There's no fancy name to describe what the Sacramento State women's basketball team does.
It's really simple for Jamie Craighead and the Hornets run and gun. If the Hornets are ever called for a shot-clock violation, Craighead may just implode.
"It's just the way we play," said Craighead, entering her fourth season at Sac State. "We play full-court defense and try to put up 90 shots or more a game."
That makes for an entertaining brand of basketball, and Craighead and the Hornets are looking to ride the run and gun back into the Big Sky Conference tournament.
Sac State upset No. 3 seed Eastern Washington 71-61 in the first round last season for the program's inaugural victory in the tournament. The Hornets then lost to eventual champion Idaho State.
Sac State returns four of its five core starters from last season, including three players who earned Big Sky awards in forward Kylie Kuhns ( all-conference second team), guard Alle Moreno (honorable mention) and guard Fantasia Hilliard (Freshman of the Year).
Kuhns, a senior, averaged 13.6 points and 11.6 rebounds.
"She is a rebounding machine; she reads the ball off the rim like no other," said Craighead, whose team is 0-2 after losses to Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton. "But we'll move her around a lot this season, sometimes out on the perimeter, to free up room for 6-foot-4 Megan Kritscher.
Craighead said the Hornets' main weakness is an overall lack of size. Kuhns, for all her rebounding ability, is just 6 feet.
There are just three other players at 6 feet or taller, and if the run and gun is stalled and the Hornets have to play a halfcourt game, they are at a decided disadvantage.
The way to counter that is to maintain the frenetic pace that wears out bigger teams and creates frustration with a withering full-court press. Moreno and the 5-3 Hilliard are just the instigators Craighead needs to instill her brand.
"Fantasia has very quick wheels and is low to the ground, which is good for her style of play, and Alle has that scorer's mindset that she's never out of range she can score from anywhere," Craighead said. "They play really well together."
The Hornets will try to continue to clamp down on defense, as they did last season with assistant coach Bill Baxter. He was brought in as a sort of defensive coordinator.
Baxter was a longtime successful coach at El Camino High School.
"Coach Baxter is helping to mix things up," Craighead said. "He's brought in a halfcourt trap that's worked well. He's got a lot of wisdom, and it's always nice to have someone on the bench you can bounce some things off of."
The Hornets open Big Sky Conference play Dec. 20 at Montana State.