The Vikings opened their four-game home stand with an 80-72 win over Sacramento State last night at the Stott Center. Dominating individual performances by sophomore guard Kelsey Kahle and freshman guard Claire Faucher keyed the victory for the Vikings. Kahle led all players with an incredible 41-points, good enough for the individual season high this year in the Big Sky.
The Vikings opened their four-game home stand with an 80-72 win over Sacramento State last night at the Stott Center.
Dominating individual performances by sophomore guard Kelsey Kahle and freshman guard Claire Faucher keyed the victory for the Vikings. Kahle led all players with an incredible 41-points, good enough for the individual season high this year in the Big Sky. She also surpassed C.J. Sealey’s 38-point effort against Utah in 1983 to become the second all-time leader for points in a single game. Kahle fell just one point short of tying the number one spot.
“It feels good because we won the game. It wouldn’t have meant anything if we lost the game,” said Kahle. “They were quiet points and it came from great passes from Claire.”
Kahle’s career night will likely make her the front-runner to capture Big Sky Player of the Week honors for the third time this season. Her huge performance was not without help though, as Faucher totaled an impressive16 assists leading Kahle to the hoop.
Faucher finished with nine points and nine rebounds to fall short of a triple-double. Her career high of 16 assists was the most of any conference player so far this season. Like Kahle, she also made PSU basketball history, tying Angela Hewlett’s 1992 mark for second place on the all-time Viking list for assists in a game.
“It’s easy when you have Kelsey Kahle on your team, because she makes everything,” said Faucher. “It was huge to get that win.”
At the heart of the win was an excellent night of shooting by the Vikings. Hitting 52.5 percent from the field, Portland State has now bettered 40 percent in four straight games. This is a sharp contrast to a cold streak of shooting the team experienced in early January, when they failed to crack 35 percent in three straight contests.
“I really feel like we’re starting to turn the corner a little bit and maybe, hopefully we are peaking at the right time,” said Portland State head coach Charity Elliott. “I know Kelsey had an unbelievable night with 41 points, but honestly it was more than just Kelsey tonight, it was everybody doing their part.”
Sacramento State managed to stay close early, but the Vikings began to pull away near the end of the first half, taking a seven-point lead into the break. From there, Portland State would never relinquish the lead. In the closing minutes, the focus shifted to Kahle’s attempt to make history, with the game no longer in doubt.
“We did what we were supposed to do tonight, and that’s win this game. We’ve got to come back Saturday, and we have a tough one,” said Elliott.
Portland State resumes play on Saturday, hosting Idaho State in a 2 p.m. matinee at the Stott Center.