SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Sacramento State women's basketball team opened their final home game of 2019 with a pair of recognitions, including a Senior Day celebration, before nearly taking down the Big Sky-leading Idaho Vandals. In the end, the Hornets came up just short, falling 69-65 Saturday in the Nest.
The loss knocks Sacramento State to 10-16 overall and 6-12 in Big Sky play. League-leading Idaho improves to 18-9 overall and 15-3 in the conference.
Sacramento State played one of their best games of the year Saturday, nearly defeating the Idaho Vandals. The Hornets led by one, 65-64, with less than a minute to play.
But Idaho's Mikayla Ferenz, who this past Thursday became the Big Sky's all-time leading scorer, buried a three from the corner with 33 seconds remaining to put the Vandals back on top, 67-65.
After a timeout, the Hornets ran a play to put the ball in Hannah Friend's hands. The team's leading scorer this season, Friend got off a contested shot from behind two defenders and just could not get it to fall as it bounced off the rim, then backboard, then into the hands of Idaho.
Sacramento State fouled, but two good free throws by Taylor Pierce sealed the game for the Vandals, 69-65.
The Hornets put together a solid defensive effort from start to finish Saturday, holding the Vandals – who average nearly 79 points per game – to just 69. The lead changed five different times on Saturday, and the Hornets led for nearly 13 minutes compared to Idaho's 25.
Junior guard Hannah Friend led Sacramento State with 24 points and 10 rebounds, her ninth double-double of the season. She also added an assist, a block, and a steal while playing a team-high 38 minutes.
Gabi Bade was next, finishing with 19 points on an incredibly efficient 8-for-12 shooting. She was also 3-for-5 from beyond the arc while pulling in five rebounds. She added three assists and two steals, as well.
Freshman point guard Milee Enger led the Hornets with four assists and scored a career-best 10 points against Idaho. Enger was 4-for-7 from the floor, including 2-for-3 from deep. She played 37 minutes on Saturday, another career-high.
Enger's two threes were crucial for the Hornets. Trailing 57-50 early in the fourth quarter, Enger hit back-to-back triples in a span of 30 seconds to make it a one-point game, 57-56.
Kennedy Nicholas finished with eight points and eight boards, but added four blocks, bringing her season total to 62. The junior forward has collected three or more blocks in 11 of her 26 games now this year.
Prior to tip off on Saturday, the Hornets recognized junior Hannah Friend for becoming the 14th member of the Sacramento State 1,000 Point Club. Friend reached the mark in the team's last game on Thursday.
Following that was another recognition as the Hornets celebrated their lone graduating senior, Raegen Rohn. Raegen joined the program as a true freshman in 2015 and played her last game in the Nest Saturday against Idaho.
Sacramento State's regular season concludes with two road games next week as they travel to Montana State and Montana before continuing straight to the Big Sky Tournament in Boise.
Following Saturday's action, Sacramento State is tied with Northern Arizona for the eight seed in the league. The top five teams all receive a first round by with the remaining six seeds to open the Big Sky Tournament on Monday, March 11.
Before all of that, however, the Hornets play Thursday night at Montana at 6:05 pm PT. For more information on video streams, live stats, and more, be sure to visit the 2018-19 Sacramento State women's basketball schedule at HornetSports.com.