Women’s basketball falls to UC Davis in annual Causeway Classic, 82-90

Jordan Santos

The Causeway Classic rivalry always produces epic games and Tuesday night was no exception between the Sacramento State women’s basketball team and UC Davis at the Hornets’ Nest.

The Aggies (1-1) outperformed the Hornets (0-3) in the paint in a high-scoring affair that ended with a score of 90-82. The Aggies were able to break down the Hornets’ full-court press and finished the game with 64 points in the paint compared to the Hornets 30 points.

The game went back and forth for most of the game, resulting in four ties and 11 lead changes.

The Hornets went into halftime with a 47-40 lead and momentum in their favor. However, it didn’t take long for the Aggies to counter the Hornets’ aggressive play and turn it into easy baskets.

Aggies forward Sydnee Fipps was competitive against the Hornets as she finished with 26 points, four rebounds and three steals. Fipps had 20 of her 26 points in the second half alone. Despite Fipps’ stellar play, the Hornets remained in the game throughout due to the play of their senior guards Takara Burse and Fantasia Hilliard.

Hornets Burse and Hilliard kept the Hornets in the game until the last minute and both finished the night with 18 points and 5 assists. Hilliard spoke after the game about some of the things the team looks to improve upon for the next game against New Mexico State.

“I think in the second half we came out flat,” Hilliard said. “We weren’t the enforcers. We didn’t come out with energy like we did in the first half. Once we saw that our shots weren’t falling we were getting down on ourselves and we were allowing too many open layups. I think we just didn’t have the right effort and energy to come up in the second half.”

Burse elaborated on what her and Hilliard have been telling their young teammates, including nine new players on a team that is still trying to gel together.

“We just try to keep the energy high and keep everybody rolling,” Burse said. “I’m a big person on heart and belief. We may be down, but you never know what’s going to happen.We would huddle up and tell the girls to keep their heads up because it’s our body language that will lead us in this second half.”

Hornets coach Bunky Harkleroad spoke after the game about some of the problems his team is facing early on in the season.

“We are in a situation where when we don’t shoot the basketball well, we have to play harder on defense,” Harkleroad said. “Right now, we are kind of hanging our heads when we don’t shoot well and we become a step slower all of a sudden. Davis is a good team and they didn’t make many mistakes. But this is a tough group of young ladies on this team and their resolve is to get better. Our schedule is so tough that we have to keep fighting and learn what the game teaches us.”

Getting back on defense after three-point attempts is a crucial element for the Hornets. When the team does not shoot well from downtown, it was difficult for the women to get back on defense and prevent the easy baskets under the rim.

Tonight, the Hornets only hit 12 three-pointers out of 45 attempts (26.7%) and allowed UC Davis to shoot over 54-percent from the field.

The Hornets’ next game will be at home on Thursday at 7 p.m. against New Mexico State, who lost to Boise State 70-45 tonight to go 0-2 for the season.