BOZEMAN, Mont. – Sacramento State couldn't miss in the first half and took a 40-36 lead into the break Thursday night at Montana State, but a cold second half proved costly as the Hornets fell to the Bobcats, 64-58.
With the loss, Sacramento State falls to 10-17 overall, including 6-13 in Big Sky play. Montana State improves to 6-13 overall and 11-8 in league play.
The loss also guarantees the Hornets the either the eight or nine seed in the Big Sky Conference tournament, which begins Monday. Montana State clinched the five seed with the win.
Sacramento State opened Thursday night's game on a 9-0 run, going 3-for-3 from beyond the arc to take an early lead. Although the Bobcats battled their way back into the game, the Hornets could not miss in the first half.
The Hornets scored 40 points – 20 in each the first and second quarters – on 45.2% (14-31) shooting. They were even better from distance, going 11-for-19 (57.9%) from beyond the arc in the game's first 20 minutes.
Hannah Friend and Milee Enger led the way in the first half. Friend scored 13 points in the opening half, including going 4-for-4 from three, while Enger went for 11, including 3-for-3 from three-point range.
At the half, the Hornets held a 40-36 lead over the Bobcats, but the lead was short lived as Sacramento State offense went cold in the second half. After scoring 20 points in each of the first and second quarters, the Hornets scored just nine in each of the third and fourth quarters for 18 second half points.
Montana State also slowed, though not quite as much as Sacramento State, scoring 28 second-half points en route to the 64-58 victory.
Friend finished with a team-high 17 points for the Hornets while also pulling in four rebounds to go with a team-high two steals.
Enger, who set a career-high with 10 points less than a week ago against Idaho, topped that mark again, scoring 13 points.
Kennedy Nicholas continued to lead the way under the basket, pulling in a game-high 10 rebounds in just 28 minutes of work. She also added six blocks, her third game this season with six or more blocks.
Gabi Bade was tops in assists, collecting three dishes while also scoring six points
Thursday night's game at Montana State was the penultimate regular season game of the season. On Saturday, the Hornets will take on Montana in their regular season finale.
Saturday's game in Missoula is scheduled for a 1:05 pm PT tip off. More details on Saturday's contest, including links to stream, notes, and more, can be found online at HornetSports.com.