Women’s basketball to take on Sacramento State

The road has not been kind to the Portland State women’s basketball team, but they hope to put their troubles behind them when they head to Sacramento State on Saturday.

The road has not been kind to the Portland State women’s basketball team, but they hope to put their troubles behind them when they head to Sacramento State on Saturday.

The Vikings (9-9, 2-3 Big Sky) lost both conference games on the road and are just 2-8 on the road.

The Viks did end last weekend’s pair of road matches on a win after they beat Northern Arizona last Saturday night. The Vikings also played Dam Cup rival Eastern Washington at home last night, the results of which were not ready as of press time.

Portland State needs to copy its NAU performance this weekend. The Viks beat the Lumberjacks by 10, 56-48. The team also out-rebounded its opponent, 52 to NAU’s 46, which is an area where the team is continually trying to improve, said head coach Sherri Murrell.

As injuries have led to player absences on the Vikings roster, new faces have been heating up the court. Junior guard Eryn Jones has been proving to be a leader in her point guard position. Jones made 36 points over the weekend.

“The numbers speak for themselves,” Murrell said of Jones’ performance. “But beyond that, at NAU she really truly became the point guard and she directed traffic. We were short-handed and she did a great job leading and getting her teammates to play and play well.”

Along with Jones is sophomore guard Courtney VanBrocklin, who posted 19 points last week against Weber State. A first-year player for PSU, after redshirting last season, VanBrocklin has lit up the court both with her points and defense.

“She’s a phenomenal athlete and gives us so much on the defensive end,” Murrel said. “She’s just a spark plug. There’s never a game where she’s not giving her 100 percent, all-out effort.”

In addition to Jones and VanBrocklin, four other Vikings have stepped up and moved into the spotlight to fill in for key players that are not in full playing capability. Murrell said that junior guard Stephanie Egwuatu had one of the best performances of her career last weekend.

“I was very pleased with Stephanie Egwautu,” Murrell said. “She played more minutes than she has in her three years here. And with Kelli Valentine coming out and Shauneice Samms being out, I thought Stephanie Egwautu did a great job of stepping up and filling those spots.”

Besides Egwautu, senior center Courtney Cremer also came out to the court. With an impressive three blocks on Saturday night, the senior has really stepped up on the defensive side, said Murrell. The fourth of the typically less highlighted players to light up is the up-and-coming freshman guard Allie Brock. Murrell said Brock’s performance is still inconsistent, mainly due to her age, but that she is someone who can come in and play extraordinarily well and is an emerging presence on the team.

These four, along with the entire Viking roster, will need to focus on not letting the road get the best of them as they head south to face the Sac State Hornets.

Sac State has had a rough season so far. The Hornets (3-16, 0-6 Big Sky) are currently in last place in the Big Sky Conference standings, and are waiting for their first conference victory of the season.

The Hornets are playing without one of last season’s stars, forward Emily Christenson, who has been off the court since the pre-game matchup on Nov. 12. Now, forward Kylie Kuhns is leading the Hornets. The sophomore forward, along with senior guard Tika Koshiyama-Diaz, are the only two Sac State players to start all 19 games.

Kuhns dominates in points for the Hornets with a 15.6 average. Koshiyama-Diaz chips in an average of 7.3 points, but it is her assists that are most notable. The guard boasts 107 assists so far this season—she alone makes up for almost a third of the team’s 320 assists.

The Hornets are coming off of a loss to Eastern Washington, 98-70. Despite the painful loss on the road, Kuhns still dominated on shots, going for a team high of 23 points. She also controlled the charity stripe going 13 of 17.

Last season, Portland State and Sac State split the series with PSU dominating game No. 1, 95-86. The second time around, however, the Hornets stunned the Stott Center and beat the home team by five, 83-78. The win ended a Viking three-game winning streak.

This time around the action begins in Sacramento at 1:05 p.m. on Saturday. The game can be followed through Big Sky TV; the link is found on www.goviks.com. ?