Idaho State dominates the boards while defeating the Sac State women’s basketball team

The Hornets remain winless


Dominic Vitello

Sacramento State’s Summer Menke attempts a jump shot in the first half of the game against Idaho State at the Nest at Sac State on Thurs, Jan. 14, 2021. The Hornets remain winless on the year.

Garry Singh

The Sacramento State women’s basketball team struggled to defend the paint early against Idaho State and never caught up Thursday at the Nest, losing 69-57.

The Hornets (0-8, 0-5 Big Sky) and Bengals (9-1, 7-0 Big Sky) came into the game at the opposite ends of the Big Sky standings with the Bengals in first place and the Hornets in 10th out of 11 teams.

Sac State head coach Bunky Harkleroad, who had to sit out the Hornets’ last game for COVID-19 protocols, was back on the floor for this game. 

Playing tentatively was one of the reasons the Hornets struggled in the game, said Sac State sophomore guard Jordan Olivares.

“Offensively I feel like we pass up a lot of shots, we were trying to drive and kick it out to the right person instead of being confident and pull up and that’s just really a lack of confidence from the shooters on the outside including my self,” Olivares said.

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Sac State tried to keep it close in the first quarter but allowed a 7-0 run from the Bengals. During the quarter the Hornets scored 15 points and shot 23% from the field, while the Bengals had 22 points and shot 35%. 

In the second quarter the Bengals’ lead exploded and  by halftime the score was 43-28. In the second quarter the Hornets finished only 2 of the last 12 shots they made, had 5 turnovers in a six-minute span and allowed a 15-3 run.

The Bengals were the aggressors, attacking the paint to score and creating contact to go to the free throw line, where the Bengals had twice as many attempts as the Hornets. The Bengals’ domination on the boards was another major factor in the loss.

“We got to rebound better,” Harkleroad said. “We got crushed in the paint, I thought we gave up too many points in the paint and too many points at the free throw line.” 

At the beginning of the third quarter it still wasn’t going the Hornets’ way with the Bengals going on a 5-0 run in the first three minutes of the quarter. But the Hornets kept fighting at the end of the quarter by making 4 of their last 5 field goals while the Bengals went 1 of 8 on their last shots. The Hornets also forced the Bengels to have six turnovers in the quarter. 

But it still was not enough to make a real dent into the Bengals’ lead and not enough to shift the momentum in the fourth quarter. The Bengals still played a strong, well-synced defense and beat the Hornets 16-2 in fast break points. 

“We are giving way to many easy baskets, there is no reason we should be giving up that many points,” Harkleroad said in regards to the disparity in fast break points.

One good takeaway from the game was the Hornets out-scoring the Begals in the fourth quarter 15-9 and forcing the Bengals to have four turnovers in the last few minutes.

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Sophomore guard Sarah Abney had 17 points while shooting 42% from the field and was a perfect 2-2 from the free throw line. Sophomore guard Jordan Olivares had five points, six rebounds and six assists for the Hornets.

For the game, the Hornets shot 30% from the field and 25% from the 3-point arc, and grabbed 32 rebounds. Meanwhile, the Bengals shot 35% from the field and 15% from 3-point land and had a huge 56 rebounds.

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Oliveras said the team needs to start to play with more confidence and believe in themselves more.

“I would say that everyone is here on a D1, play D1 ball so we are here for a reason and at that point we have to shoot like we’re here, we’re D1, we put on our shorts just like the other team does, we have to shoot.” Olivares said.

Harkleroad echoed Oliveras saying that his team needs to be more aggressive.

“We want to be the most aggressive team on both ends of the floor,” Harkleroad said.