Sac State women’s basketball end regular season with a bang

Hornets clinch first ever Big Sky championship, beats Portland State 80-54


Alyssa Branum

The Sacramento State women’s basketball team celebrates with their trophy after earning part of the Big Sky Conference championship on Monday, Feb. 27, 2023 at The Nest after beating Portland State 80-54. In Sac State head coach Mark Campbell’s second year with the Hornets, he and the team delivered the most successful season in program history.

Myla Booth

The Sacramento State women’s basketball team celebrated in The Nest Monday night as they ended their regular season with a win against the Portland State Vikings, 80-54. 

The win got the Hornets tied for first with Montana State and Northern Arizona in the Big Sky standings, earning a share of the school’s first conference title. It’s a good ending to the season and a good start going into the Big Sky Conference Tournament. 

“This group showed up and showed out,” Sac State head coach Mark Campbell said. “We work hard all year to have a great balance. We’re playing our best basketball right now.” 

Portland State started off the game strong, scoring the game’s first five points until Sac State activated senior guard Kahlaijah Dean. Dean made the first three-point shot for the Hornets, getting them on the board. 

Junior center Isnelle Natabou put up a rebound for the Hornets, tying the game at 7-7. The Hornets ended the first quarter with a three-point lead of 16-13. 

Sac State came into the second quarter ready to score, shooting 69% in the quarter. The Hornets kept their momentum up the entire second quarter, extending their three-point lead to a 13-point lead by half. 

“I knew that our offense was going to hit eventually,” senior guard Jordan Olivares said. “We just had to buckle down.” 

Olivares was constantly hustling, getting rebounds for the Hornets at the last second, giving them an extra offensive possession and another chance to add to their lead. She finished with a team-high 11 rebounds. 

Sac State had a three-point percentage of 50% and field goal percentage of 57.7% in the first half. 

The Hornets took their momentum from the first half right into the second and it never let up. Applying lots of double-team defense on the Vikings and were on a 7-0 run in the third quarter. 

“I felt [physically] ready and mentally ready,” Natabou said. “I was ready to push through my tiredness and get the ball down.” 

Going into the fourth and final quarter, Natabou came in with a layup giving the Hornets a 20-point lead, 60-40. Natabou finished with 23 points and 6 rebounds.

Sac State pushed through this whole game and came out on top with a win of 80-54 against Portland State. 

“I’m so happy and I am so tired physically, but I don’t care,” Natabou said. “I will stretch and do yoga to get myself ready for the Big Sky tournament.” 

The Hornets got to celebrate with the Big Sky regular season championship trophy and cut the net down from the hoop at The Nest to celebrate the best women’s basketball season in Sac State history.

The Hornets will be heading up to Boise, Idaho for the Big Sky tournament facing off with Idaho on Monday, March 6th at 1:30 p.m.