San Jose, Calif. - Rachol West had a team-high and career-best 19 points and five other Spartans were in double figures, as the San José State women's basketball team used hot shooting in the second half to defeat the Sacramento State Hornets 102-94 on Monday afternoon in The Event Center.
San José State (6-5) shot 50 percent (22-for-44) in the second half, including 6-for-12 from distance, in outscoring the Hornets 41-59. Sacramento State, after making 42 percent of its shots in the first half, was limited to just 25 percent (15-for-59) in the second. They hit just 2-of-22 attempts from 3-point range (nine percent) in the second period.
"Our plan was to challenge their 3-point shots," said head coach Jamie Craighead. "We wanted to get a hand in their face every time. They want to trade threes for twos. If you don't challenge them, you play into that. We did a good job in the second half, either forcing them to abandon the three and take a two or not allowing them clean looks when they did shoot (a 3-pointer)."
Trailing by 10 points, 53-43, to start the second half, SJSU erased the Sacramento State (2-9) lead with a 16-to-5 spurt. West's 3-pointer with 16:21 to play, one of five she made in the game, capped the run. It took slightly more than four minutes and gave San José State a 59-58 lead. West finished the night 7-for-13 from the field, including 5-of-8 from beyond the arc. She grabbed five rebounds, had an assist and a steal all in 19 minutes on the floor.
Riana Byrd, in her first start of the season, was efficient with 12 points, six rebounds and four blocks in just 13 minutes of action. Jasmine Smith, the team's other post player, scored 15 points, including 5-of-7 from the line, pulled down seven rebounds and had a team-high three steals in 18 minutes.
Both teams came out running, but not hitting their shots. At the first media timeout, the score was 5-5 and the Spartans were shooting just 18 percent (2-for-11) to Sacramento State's 17 percent (2-for-12).
The Hornets would grab the lead and push it out to eight points twice before SJSU tied it 28-28 with 9:02 to go before the half. The Spartans took a brief 34-32 advantage less that 90 second later, but Sacramento State closed the half on a 21-9 run to take the 53-43 advantage into the locker rooms.
Once San José State got the lead back in the second half they would never relinquish it.
They build their biggest advantage, 81-67, on Nyre Harris' fast break layup with 9:35 to play.
Three times inside five minutes to play the Hornets trimmed the Spartans lead to six points. But Aniya Baker answered each time. She drained a pair of clutch jumpers and nailed a 3-pointer to give San José State breathing room and propel them to victory.
Ta'Rea Cunnigan had 14 points, five boards, three assists and two blocks. She sits three points shy of tying Elinor Banks, 1,672 point from 1978-81, for third place on the program's career scoring list. Baker chipped in 11 points, a team-high five assists, and a career-best three blocked shots. Rebecca Woodberry added 10 point and led the team with nine rebounds.
"When we played fast the game came to us," said Craighead. "This is the speed we want to play at every night. When we slowed down they trapped us and made things more difficult. I told our team that (Sacramento State) would press constantly and if we pushed right back we would get numbers going the other way."
San José State, as a team, had season-highs with 92 shot attempts, 24 assists, 61 rebounds and 11 blocked shots. The team set as Event Center record making 39 field goals, eclipsing the previous mark of 38 against Southern Oregon on December 2.
The Hornets had four players in double figures led by Hallie Gennett and Fantasia Hilliard, each with 22 points. Hilliard also had 10 rebounds and with eight assists, was just two away from a triple-double.
San José State returns to action in nine days, on December 31, when it opens 2014-15 Mountain West Conference play hosting Utah State. Tip off in The Event Center is set for 7:00 p.m.
Sacramento State vs San Jose State
12/22/14 2:00 p.m. at San Jose, Calif. (The Event Center)
At San Jose, Calif. (The Event Center)
SAN JOSE STATE 102, SACRAMENTO STATE 94
SACRAMENTO STATE (2-9)
HILLIARD, Fantasia 9-28 3-4 22; GENNETT, Hallie 8-13 1-3 22; HARRIGAN,
Gretchen 7-14 6-8 20; RANDLE-EL, Adella 4-13 1-2 10; BURSE, Takara 3-13 2-2
9; HUNTINGTON, Margaret 3-10 1-2 7; CRENSHAW, Ashlyn 0-1 2-2 2; DOUGHTY,
Kyhonta 0-1 2-2 2; JOHNSON, Maranne 0-4 0-0 0; DANIELS, Sydonia 0-0 0-0 0;
DAWSON, Justyce 0-1 0-0 0; BURGOS, Brianna 0-2 0-0 0; CHENIER, Andrea 0-4
0-0 0. Totals 34-104 18-25 94.
SAN JOSE STATE (6-5)
Ali 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 39-92 16-24 102.
Sacramento State.............. 53 41 - 94
San Jose State................ 43 59 - 102
3-point goals--Sacramento State 8-39 (GENNETT, Hallie 5-9; RANDLE-EL, Adella
1-7; HILLIARD, Fantasia 1-9; BURSE, Takara 1-6; JOHNSON, Maranne 0-2;
BURGOS, Brianna 0-2; CHENIER, Andrea 0-2; HARRIGAN, Gretchen 0-2), San Jose
Cunnigan, Ta'Rea 0-1). Fouled out--Sacramento State-None, San Jose
State-None. Rebounds--Sacramento State 61 (HUNTINGTON, Margaret 18), San
Jose State 61 (Woodberry, Rebecca 9). Assists--Sacramento State 13
(HILLIARD, Fantasia 8), San Jose State 24 (Baker, Aniya 5). Total
fouls--Sacramento State 18, San Jose State 20. Technical fouls--Sacramento
State-None, San Jose State-None. A-553