Sac State women’s basketball crushes Portland State in Big Sky semifinals

Hornets move to championship to take on Northern Arizona Wednesday


Alyssa Branum

Senior guard Kahlaijah Dean drives past a defender on senior night Monday Feb. 27, 2023, over the Portland State Vikings 80-54. The Hornets beat Portland State again Tuesday 60-42 to advance to the Big Sky Championship game on Wednesday.

Myla Booth

For the first time in school history, the Sacramento State women’s basketball team will advance to the championship game in the Big Sky tournament after they beat the Portland State Vikings 60-42 Tuesday in the semifinals. 

With a smile on her face, junior center Isnelle Natabou put the Sac State sticker onto the board for the championship round of the Big Sky tournament. 

“That’s two games in a row that this group’s been really dialed in defensively,” Sac State head coach Mark Campbell said. “All year we’ve kind of been hanging our hat on our offense.” 

Both teams struggled offensively in the beginning of the game until the Hornets got their first bucket almost two minutes in.

Portland State came into the game disrupting Sac State on defense, making it hard for the Hornetsto respond offensively.  The Vikings took the lead, ending the first quarter 15-13. 

The Hornets couldn’t seem to find their momentum after a few turnovers, and the Vikings extended their lead 5 points in the beginning of the second quarter. 

“On the court, we literally had to get defensive stops,” senior guard Jordan Olivares said. “As struggling as it is, our offense was picking up. In order for our offense to keep the momentum, we had to get stops.” 

The Hornets started slowly finding their momentum — which helped them take the lead — ending the first half up 25-22 after being in a scoring drought for over three minutes. 

“During halftime, we as a team talked and coach encouraged me so much as he always does, reminding me that I need to continue doing what I do because I know what I can do,” Natabou said.

Going into the third quarter, Natabou was shooting back-to-back layups, as she was determined to help the Hornets get another tournament win. 

“My game needs to keep going because this team needs me and I need my team,” Natabou said. “I need to give everything to this game because there is no tomorrow if we lose.”

Sac State started applying aggressive defense on Portland State, making it hard for them to find any open looks as they were in a scoring drought for four and a half minutes.

The Hornets were on a 12-0 run over as they took a 15 point lead, ending the quarter 48-33. 

The last and final quarter, the Hornets had a small scoring drought until they bounced back offensively and continued to push through the rest of the game. 

“We’re hungry, we want this game, this is it,” Olivares said. “Leave it all on the court, that’s pretty much it.” 

The Hornets will be taking on Northern Arizona in the championship final round of the Big Sky Tournament Wednesday at 2 p.m.