Texas Tech comes to the game off a convincing 79-65 win over Penn State on December 21. Senior center Cisti Greenwalt led the Lady Raiders' second-half effort to cement their victory with 16 of her game-high 21 points, but missed posting a double-double for only the second time this season with just seven rebounds and five blocks. Tech's only senior spent 11 minutes on the sidelines after picking up early fouls; junior point guard Erin Grant was similarly hampered. Junior Chesley Dabbs followed Greenwalt's scoring lead with 13 while LaToya Davis and sophomore Alesha Robertson each added 12 points to the Lady Raider total.
Sacramento State's senior guard Tyeisha Brown highlighted a 19-minute performance against UC Irvine with five steals; she also picked up four personal fouls and one technical foul. The Aardvark women's squad outplayed Sacramento State's Hornets in the paint 28-24, but Sacramento State collected 38 rebounds to 37 and the Hornets won both the turnover contest, giving up five fewer than the Aardvarks, and the points from turnovers 25-19.
At the half, UC Irvine carried a three-point lead, but the Hornets outscored them by three in the second period to force the game into overtime. Eleven of Alldrin's points and all her treys came after the intermission en route to the extra period. Lady Aardvarks' sophomore forward Angie Ned led all scorers in the game with 22 points; teammate Ashley Biggins' 11 rebounds also led all players. While UC Irvine's 12 points on the fast break doubled the Hornets' total and second-chance scoring favored the Aardvarks 14-9, Sacramento's bench out-pointed Irvine's 21-18. The Hornets managed one more block and four more thefts than the Aardvarks.
Several members of the Hornet squad played junior college ball at Clackamas Community College: Cadotte, Alldrin, and redshirt forward Ashley Storms, as well as small forward Lindsay Calmettes bring a history of teamwork to Dan Muscatell's second year at the helm. In their second year in the Big Sky Conference, Sacramento State already has three times as many wins as last year, when the Hornets went 1-26.
Samania Black returns for her senior year and sophomore Sheehy, coming off a redshirt year after a transfer from San Jose State, join sophomore Stephanie Cherry at guard; all can play the point, as does Brown.
Cherry, 5-6, who hails from Suisun, California, has her coach's confidence; Muscatell has said, "Stephanie is probably our most explosive offensive player. She can just plain score."
Next in line at the point spot is likely to be freshman Ali Mollett, who racked up San Jose Del Mar High School's all time record in assists. When not working the point, Sheehy has an outside shot that lets the 5-9 Santa Fe, New Mexico product do double duty at the shooting guard slot along with Brown and Alldrin. Tess Thompson returns at guard after an injury forced her to miss the 2003-04 season to join walk-ons Takara Todd and Dianna Chavez at guard.
Senior center Kristine Knowlton is the only four-year player on the team. Her career record of 140 blocks is tops in Sacramento State history. Her backup in the middle comes from Cadotte, who does double duty at forward, and 6-1 freshman Ashley Jackson. Power forward duties split between Heard and Ciampi.
The Lady Raiders, 6-2, risk a one-game winning streak Tuesday night against Sacramento State after losing an overtime contest to Virginia Tech. They will play Idaho State at 2 p.m. January 2 in their last game before Big 12 conference play begins when the University of Oklahoma visits the USA January 5.