Vikings swat Hornets in Big Sky Conference opener

The Vikings (6-9, 1-1) collected their first conference win of the season last Thursday night in Sacramento, Calif., defeating the Sacramento State Hornets (2-13, 0-2), 77-51.

The Hornets took the advantage only once in the game, enjoying a meager 5-3 lead in the opening minutes. The Vikings answered with a six-minute, 23-3 run and took the lead at 26-8. Sacramento State would not give up that easily, mustering up a 15-2 run that cut the Viking lead to only five points at the end of the first half.

The Vikings continued to dominate in the second half, going on a 22-9 run that would put them up by 18 points at 58-40. Sacramento State was never able to overcome that substantial deficit and was completely shut out in the final 5:23 of the game.

The Viking charge was led by Sarah Hedgepeth, who had a career-high 31 points in the game, as well as a game high 12 rebounds and four steals.

“Sarah played well and had quite a stat line for the last two games,” head coach George Wolfe said in a recent press release.

Guards Nikki Petticrew and Heidi Stuart also turned in solid performances for Portland State, with 14 and 11 points respectively. Stuart had a career-high nine assists. Niki Sadowski added 10 points on 5-for-7 shooting.

Though it wasn’t enough to win the game, the Hornets boasted three players with double-digit point totals. Guard Sydney Gatson had 12 points and eight rebounds, while Nichole Hardaway and freshman guard Sarah Craig had 10 points each. As a team, the Hornets shot just 33.3 percent from the field to go along with 33 rebounds. In comparison, PSU shot 46.5 percent from the field and grabbed 47 boards.

PSU no doubt felt pressure to defeat the struggling Hornet team, which has won only two of 13 games so far this season. The Hornets suffered another Big Sky Conference loss to Eastern Washington this past Saturday.

Sacramento State was only recently able to snap a 44-game losing streak when it pulled out a victory against PSU in January, 2001. The Hornets have not managed to defeat a fellow Big Sky Conference team since. The Vikings have been able to dominate them in every contest since that time, including a 71-43 win at the end of last season.

The win broke a seven game losing streak on the road and started the team off on the right track heading into future conference play.