Women’s basketball loses its season opener against San Diego State 91-99

State Hornet Staff

In a wild game that saw 22 lead changes and 12 ties, the Sacramento State women’s basketball team lost its season opener on the road against San Diego State, 91-99.

Still the Hornets broke a couple records in the process.

Point guard Fantasia Hilliard became just the 12th player in program history to record 1,000 career points. The senior reached the milestone with a free throw with just two minutes left to play in the game. Hilliard is already the program leader in assists and is close to breaking the steals record.

The Hornets also re-broke its own NCAA record with 58 three-pointers in the game, which is three more than the team shot against UC Irvine last season.

The women went into halftime with the lead, 57-52. However, San Diego State kept rallying back and outscored the Hornets 47-34 in the second half to win the game. The game was tied at 74 with just over 12 minutes to play before San Diego State went on a 14-4 run over the next seven minutes to take a 10-point lead.

The Hornets picked up right where they left off last season, by playing extremely fast and uptempo on both sides of the court under coach Bunky Harkleroad’s system. Last season, in his first season as coach, the Hornets led all NCAA Div. I teams in three-pointers made per game (12.4) and steals per game (13.0) on their way to a program record 11-1 start.

The contrast in playing style was apparent early between the Hornets and Aztecs. Sac State shot 58 three-pointers in the game and connected with 13 of them while San Diego State did not even attempt a shot from beyond the arc.

The Hornets also drastically outshot San Diego State by 31 field goal attempts, 93-62.

Though, the main reason the Hornets lost was because they were inefficient with their shots. The women shot only 28 percent from the field while San Diego State shot 63 percent from the field.

The difference in field goal efficiency was caused by the quality of each team’s shot selection.

The Hornets chose to shoot deep three-pointers while the Aztecs chose to take shots right beneath the basket. San Diego State outscored the women in the paint 72-24 and out rebounded the team 65-36.

The coach talked after the game about the disappointing loss.

“San Diego State did a great job of being aggressive and dominating us in the paint,” Harkleroad said. “They are a very big team and we shot the ball poorly. We had a hard time making shots and out effort on the glass wasn’t satisfactory. Overall, you have to give SDSU credit for their efforts on the offensive glass.”

The reason the Hornets were able to stay in the game was because of their full-court pressure defense that wore San Diego State down as the women stole the ball 25 times and scored 34 points off of 39 forced turnovers by SDSU.

Senior guard Takara Burse scored a team-high 17 points and senior point guard Fantasia Hilliard led the team with four assists.

The Hornets play their next game on Sunday at Cal State Northridge at 2 p.m. Last season CSUN won the Big Sky Conference last season and are the favorites to win the title again this season.