Women’s basketball drops its second game of the season 66-81

Jordan Santos

The Hornets’ bench combined for 37 points, but the team shot just 7-of-35 from a three-point range and had three players foul out in the second half in a 66-81 loss at CSU Northridge Sunday afternoon.

The loss puts the Hornets record at 0-2 for the season.

“Northridge is a very good basketball team that played in the NCAA tournament as the Big West champions,” said coach Bunky Harkleroad said. “They have a terrific veteran backcourt. We are obviously disappointed with the loss, but we improved as a team and took some big steps forward.”

The Matadors led at halftime by 19 points until the Hornets came back with a 22-4 run and trailed by only one point with 13 minutes to play. The Matadors then slowed the tempo offensively and prevented the Hornets from scoring off of turnovers with their press defense.

The Hornets shot just 32 percent from the field, while allowing the Matadors to shoot over 71 percent from the field. The women had 24 points off of turnovers, which is quite low for a team that prides itself on scoring a lot of points through its full-court pressure.

CSU Northridge guard Cinnamon Lister exposed the Hornets’ defense and was sharp from beyond the arc, connecting on all five of her three-point attempts. Lister hit seven of her eight field goal attempts and led the Matadors with 20 points, three rebounds, two assists and three steals.

Harkleroad spoke after the game about how his team is learning from the loss to a well-respected opponent.

“Playing against this level of competition exposes you and let’s you know what your weaknesses are,” he said. “We have a lot to work on and will continue to get better. Overall, I’m proud of our effort and growth today.”

The two biggest problems for the Hornets were that they were not taking good shots and their press defense was routinely broken which led to easy buckets in the paint for the Matadors.

Sac State made only 20-of-62 shots and allowed CSU Northridge to do most of its damage near the basket, collecting 38 points in the paint.

The reserves scored 37 points led by freshman guard Maranne Johnson and her career-high 14 points in only 14 minutes of play.

Hornet senior guards Fantasia Hilliard and Takara Burse combined for only 16 points and two assists.

One good sign for the Hornets is that they are coming back home, where they went 13-2 last season. The women open up their home schedule Tuesday 7 p.m. against rival UC Davis.