Sacramento State women’s basketball team dominates Eastern Washington in 59-49 win

Hornets lean on defensive clinic to secure their second Big Sky win


John Cabales

Senior guard Jazmin Carrasco prepares to pass the ball into the paint at the Hornets’ game against Eastern Washington at the Nest on Jan. 20, 2022. Carrasco and the Hornets would get their second win in a row after defeating Eastern Washington 59-49.

John Cabales

The Sac State women’s basketball team looked like a whole new squad in a dominant 59-49 win at home at the Nest against Big Sky opponent Eastern Washington on Thursday, Jan. 20. 

Thursday’s matchup against the Eagles marked a comeback win for the Hornets (6-9, 2-4 Big Sky), after their match against Northern Arizona, in which they couldn’t keep their opponent in front of them. 

That was not the case against the Eagles (4-12, 2-5 Big Sky),  as the Hornets made every shot difficult for their opponent, forcing them to shoot 29% from the field. 

“That’s been our focus in practice is defense,” said graduate guard Lianna Tillman. “I think we showed our improvement today and we’ll just build off of that.”

Early on, the Hornets made a few mistakes and gave up open threes, but on offense they looked fluid and moved the ball extremely well, getting easy shots of their own. 

The first quarter was the closest quarter of the game, as the Hornets would only be up by 16-14 going into the second.

Though Tillman did not dominate with her scoring as she usually does, she did manage to  control the offense and find open players. 

“The first half I was just jacking up shots and after that I just took what the defense gave me,”  Tillman said. “My teammates were open so I made the easy passes.”

This opened the floor to players like freshman guard Katie Peneueta, junior guard Jordan Olivares and senior guard Jazmin Carrasco who knocked down open threes. 

“This game we needed Jordan and KP to step up because they had bigger guards who could shoot the three,” said senior guard Summer Menke. 

The Hornets shot  50% from the field and only allowed the Eagles to shoot 35.7%, which would put them up by eight going into halftime.

The third quarter is where the Hornets would suffocate the Eagles defensively, allowing Eastern Washington to score seven points on 20% shooting.  

Tillman, Menke and sophomore center Isnelle Natabou shouldered the load offensively, scoring all 16 of the Hornet points in the third, giving them a 17-point lead going into the fourth quarter. 

The Eagles would go on a run in the fourth and switch  up their strategy, changing to a small ball lineup, while Hornets head Coach Mark Campbell countered and  switched the team to a zone defense.

“We can have Issy [Isnelle Natabou] chasing around a three point shooter or we can play zone to protect her,” said Campbell. 

Eastern Washington chipped away and got the lead down to as little as nine points, which gave them a chance at the end of the game when they started to intentionally foul and the Hornets would miss a bevy  of late game free throws.

The run was a little too late, as the Hornets would secure their second consecutive win 59-49 and their second Big Sky win of the season.

That’s two games in a row where we were really tough defensively,” Campbell said. “We were physical and we executed.” 

The Hornets’ next game will be at home at The  Nest on Saturday, Jan. 22 against Idaho at 1 p.m.