Single-quarter woes lead to Sac State women’s basketball team’s downfall, again

Hornets lose to Idaho 96-88 after poor second quarter


Shaun Holkko

Sac State senior guard Camariah King surveys the floor against Idaho on Saturday, Feb. 22 at the Nest. The Hornets lost to the Vandals 96-88.

Shaun Holkko

As has been the case for most of the 2019-20 season, the Sacramento State women’s basketball team struggled in one quarter, leading to a home loss to the University of Idaho.

The Hornets (8-18, 6-11 Big Sky Conference) trailed the entire game and lost to the Vandals (16-9, 11-5) 96-88 at the Nest.

Sac State was without two of their senior leaders against the Vandals Saturday afternoon as forward Kennedy Nicholas sat out with a right-ankle injury and guard Gabi Bade was sidelined with a right heel injury. The team’s plan is to have both players ready for Senior Night against Portland State on March 6.

“I’m really proud of our kids,” coach Bunky Harkleroad said after the game. “We’re beaten up pretty good right now. All things considered, I was proud of the energy level from our team today.”

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

The first quarter was high-scoring and highly competitive. Idaho jumped out to a 9-2 lead three minutes into the contest until Sac State stormed back. The Hornets then went on a 6-0 run in 52 seconds to trim the deficit to one. Both teams battled back and forth to end the period tied at 25 apiece.

Idaho won the game in the second quarter. The Vandals led the Hornets 33-31 three minutes into the second period. Idaho then went on an 11-0 run to seize control of the game, following three consecutive 3-pointers from Janie King. The sophomore guard made the most of her opportunity with nine points on 3-of-5 from 3-point land in 5:25 of action.

The Vandals would go on to outscore the Hornets 31-16 in the second quarter. Idaho led 56-41 at halftime, creating a large deficit for Sac State to try and overcome in the second half.

“It’s just about playing four quarters,” sophomore forward Tiana Johnson said. “We still got to work on going hard each quarter and you can’t have those lapses.”

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The Hornets came out in the third period aggressively. Sac State outscored Idaho 24-21 in the quarter to trim the deficit to 12 going into the fourth.

In the fourth quarter, Sac State kept the game in range. The Hornets won the fourth quarter 23-19 over the Vandals. However, it was not nearly enough for a comeback, as the deficit from the second quarter was too large to overcome. Idaho defeated Sac State 96-88 in a wire-to-wire victory.

Ninety-six is the most points scored by the Vandals in a game this season. Ninety-six is also the most points that the Hornets have allowed to a Big Sky opponent this season in regulation.

Both teams shot the ball fairly well on Saturday. Idaho made 35-of-62 (56%) attempts from the field and Sac State made 32-of-66 (48%) shots. The Vandals made 36% of their 3-pointers (9-of-25) while the Hornets knocked down 38% of attempts (6-of-16). 

Both teams struggled from the free-throw line however as Sac State made 18-of-28 (64%) shots and Idaho converted 17-of-26 tries (65%). The Vandals also shared the ball more frequently, doubling the number of assists (23) the Hornets had (10) in the game.

RELATED: Sac State women’s basketball team upset by Eastern Washington

Without two of their senior leaders, the Hornets’ sophomores led the charge. Johnson tied a team-high with 20 points on 5-of-11 from the field and 10-of-11 from the free-throw line with seven rebounds. Guard Summer Menke and point guard Milee Enger each scored new career-highs respectively in the loss.

Menke had 20 points on 8-of-12 from the field with five rebounds. Enger scored 18 points on 7-of-12 from the field with four rebounds and four assists. The lone active senior, guard Camariah King, added 15 points, four rebounds and four assists.

“I think we just had a different mentality of going to the basket,” Enger said. “Our teammates and coaches were looking for us to get the ball and take whoever was guarding us to the basket. So a great effort by us but great effort by our teammates continuing to look to get us to the ball.”

The Vandals were led to the win by a monster performance from guard Beyonce Bea. The freshman scored a new career-high with a double-double in the win. Bea had a game-high 30 points on 11-of-18 from the field and 8-of-12 from the charity stripe with 10 rebounds and seven assists.

“She gets her feet set,” Harkleroad said. “She’s a very good basketball player because she hits all those mid-range shots. That’s kind of an old school type game you don’t see a lot of anymore.”

Idaho had another player get a double-double as well. Senior guard Lizzy Klinker contributed 14 points on 6-of-9 from the field and 10 rebounds in the win.

“Again, this is another close loss,” Enger said. “I think these guys are third in conference right now. So it shows that we can stay with anyone if we want. We had barely lost to Eastern (Washington) whose (on the) bottom and then Idaho’s (on) top. So we’re in it with any single team that we want to be.”

The Hornets now head to Montana for the final road trip of the season. Sac State plays against the first-place Montana State Bobcats at the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse on Thursday night at 6:05 p.m.