team's leading rebounds, Nicholas is averaging 12.4 rebounds per game, which ranks among the top 10 in the nation. She is also scoring 14.4 points per game, second most on the team.
In addition, Nicholas added four blocks, a new season high for the junior. She has at least two blocks in each of her last four games and 11 total during that stretch.
As a team, Sacramento State shot a season-high 44.4% overall including 42.3% from beyond the arc, another season high. The Hornets' 86 points are their most since scoring 86 against Antelope Valley on Dec. 1. The Hornets also piled up 13 total steals, 15 assists, and four blocks.
Montana was nearly as good, showing 43.9% overall, though just 22.7% from three. They were led by Gabi Harrington, who finished with a team-high 18 points while also pulling in 10 boards. Jace Henderson also (17 points, 10 rebounds) also finished with a double-double for the Lady Griz.
Conference play continues at home for the Hornets as they host Montana State (7-6, 2-1 Big Sky) on Saturday. Saturday's game is scheduled for a 2:05 pm PT tip off. For more details on all Sacramento State women's basketball games, visit HornetSports.com.