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Inside Sac State women’s basketball’s journey to NCAA tournament

March 15, 2023

Sacramento State women’s basketball is two years removed from winning just three games; this season they have set a new school record for wins and earned their first appearance in the NCAA tournament.

After a three-game losing streak to end January and start February, Sac State turned it around winning their last six regular season games in tune with the program’s first share of the Big Sky Championship.

The Hornets would not be here without Big Sky Newcomer of the Year and MVP senior guard Kahlaijah Dean who added a crucial offensive boost. Junior center Isnelle Natabou continued her dominance from last season, bolstering the interior for Sac State.

Key contributors like sophomore guard Katie Peneueta and senior guard Jordan Oliveras came alive down the stretch, propelling the Hornets' win streak to nine and claiming the school’s first Big Sky Tournament championship.

Now, the #13 seeded Hornets are headed 384 miles south to Pauley Pavilion to take on the #4 seeded UCLA Bruins in their first NCAA tournament game.

Record-breaking season

The Beginning
Santa Clara

Their win over Santa Clara started Sac State's march to the most wins in school history. It was a 73-63 win over Santa Clara where Isnelle Natabou and Kahlaijah Dean combined for 50 points. Sac State overcame turnover issues that plagued them in the season opener which helped them secure the win. Check out the game recap article

Most wins in a season

Sac State totaled a school record for wins in a season beating Montana State 82-73, Kahlaijah Dean had a season-high with 35 points, while Katie Peneueta added 20 points. The Hornets shot over from 50% from the field and from three in the historic win. Check out the game recap article.

Big Sky champs
Madness begins

The Hornets punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament after beating Northern Arizona University 76-63 to clinch their spot in the March Madness tournament. After the win Kahlaijah Dean was named tournament MVP along with regular season Big Sky MVP. Check out our game recap from the Big Sky Tournament.

Inside the hive

Stats (3)

Graphics made by Jack Freeman

Meet the stars

The date is set

March 18

Read the game preview here.

Page design by Chris Woodard

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About the Writers
Photo of Jack Freeman
Jack Freeman, Managing Editor
Jack Freeman joined The State Hornet in spring 2022 as a staff writer and is currently a junior majoring in journalism. He returns as a Managing editor, resident Indoor football aficionado, and Kellen Moore fan.
Photo of Dylan McNeill
Dylan McNeill, sports editor
Dylan McNeill is a senior working on his second semester as a sports editor at The State Hornet. Previously with The Hornet Dylan has worked as an arts and entertainment staffer as well as the baseball beat writer. McNeill is from Humboldt County, California.

Photo of Chris Woodard
Chris Woodard, Managing Editor
Chris Woodard joined The State Hornet in 2022 as a third-year transfer student. He previously worked as the editor-in-chief of Cosumnes River College’s publication, The Connection. He is a Sacramento native and hopes to cover arts & entertainment after graduating in the spring of 2024.


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