Idaho State defeats Sac State women’s basketball team in wire-to-wire victory

Bengals make twice as many field goals in dominant win


Jordan Latimore

Frehshman guard Jordan Olivares prepares to shoot the ball against Idaho State on Saturday, Feb. 8 at the Nest. The Hornets fell 75-51 to the Bengals.

Shaun Holkko

The Sacramento State women’s basketball team struggled to make a basket early against Idaho State and never caught up Saturday afternoon at the Nest, losing 75-51.

The Hornets (7-15, 5-8 Big Sky Conference) and Bengals (12-10, 8-5) came into the game at the center of the Big Sky standings with the Bengals in fifth place and the Hornets in ninth out of 11 teams.

Sac State struggled greatly in the first quarter. Idaho State scored the first seven points of the game in the opening 90 seconds. The Hornets missed their first nine shot attempts from the field before senior forward Kennedy Nicholas scored a layup with 3:29 left in the first to trim the deficit to 9-6.

The Bengals responded to the Hornets’ first made field goal with an 8-0 run to take a double-digit lead. Idaho State held a 22-9 lead over Sac State after the first quarter as the Hornets only made 2-of-14 field goal attempts (14.3%). Bengals’ junior guard Dora Goles outscored the Hornets by herself in the first, with 12 points on 4-of-6 from three.

RELATED: Sac State women’s basketball team overcomes poor first half to defeat Weber State

Sac State shot the ball much better in the second period, converting 5-of-13 attempts (38.5%) and outscoring Idaho State 16-13. The Hornets went on a 6-0 run to cut their deficit to six points at 27-21 with 2:53 left in the first half. The Bengals answered the Sac State run with an 8-0 run of their own to reclaim a double-digit lead. Idaho State led Sac State 35-25 at halftime.

At the beginning of the second half, the Hornets had to overcome a huge loss. Nicholas left the game only 35 seconds into the third quarter with a right ankle injury and did not return. The loss of Nicholas greatly impacted the Hornets as the Bengals got out to their biggest lead of the game at 47-30 halfway through the third period. Idaho State outscored Sac State 22-16 in the third and closed the quarter with a 57-41 lead.

The Bengals seized control of the contest in the fourth with a 14-3 run to open the period, as Idaho State outscored Sac State 18-10 in the quarter. The Hornets went a full six minutes in the final period without a made field goal. Idaho State went on to blowout Sac State 75-51 in a wire-to-wire victory.

Sac State coach Bunky Harkleroad described the loss as “very, very frustrating.”

“I do think there’s a reason to be frustrated,” Harkleroad said. “Idaho State played very, very well. They were very good today and I think you have to give them a lot of credit.”

Sac State had 12 more attempts from the free-throw line (15) than Idaho State and shot the ball well from behind the stripe at 80%. However, the Bengals made twice as many field goals, converting 32-of-60 attempts (53.3%) while the Hornets only made 16-of-62 (25.8%).

“Today’s game was kind of a struggle,” said senior guard Gabi Bade. “Idaho State always plays hard, they move the ball really well. They played really good defense and we had a tough time attacking them (and) we couldn’t get offensive boards.”

Sophomore point guard Milee Enger led the Hornets in scoring with nine points on 3-of-6 from three. A trio of Hornets followed Enger as Nicholas, Bade and sophomore forward Tiana Johnson each scored eight points.

“It’s a little frustrating,” Enger said about the loss. “The first half we were only down by 10 and it could have been a lot more. Then with (Kennedy) going down and not having an experienced center kind of hurt us in the second half.”

RELATED: ‘I never thought she could be an athlete’: The story of senior guard Gabi Bade

Idaho State had a trio of starters score in double-digits. Goles and sophomore forward Ellie Smith each contributed a game-high 14 points. Sophomore guard Callie Bourne stuffed the stat sheet with 13 points, nine rebounds, six assists and three steals in the win.

“Overall, we just got to have a stronger first half so it wouldn’t be like a 10, 20 point deficit,” Bade said.

The Hornets will now hit the road for two games before returning to the Nest for the final homestand of the season. Sac State plays next against Southern Utah at the America First Event Center.

“(Southern Utah has) a fantastic point guard,” Harkleroad said. “They’ve got some kids that can shoot. They will be tough to play at home, at altitude, they never quit there. We’ve had a lot of really good games the last several times we played.”

Sac State will attempt to win its 11th straight game against the Thunderbirds on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m.