SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento State took an early lead in Saturday's Big Sky opener against Montana State, but once the Bobcats pulled ahead late in the first quarter, they never looked back as the Hornets fell, 85-48, in the Nest.
The loss drops Sacramento State to 2-8 overall this season and 0-1 in Big Sky play. Montana State, meanwhile, improves to 5-5 overall and 1-0 in league.
Sacramento State jumped out to an early four-point, 7-3, lead over the visiting Bobcats, but then went cold from the floor for what felt like the rest of the half. After scoring seven points in the game's first three minutes, the Hornets scored just 12 more in the remaining 17.
Montana State, powered by a game-high 23 points from Martha Kuderer, led 29-19 at the half before opening things up with a 32-point third quarter, putting the Hornets into an insurmountable 61-31 hole.
The Hornets were their most prolific in the fourth quarter, scoring 17 points, but Montana State continued to extend the lead with 24 fourth-quarter points of its own.
Sacramento State's Tiana Johnson was the lone Hornet to breach the double-digit point mark, scoring a team-high 10 on 3-for-7 shooting, including 3-for-3 at the free throw line. Johnson is shooting a team-best 52.5% overall and leads the team with a .957 (22-23) free throw percentage.
For the first time this year, the Hornets started all three seniors in the same game. Unfortunately, the trio of Kennedy Nicholas (7 pts), Camariah King (6), and Gabi Bade (2) combined for just 15 points. King did lead the team with four assists while Nicholas pulled in six boards.
It was another Kennedy – Kennedy Burks – leading the team in rebounds Saturday, collecting seven (one offensive). Montana State had two with a game-high 10 boards.
Overall, Sacramento State shot just 25.4% (17-67) in the loss, the team's third game under the 30% mark. The 67 attempts were also the team's fewest since Nov. 20 at Cal Poly (62). Montana State shot 44.6% (33-74).
The biggest difference between the two teams came in the paint, where the Hornets were outrebounded 59-37, including 25-17 on the offensive glass. The extra rebounds turned into 52 points in the paint and 31 second chance points for Montana State.
Sacramento State won't have to wait long to put Saturday's game behind them as the Hornets are back in action the day after tomorrow on Monday, Dec. 30 against Montana. The Hornets and Griz tip off Monday in the Nest at 7:05 p.m. PT.
Monday's game is the end of a season-long four-game homestand and tickets are still available online at HornetSports.com/tickets.
More information on Sacramento State women's basketball and all Hornets sports can also be found by visiting the Sacramento State women's basketball homepage online.