SACRAMENTO, Calif. – An early run at the start of the third quarter brought Sacramento State within two points of Ohio State, but the visiting Buckeyes responded with a run of their own before downing the Hornets, 104-74 in the Nest Tuesday night.
With the loss, Sacramento State is now 1-7 overall and fell to 1-1 at home. Ohio State meanwhile, improved to 7-4 overall.
A big first quarter for the Buckeyes put Sacramento State into an early hole, 36-20, but the Hornets chipped away in the second quarter, climbing back within eight, 50-42, at the half.
The Hornets ended the half with back-to-back three pointers from Summer Menke and Camariah King, giving the team eight made threes in the first 20 minutes. The Hornets finished the first half shooting 43.2% overall (16-37) and a dominant 47.1% (8-17) from beyond the arc.
Sacramento State didn't slow down coming out of halftime, opening the second half on a 7-1 run thanks to buckets from King and Kennedy Nicholas. Nicholas capped what was a 13-1 run with her first three of the year, cutting the deficit to just two points, 51-49.
Despite the furious comeback, which featured Sacramento State runs of 12-2 and 13-1, the shots slowly started to disappear for the Hornets, who struggled to find the basket in the second half.
After making 16 first-half buckets, including eight from distance, the Hornets made just nine total second half shots and only four from beyond the arc. Ohio State, meanwhile, started to slow the pace. Using their size, the Buckeyes took control in the paint en route to the 104-74 win.
In total, Sacramento State was outscored in the paint, 60-20. The physically dominating Buckeyes also had a significant advantage in rebounds, outpacing the Hornets 54-40.
Sacramento State had contributions up and down the roster on Tuesday, led by a team-high 16 points from senior guard Gabi Bade. Bade finished 6-for-13 overall from the floor and 2-for-8 from three while also adding two free throws. She pulled in three boards and tied for the team lead with three assists.
Kennedy Nicholas paced the team in rebounds, collecting seven (three offensive). Nicholas, who ran into foul trouble in the third quarter, played just 18 minutes and scored eight points.
As a squad, 11 of 13 Hornets scored and collected at least two rebounds on Tuesday. Sarah Abney drained back-to-back triples late in the game while Jakira Wilson hit a pair of threes in the second quarter as a part of the Hornets' early comeback.
Tuesday's game was a historic one for Sacramento State, who had never before hosted a Big 10 program in the Nest. The Hornets were looking to make it two in a row against the conference after defeating Illinois State, 109-107, last November. Since the start of the Division I era of Hornets basketball, Sacramento State is 1-3 against the Big 10.
The game also marked Sacramento State's first action in the Nest since November 13th's home opener against Cal Maritime. The Hornets played five straight on the road over a span of 31 days but will now play three more in the Nest before heading back out on the road.
Up first is the team's non-conference final, a Thursday night matchup against the Pioneers of Pacific Union. The game is scheduled for an early 5:35 pm PT tip in the Nest. Tickets are available online now at HornetSports.com. More information can also be found by visiting the Sacramento State women's basketball homepage online.