Sacramento State sophomore Hallie Gennett missed a three-point attempt with one second left in overtime, and Northern Colorado held off the Hornets 81-79 in a Big Sky Conference semifinal game Friday afternoon at Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont.
The score was tied 12 times, and there were seven lead changes.
Adella Randle-El led Sac State with 24 points. Fantasia Hilliard scored 15 points and Kyhonta Doughty 10 for the Hornets (16-15).
Randle-El gave the Hornets a 72-70 lead with 23 seconds remaining in regulation. Northern Colorado then missed a three-point attempt as Sac State rebounded the ball. But Hilliard turned the ball over with 10 seconds left and D’shara Strange, who led Northern Colorado (20-11) with 23 points and 13 rebounds, tied the score with five seconds left on a jump shot.
“It was a very good basketball team that beat us today, so you have to give them credit,” said Sac State coach Bunky Harkleroad. “They made some big plays down the stretch. I’m really proud of our team for fighting and showing a lot of heart and a lot of toughness today. In March, sometimes you get those breaks and sometimes you don’t, and today is one of those times when we didn’t.”
Third-seeded Northern Colorado advances to Saturday’s championship game against No. 1 Montana, which beat Eastern Washington 55-51 later Friday.
Should Montana win Saturday and advance to the NCAA Tournament, Sac State would represent the Big Sky in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament by automatic bid since it finished second in the conference regular-season standings.