Eastern Washington edges out Sac State women’s baskteball, 80-79

Eleanor Mafi

After last week’s win against Portland State, Sacramento State women’s basketball fell short against Eastern Washington University on Thursday, Feb. 12 in a competitive matchup in the Hornets Nest. The women were defeated by the Eagles by one point, 80-79, handing them their second consecutive loss.

Entering the second half, Eastern Washington was only down by two points in the contest. Sac State tried to pull away when Hallie Gennett hit a 3-pointer that made the score 64-58 with 7:35 left on the clock. However, that didn’t stop the Eagles as Hayley Hodgins answered back with a 3-pointer to loosen the lead.

The game was down to the wire with 2:58 to play as Sac State’s Gennett and Maranne Johnson hit consecutive 3-pointers, giving them the 76-74 lead.

When the clock came down to 34 seconds, the lead changed twice with the Eagles going up by one point after two free throws and a jump shot were made, but the Hornets’ Adella Randle-El had a steal and made a layup to put the score 79-78, advantage Sac State.

With 17 seconds left, EWU’s Hodgins made a layup that cemented their 80-79 win and the Hornets were unsuccessful in their final shots, missing two 3-pointers attempted in the final seconds of the contest.

“We got a lot to focus on and our infancy doesn’t change,” said Sac State coach Bunky Harkleroad. “We’re working on playing hard defense without fouling. The first half we gave them some points. We gave them some in second half too.”

The Eagles scored twice making it 4-0 in the beginning of the first half. The Hornets’ player Fantasia Hillard got the ball rolling as she scored the first points, making it a 2-4 game. Randle-El shot a 3-pointer, claiming the Hornets first lead in the game at 5-4.

The Hornets had been unstoppable after their lead in the first half, but the Eagles kept up with their pace. Going into the half, the women were tied at 34-34.

Hilliard had eight points in the first half while Johnson had three rebounds, Randle-El and Gennett collected two rebounds with five points. Margaret Huntington led the first half with four rebounds.

“[Harkleroad] told us to box out and I think we still failed to do that,” Hilliard said. “I think we can work on that. We’re jumping too much, but [we need to] box out.”

As a team, the women averaged 14.3 turnovers, scoring 40.5 percent from the field, while scoring 34 points in the first and having 84 percent possession of the ball.

Three Hornets finished this game in double figures in points scored. Hilliard led the team with 18 points, two 3-pointers and four rebounds in 33 minutes played. Gennett finished with 14 points and Randle-El recorded 12 points.

The last time these two teams met was at the Eagles’ home court on Jan. 17, where the Hornets defeated them 73-67. The Eagles came into this game with 6-4 conference record.

The Hornets are still tied at second place in the Big Sky Conference with the University of North Dakota. The women will take on the University of Idaho at The Nest on Saturday, Feb. 14 at 2 p.m.