Tillman leads Sac State women’s basketball to win over Northern Colorado

Four Hornets finish with double figures in 65-55 Victory


John Cabales

Freshman guard Katie Peneueta at the free throw line in the Nest on Jan. 10, where Peneueta went one for three. The Hornets lost the game 68-57 against Northern Arizona at the Nest on Jan.10, 2022.

John Cabales

It was an up and down night on the road for the Sacramento State women’s basketball team, but in the end, they were able to pull away with a 65-55 win against Northern Colorado at the Bank of Colorado Arena.

The Bears (9-12, 5-8 Big Sky) got the jump on the Hornets (12-10, 8-5 Big Sky) as they got up to 4-0 quickly. That didn’t last long however, as the Hornets went on a 14-2 run ignited by a three from freshman guard Katie Peneueta.

The Hornets held on to that lead going into the second quarter 18-10.

The second quarter got a little interesting as the Hornets saw some chinks in their armor, as the Bears found a way to make their own runs in the period. 

Sac State scored eight points in the second quarter, but Northern Colorado seized the chance to take the lead back.  After a three-pointer from Micayla Isenbart, they took that lead and extended it after another three-pointer from Hannah Simental putting the score at 27-22.

“It wasn’t necessarily doing anything to us, we were beating ourselves,” said junior guard Jordan Olivares. “We started off unfocused and we were not making the simple plays.”

Graduate guard Lianna Tillman hit a jumper followed by an easy lay up from sophomore center Isnelle Natabou to put them down by one, at 27-26 heading into halftime.

Sac State regained control coming out of the half, taking back their lead and keeping it for the rest of the game.

The Bears were effective in preventing Natabou from scoring,  but she still contributed by tallying up 18 points by the end of the game, with eight of them being on the offensive end.

It didn’t matter how much the Bears kept Natabou from scoring, however,  because they could not keep anyone else from earning points.

Tillman did what she does every game and dominated the offense, racking up 21-points and seven assists. Senior guard Summer Menke also chipped in for the Hornets offensively, finishing with 12 points on 50% shooting.

“Lianna is a veteran, this is her fifth season of college basketball, she is always calm and that rubs off on our team,” said head coach Mark Campbell. “She lives for the big moments and she continues to deliver for us.”

The third quarter ended with the Bears still within striking distance, down 44-39 but it was clear in the fourth quarter that the Hornets were done letting them feel like they could win.

It was all Tillman and Peneueta in the fourth quarter as they could not be stopped. Peneueta shot 100% for the night and ended up with 14 points.

“I think the more my teammates continue to succeed, it continues to open up shots for me,” Peneueta said. “My faith also plays a big role in my game as well.”

As time wound down, Tillman drove and dished it to Natabou so she could keep her streak of double doubles alive. Northern Colorado fouled, and Natabou made huge free throws down the stretch to cap off her 10-point night..

Sac State took the game 65-55 to make their record 12-10 and 8-5 in the Big Sky.

The Hornets will return home to play Thursday against Weber State at 7 p.m.