Hornets women’s basketball eliminated from postseason

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Chris Bullock

As Sacramento State women’s basketball head coach Bunky Harkleroad said after Monday’s game against Southern Utah, “It comes down to a one-shot deal. You either win or you’re done.”

For Sac State, it was a four-shot difference at the end, as No. 2 Eastern Washington went on an 8-0 run to bring the Hornets’ women’s basketball season to an end on Wednesday night. Eastern Washington beat the Hornets 100-97 in the quarterfinal round of the Big Sky Conference Tournament.

After setting seven conference records during Monday night’s win over Southern Utah, Sac State (14-17) wasn’t able to contain the Eastern Washington (20-11) offense, led by 27 points from guard Hayley Hodgins and 18 rebounds from forward Ashli Payne, including the final free throw at the end of the game.

Harkleroad was quick to sum up the last few minutes of the game.

“We just couldn’t get stops,” Harkleroad said. “They [Eastern Washington] don’t miss free throws.”

Sac State started off yesterday’s game in the same fashion it finished Monday’s game, scoring fast and often. Seven minutes into the first quarter, the Hornets held an eight-point lead en route to finishing with a 26-21 lead to end the first.

In the second quarter, Eastern Washington found its offensive groove, making eight straight shots to start the quarter. Sac State kept the game close, and neither team scored in the last two minutes of the quarter. Going into halftime, the Eagles led the Hornets 51-45.

Eastern Washington started the third quarter on a 7-3 run, taking an early 10-point lead before Sac State fought back. The Hornets scored 30 points in the quarter to close the gap within two, 77-75, going into the final quarter.

Sac State held the lead a majority of the final quarter, with a 95-91 lead with two minutes left before Hayley Hodgins and her sister, Delaney, made six of Eastern Washington’s last nine points.

With the win, Eastern Washington will play No. 3 Idaho in the semifinal of the tournament on Friday. With the loss, Sac State women’s basketball season is officially over.

Harkleroad, even after the loss, had positive things to say about how the team performed.

“We showed a lot of heart,” Harkelroad said. “I’m proud of the way we fought; it just wasn’t meant to be.”

Sophomore guard Maranne Johnson, who scored a career-high 31 points on Monday, led Sac State in last night’s game with 25 points on 6-of-13 three point shooting. Senior guard Adella Randle-El, playing in her final collegiate game, nearly had a triple-double for the second straight game, with 21 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Randle-El also had two steals in the game, finishing her final season as a Hornet with a single-season program record 117 steals.

Junior forwards Gretchen Harrigan and Margaret Huntington also had solid games, with both garnering double-doubles — 20 points, 10 rebounds for Harrigan and 14 points, 11 rebounds for Huntington. The Hornets outrebounded Eastern Washington 49-47 but finished the game with 23 turnovers.

Sac State ended its season winning seven of its last 10 games, making 10 or more 3-pointers in eight of those games.