Seniors honored with a Big Sky Tournament berth

Senior forward Sadie Clements hits the game-winning shot to clinch a Big Sky Tournament berth Saturday afternoon in The Nest.

Senior forward Sadie Clements hits the game-winning shot to clinch a Big Sky Tournament berth Saturday afternoon in The Nest.

State Hornet Staff

Sacramento State women’s basketball is punching its ticket to the Big Sky Conference Tournament for the third-straight year.

Thanks to late game heroics from senior forward Sadie Clements, the Hornets (18-9, 10-8) defeated Idaho State 56-53 at The Nest this afternoon.

It was the final home game for Sac State’s senior players – guards Alle Moreno and Se’Nyce Parrish, and Clements.

Parrish has not played since Nov. 10 because of a season-ending injury, but was honored in a pre-game ceremony along with her fellow seniors.

Clements tied her career-high with 19 points, 16 coming in the first half, and converted on a go-ahead 3-pointer with 36 seconds remaining in regulation.

Minutes after the game, the Hornets officially secured a tournament berth after Portland State defeated Northern Colorado.

Clements expressed her thoughts on her clutch shot that secured the victory.

“I felt like me and Alle (Moreno) were staring at each other for a long time. It was kind of like slow motion,” Clements said. “She passed it to me and I just let it fly, and thankfully it went in.”

The Hornets jumped out to a 30-21 first half lead, but the Bengals responded with a 12-0 run to open the second half.

Idaho State pushed to a 51-41 lead with 5:55 remaining in the game, but Sac State rallied with a 10-2 run of its own.

After a key stop on defense, the Hornets had possession of the ball with 1:03 left on the clock. Moments later, Moreno found Clements for the game winning 3-point shot.

Moreno, who finished with 12 points on 4 of 9 shooting, said the victory was a bittersweet affair.

“This gym (The Nest) has been like my home and I couldn’t have asked for a better four years here,” Moreno said. “It’s sad, but I feel like I’m leaving this program in great hands.”

Clements offered similar sentiments when discussing playing her final game in front of the Hornets’ home crowd.

“It was exciting because we’ve always had a great home crowd,” Clements said. “These fans have been really supportive and make it a great experience for us.”

Hornets’ head coach Bunky Harkleroad said he was proud of his team, especially the seniors for maintaining their composure.

“Our players did a fantastic job of just finding a way to win,” Harkleroad said. “I’m so proud of them because we’ve been in this situation before, but our players kept playing.”

Harkleroad also expressed his thoughts on the performance of the team’s seniors and the pre-game ceremony in which they were honored.

“The recognition our seniors received from the home crowd was fantastic,” Harkleroad said. “For them to play the way they did was great.”

Harkleroad said while his players are excited to have made it to the Big Sky Tournament, they understand there is still work to be done.

“Obviously we want to win the tournament,” Harkleroad said. “We want to keep getting better and hopefully start peaking at the right time.”

Hornets’ freshman forward Margaret Huntington played a big role in the win as she secured 16 rebounds, six coming on the offensive end.

Sac State shot 30 percent from the floor, including 26.8 percent from 3-point range. The Hornets also forced 11 turnovers.

Idaho State was led by senior guard Lindsey Reed, who scored eight of her 11 points in the second half. Reed also collected eight rebounds and four assists.

Idaho State shot 35.6 percent overall, and 38.1 percent from 3-point range. The Bengals’ 53 points were the lowest by a Sac State opponent this season.

The Hornets will travel to Montana for its final two games of the regular season, beginning with the University of Montana on Thursday evening.

Tipoff for that game will be at 6 p.m. at Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont.

Satchi Hover can be reached on Twitter @SatchiHover