Women’s basketball drops Southern Utah 107-73

State Hornet Staff

Sacramento State women’s basketball had a historic game tonight breaking the single-season program record for winning percentage in the Big Sky Conference against Southern Utah University. The Hornets won 107-73 in their second-to-last conference game at the Hornets Nest.

The Hornets’ winning record was 13 games in 2012-13, however, with two fewer conference games this season their 12th win this spring tops the women’s highest program percentage win for a season (.417).

Southern Utah’s center, Brenna Gates, scored the first point of the game at 19 minutes and 23 seconds in the first half. The center shot a free throw after a foul committed by Sac State’s guard Andrea Chenier.

Sophomore Hallie Gennett quickly answered back with a 3-pointer with 19:03 on the clock, scoring the Hornets’ first points. Gennett also ended Southern Utah’s 20 second lead.

With the Hornets’ successful field goal percentage of 51.1 in the first half the Thunderbirds were unable to gain back the lead the remainder of the first half.

The women were also 50 percent in 3-point field goals in the first half and entered into halftime with a hefty 34-point lead.

Southern Utah’s field goal percentage in the first half was 42.9 percent and the team made zero 3-pointers and only managed to make 9 of 18 free throws.

“I am proud of our team for the way we came out and started the game,” said coach Bunky Harkleroad. “The energy the first half was great. We were knocking shots down, we were doing a lot of things right and we were able to really be disruptive to Southern Utah.”

During second half, the Hornets’ field goal percentage went down as they made only 11 of 31 field goals (35.5 percent). Despite the low percentage, the women shot six good 3-pointers in the last 5 minutes and 55 seconds of the game, ending the second half with a 37.5 percent for 3-pointers.

“In the second half we showed we still got a lot of work to do,” Harkleroad said.

Point guard Brianna Burgos also commented on the team’s performance in the second half.

“We are going to learn from our second half, because obviously our half wasn’t the greatest,” Burgos said. “We are going to take this stuff that doesn’t go our way and use it to better us for the tournament.”

While only scoring 46 points in the second half the Hornets did not surrender their lead.

“We are going to need to fine tune all the little things we made mistakes on so that when it comes to tournament time we won’t make those mistakes,” said forward Gretchen Harrigan.

Southern Utah also scored 46 points in the second half and bettered their field goal percentage to 52.2 percent. The Thunderbirds put up a strong fight during the end of the second half but they were unable to come out with a win.

An issue for Southern Utah were fouls as they totaled 23 personal fouls by the end of the game. Desiree Jackson had the most fouls with five and two other SUU players had four fouls.

The leading players for the Hornets were Burgos, Gennett, Takara Burse and Chenier. Burgos scored 19 points in the game, which was a career-high record for the point guard who had a previous accolade of 17. Gennett also reached double figures with 14 points, along with teammates Burse, Chenier and Adella Randle-El who scored 11 points.

Harrigan tallied 13 points and Hilliard finished with 15 points. Seven players reached double figures for Sac State.

“I did a lot better than I have previously in the games,” Burse said. “I felt more energized because my team [we] were all giving each other energy. We were all being anchors of energy that really helped me. My teammates had my back.”

Thursday’s win puts the Hornets at 12-5 in the Big Sky and 14-14 overall. With one more win the Hornets will lock in the No. 2 seed in the Big Sky tournament. The last time Sac State secured second in the league was in the 2009-10 season.

The women’s basketball will compete in their last home game of the season against Northern Arizona University on Saturday, March 7 at 2 p.m.