RECAP: Sac State women’s basketball split home matchups this week

Hornets sit at 17-7 overall


Lucas Monteros

Senior guard Kahlaijah Dean protects her dribble with an arm bar against Northern Arizona University defenders on Thursday Feb. 9th, 2023 at The Nest in a 84-82 overtime loss for Sac State. Dean is averaging 21.0 points-per-game in her first year as a Hornet.

Myla Booth

Sac State women’s basketball returned home after four straight games away from The Nest on Thursday. The Hornets led most of the game against Northern Arizona before losing in overtime. Sac State came out with a vengeance Saturday, dominating Northern Colorado buzzer to buzzer.

The Hornets are now 17-7 overall and 8-5 in Big Sky league play after playing at home this weekend.

Thursday: Sacramento State 82 vs. Northern Arizona 84

The Sacramento State women’s basketball team fell 84-82 in an intense matchup against Northern Arizona in overtime on Thursday night at The Nest.  

“We have nine new players that hadn’t played for us a year ago and we’re still trying to figure ourselves out,” coach Mark Campbell said. “It was a great learning opportunity and we’re trying to grow defensively.”  

“I’m sad, mad and in denial,” junior center Isnelle Natabou said. “I’m still sad because I gave it my all.” 

In the first half of the game, Sac State started off strong by keeping the ball movingon offense and, driving to the basket to findopen looks. Northern Arizona started applying lots of pressure defensively on the Hornets beyond half court. 

Natabou started off with a layup and rebound to give the Hornets a four point lead — the first of the junior’s season-high 27 points. Senior guard Kahlaijah Dean was hustling all over the court, looking for open shots, assisting the ball and getting rebounds. 

Sac State had a few turnovers in the first half, but still managed to push through and senior guard Kaylin Randhawa set her career high at Sac State with 18 points. Randhawa was hitting Northern Arizona with three-point shots left and right, going 5-5 from deep. 

In the end of the first half, senior guard Jordan Olivares hit Northern Arizona with a three point jumper, giving the Hornets a five-point lead at the end of the first half: 35-30. 

In the third quarter, the Hornets turned over the ball due to a bad pass. However, Natabou was able to put up a layup, making up for it after the Lumberjacks stole the ball and made a two-pointer of their own. 

“I always try to keep my composure because I know it’s coming,” Natabou said. “But when they make a mistake and it’s not coming, I’ll go make my move. That’s what coach tells me.” 

Northern Arizona started getting their momentum, taking the lead at the end of the third quarter. Sac State went into the fourth quarter down by two.  

The Hornets were up by six with t a minute, 39 seconds left in the game after sophomore guard Katie Peneueta made a layup. Until, NAU’s Emily Roudabaugh connected on a three, then got fouled shooting another three point shot. After making all three free throws, the game was tied. 

Dean tried to make a two-point shot, but missed as the time expired, ending the fourth quarter at 76-76. 

Going into overtime, the crowd was standing on their feet, nervously wondering how this could go with only five minutes to find out. 

The Hornets found themselves down two at the end of the overtime period. Redshirt freshman Benthe Versteeg tried to make a two-point shot to tie the game, missing as time ran out and giving the Lumberjacks the come-from-behind win. 

“I’m exhausted in the sense that I have nothing left in me that I could give my team,” Natabou said. “I missed a few shots, but I kept going in there and doing my job.” 

Story continues below.

Saturday: Sacramento State 79 vs. Northern Colorado 48

The Sacramento State women’s basketball team made a comeback from Thursday night’s loss in a matchup against Northern Colorado, winning 79-48 in convincing fashion Saturday at The Nest.

“Thursday, we gave up 84 points,” Randhawa said. “We had a great game offensively, but we know we can’t win by giving up that many points. The whole key has been defense for a while and I thought today we just guarded really well.” 

The Hornets defense held up much better the first half, causing the Bears to commit a shot clock violation setting up a shot. 

“Today, we grew up a lot on the defensive end and that’s been our journey this season,” Campbell said. “We’re the most efficient offense in the league. The question is how good could we get defensively.” 

In the second quarter, the Hornets were making sure to keep constant movement, swinging the ball around the perimeter of the floor till they found an open look for a shot. 

Peneueta was dropping three-point shots anytime she saw an opening from the start, to the end of the second quarter.

“I think we’ve shown a lot of glimpses of what we are capable of,” Peneueta said. “The only people who ever stop us is us. It’s just about finding our groove and locking in when we need to.” 

By the end of the second quarter, Sac State was out-scoring Northern Colorado 20-8. The Hornets shot 57% on three pointers percentage in the first half. 

The Bears came out with the same aggressive defense against the Hornets as the Lumberjacks; trying to slow them down and failing. Sac State outscored Northern Colorado 24-13 in the third quarter. 

Northern Colorado played hard against Sac State the rest of the second half. 

The Hornets kept their momentum  against the Bears up the whole matchup and were able to walk away with a clean win of 79-48. Sac State cruised to a  31-point win. 

“Proud of how they responded after a tough loss,” Campbell said. “We needed this, ‘cause we have two road games coming up. We have a group that loves to compete, love each other and they’re trying to learn and grow, so that we’re playing our best basketball in Boise.”

The Hornets will be headed on the road in a matchup against Weber State on Thursday at 5 p.m. and Idaho State on Saturday at 1 p.m.