The Sacramento State women’s basketball lost the second game of the season series against Eastern Washington University by a score of 73-61 Saturday while shooting only 18% from 3-point land.
The Hornets (1-12, 1-9 Big Sky) were coming off their first win of the season against the Eagles where junior guard Jazmin Carrasco lit up the 3-point line with a game-high 26 points, but this game was a different story from beyond the arc.
“We hurried at times when we didn’t need to but we have to hit shots,” said head coach Bunky Harkleroad. “If you get open looks, you have to hit them.”
Both teams started the game sluggish with the score being tied at six, five minutes into the game. But the Eagles (6-9, 5-5 Big Sky) threw the first big punch at the end of the first quarter going on a 13-4 run.
The Hornets went 0-8 from the 3-point line with six turnovers in the first quarter.
The Hornets came out in the second quarter with a post-play designed for junior forward Tiana Johnson, which she capitalized on with an elegant post-move to try and get the Hornet’s engine going.
But the Eagles kept the ball moving on offensive and sparked another 8-0 run, followed by a 7-0 run just a few minutes later. The Hornets had to call a timeout to slow those demoralizing runs.
At the end of the second quarter the Hornets started to lock down on defense, causing the Eagles to turn the ball over four times and a scoring drought of roughly four minutes. But the Hornets did not capitalize, going on a two minute scoring drought of their own.
Sac State shot 1-14 from beyond the arc and trailed going into halftime 39-24. Junior guard Summer Menke and sophomore guard Sarah Abney both had seven points going into the second half.
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The Hornets tried clawing back into the game in the third quarter but the Eagles kept making it tough, including a shot clock buzzer-beating 3-pointer and another 6-0 run.
The Hornets struggled with team defense throughout the game, Abney said.
“Our closeouts weren’t very good, we closed out too high and they go right by us and the help wasn’t there,” Abney said. “So everybody has a job so if one person doesn’t do their job it affects others.”
Menke did try to stop the bleeding with a 3-pointer at the end of a third quarter which showed some fight as they shot 44% from the 3-point line that quarter.
At the start of the fourth quarter, the Hornets kept fighting and cut the Eagles’ lead to single digits, which forced the Eagles to call a timeout. But the Hornets would go on a 1-8 stretch from the field after that.
“The game before we had a lot of energy because our shots were falling,” Menke said. “Just because that doesn’t happen doesn’t mean we need to give up.”
With 25 seconds left in the game, the Hornets squeezed a shooting display of 4-5 from the field but it wasn’t enough, especially shooting 9% from 3-point land in the fourth quarter.
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@SacStateWBB Sophomore guard Sarah Abney, who had 16 points and 5 offensive rebounds spoke (part one) after the loss to @EWUWBB [email protected]_Sports pic.twitter.com/hhpAvIynnR
— ObeyTheKing (@ObeyTheKing__) January 31, 2021
Menke led all scorers with 20 points and 11 rebounds which adds to the long list of double-doubles she has this season. Abney had 16 points and five offensive rebounds.
“We have to be mentally tougher, we let the poor shooting affect our defense,” Harkleroad said. “We hung our heads a little bit and when Eastern got hot, their defensive effort seemed to pick up.”
On this day the Eagles simply outshot the Hornets. Sac State went 6-34 from the 3-point line to Eastern Washington’s 9-20. In addition, the Hornets shot 33% from the field to the Eagles’ 55%.
Sac State will be back in action against Northern Arizona on Feb. 4th at 4:05 p.m.