Sacramento State’s women’s basketball team faces a daunting four-game trip over the next two weeks, starting tonight at Idaho State (6-11, 4-4 Big Sky Conference).
The Hornets (13-4, 5-3) got a huge confidence boost at home by beating Big Sky leader North Dakota (12-6, 7-2) and Northern Colorado (10-8, 4-5) last week. The wins snapped the Hornets’ three-game losing streak after they started 11-1.
Sac State was able to entice North Dakota to play at its frenetic tempo and rallied to win 110-104 last Thursday. The total points were the highest in Sac State and Big Sky history, and the most points in a regulation game by the Hornets.
Two days later, the Hornets needed to overcome Northern Colorado’s stalling tactics to win 74-64. It was the fewest points Sac State (averaging an NCAA second-best 90.5 per game) scored this season, but also the fewest allowed.
“I think it was important to beat somebody who was trying to play keep away,” said Sac State coach Bunky Harkleroad.
Senior guard Alle Moreno said it shows that the Hornets are learning to play both styles. Southern Utah (11-6, 5-3) handed Sac State its only home loss Jan. 11 by stalling the ball.
“I think it just shows we are a multi-dimensional team and can adapt to a lot of different things,” Moreno said. “We can play fast, and we can take away your options if you want to stall.”
Hallie Gennett and Gigi Hascheff continue to be impact players as freshmen. Gennett had 21 points, including six three-pointers, in the win over North Dakota while Hascheff had a career-high 26 points, including 18 inside the key, against Northern Colorado.
Big Sky behemoth – Weber State, the Big Sky’s most successful men’s basketball program, plays at Sac State on Saturday.
This season, the Wildcats (10-6, 7-1) are tied atop the conference standings along with Northern Colorado and looking for their 21st Big Sky championship.
Weber State senior guard Davion Berry is coming off Big Sky Player of the Week honors after averaging 24.3 points and five assists in the past three games, all wins.
Sac State (6-11, 2-6), which is second to last in the Big Sky after road losses to North Dakota and Northern Colorado, will play the first of four home games tonight against Idaho State (7-10, 4-4). The Hornets, 4-2 at home and 2-9 on the road, play eight of their last 12 games at home.
Sac State junior Dylan Garrity, tied for 21st on the Big Sky’s all-time assist list with 390, needs two to tie former Boise State and NBA player Chris Childs for 20th.
Aggie sidelined – In what continues to be a challenging season for UC Davis (6-14, 1-4 Big West Conference) men, 6-foot-9 senior forward Josh Ritchart will not return to the Aggies this season because of a stress fracture in his lower right leg.
“Josh has worked countless hours with our medical staff to get back on the basketball floor,” coach Jim Les said. “Unfortunately, his injury has not responded as we have hoped. We look forward to Josh getting completely healthy for the 2014-15 season.”
Ritchart, a graduate of Forest Lake Christian High School, led the team in scoring (17.3 points) and rebounds (6.6) through the team’s first nine games.
The Aggies have been thinned by injuries.
Junior forward J.T. Adrenele was lost before the season to a left knee injury and promising true freshman guard Brynton Lemar missed six games with a knee injury before returning to play nine minutes in the Aggies’ 90-73 loss to Hawaii at home last Saturday.
Rivals in town – Cal Poly’s women’s team (11-8, 5-1), which comes to the Pavilion tonight, is more than the Big West Conference front-runner. The Mustangs are rivals of the Aggies (8-10, 3-2), too.
“I think it’s because we’re both college towns, we’re recruiting similar kids and we’ve both had some success in the conference, so it’s always a fun game,” UC Davis coach Jennifer Gross said.
Cal Poly finished second to Pacific (now in the West Coast Conference) last season before upsetting the Tigers in the tournament championship game to advance to the NCAA playoffs.
UC Davis is looking to rebound from its 64-50 loss at Hawaii (10-7, 4-1) last Saturday that knocked the Aggies out of a share of first place.
Cal Poly’s Molly Schlemer, a 6-5 junior center, is second in the Big West in scoring (17.5) and first in rebounding (10.6) and field goal percentage (56). UC Davis junior forward Sydnee Fipps, who is third in scoring (17.4), is 18 points away from becoming the 16th Aggie women’s player to score 1,000 or more career points.
Call The Bee’s Bill Paterson, (916) 326-5506.