SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Hannah Friend sealed the deal for the Sacramento State women's basketball team with a late basket to put the game out of reach as the Hornets defeated the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks, 65-61, in the Nest Thursday afternoon.
Friend's drive and layup came with just eight seconds left on the clock and the Hornets holding on to a 62-61 lead. Friend, who leads Sacramento State in scoring this season, drew the foul as the ball sunk through the net for the and-one.
She converted on the free throw to give her a team-high 19 points and to put the Hornets on top, 65-61, essentially securing the win for Sacramento State in the process.
The win moves Sacramento State to 5-8 overall and 1-4 in the Big Sky, while with the loss, Northern Arizona falls to 5-10 overall and 1-5 in league.
In addition to a team-leading 19 points, Friend also pulled down a team-best 11 rebounds for her third double-double of the season. The junior guard was 7-for-17 overall, including 3-for-8 from three, while also adding an assist, a block, and a steal.
Almost a critical as the layup was Friend's block on the play immediately before. With the Lumberjacks' Jacey Bailey, Friend chased her down and got the block from behind to prevent the easy bucket. On the inbound play, Gabi Bade came up with a big-time steal to hand possession back to the Hornets and pave the way for Friend's layup.
Not far behind Friend was junior forward Kennedy Nicholas, who picked up her team-best sixth double-double of the season. Nicholas scored 14 points with 10 rebounds - including four off the offensive glass - while also collecting four blocks and three assists in just 24 minutes. Nicholas fouled out of the game, just her second time this season, with 2:28 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Tiara Scott, who along with Friend, logged a team-high 32 minutes, matched her career-best with nine assists in Thursday's win. It was the third time in her Hornets career that she reached the nine-assist mark, the last coming earlier this season against Pepperdine.
Sacramento State led for 35 minutes on Thursday, taking a three-point lead early in the third quarter and stretching it to as much as 11 by the end of the period. Despite going up double-digits early, the Hornets were unable to put Northern Arizona away completely.
On the back of a 21-point third quarter, the Lumberjacks managed to claw their way back, taking a 49-48 lead late in the third. But Claire Bady stole back the lead with a layup at the buzzer to close the period. The Hornets would lead for the entire four quarter.
As a team, the Hornets shot 39.1% overall, their second best shooting percentage of the season. They were 32.1% (9-28) from three, including an excellent 8-for-18 (44.4%) in the first half. Sarah Abney finished with eight points on 3-for-8 shooting while Raegen Rohn, Tiana Johnson, and Claire Bady all finished with five.
Eight different players logged double-digit minutes on Thursday as the Hornets and coach Harkledroad resumed their traditional style of aggressive substitions. Friend and Scott led the team with 32 while Rohn, Johnson, Nicholas, and Bady all finished with at least 20 minutes.
Northern Arizona shot 34.3% in the game and struggled from three, going just 2-for-19 (10.5%) from beyond the arc. Senior Kaleigh Paplow, who leads Northern Arizona in nearly every category, paced the team with 19 points while also collecting seven rebounds. She also became the 17th player in NAU history to join the 1,000 point club with her performance on Thursday.
Sacramento State will be back in the Nest on Saturday as they host Southern Utah at 2:05 pm PT. Saturday's game is the Hornets' annual Kids Day. Admission for children 12 and under is free while the first 250 children will receive team posters. Additionally, all kids can attend a postgame basketball clinic led by the Sacramento State women's basketball coaches and players.
For more details on Saturday's game on all upcoming Sacramento State women's basketball games, visit the 2018-19 schedule online at HornetSports.com.