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Sports Gaming Monitor

WBB-FCS: Sacramento State Hornets (15-6) at Idaho Vandals (9-13)

The Sacramento State women’s basketball team looks to wrap up its longest stretch of road games this season with a victory on Saturday (Feb. 4), heading to Moscow, Idaho, looking to sweep the regular season series from the University of Idaho. Tip off is scheduled for 2 p.m. 

IN THE RANKINGS: After two weeks ranked among the top 25 in the College Insider mid-Major poll, Sacramento State slipped back into the ranks of those receiving votes for the third consecutive week (https://collegeinsider.com/womens-mid-major-top-25), picking up 16 votes… The Hornets made their debut in the top 25 back on Jan. 3 at No. 24, then jumped two spots to No. 22 in the Jan. 10 ranking… Those two rankings followed five consecutive weeks among those receiving votes beginning on Dec. 1… The No. 22 ranking on Jan. 10 was the highest for the program in the poll since they stood No. 22 on Feb. 11, 2014 — a season that saw them among the top 25 for eight consecutive weeks following an 8-1 start that year, reaching as high as No. 13 in early January.

NATABOU MAKES MID-MAJOR AWARD MIDSEASON CUT: Initially named as one of 25 players to the preseason watch list for the 2023 Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year Award presented by Her Hoop Stats back on Oct. 19, junior center Isnelle Natabou got word that she has made the midseason top-15 cut on Jan. 18. The first Big Sky Conference student-athlete ever to be named to the list for this particular award, Natabou is one of only four from the West Coast named to the list along with Gonzaga’s duo of Brynna Maxwell and Yvonne Ejim as well as Portland’s Alex Fowler. Read the complete release on HornetSports.com.

NATABOU NAMED TO BIG SKY’S PRESEASON TEAM: In addition to her national honor, Natabou was also named to the seven-member preseason all-conference team, joining Montana State’s Darian White (who was selected the MVP), Idaho’s Beyonce Bea, Montana’s Carmen Gfeller, Northern Colorado’s Hannah Simental, Montana State’s Kola Bad Bear, and Weber State’s Daryn Hickock. The native of the Czech Republic became only the third Hornet to earn preseason all-league honors in the process, joining former standouts Kennedy Nicholas (2019-20) and Brianna Burgos (2016-17).

BUT WAIT… THERE’S MORE!: The accolades continued to roll in for Natabou, who was also named the Big Sky’s Preseason Player of the Year according to ESPN.com, which made its picks for all 32 Division I conferences on Oct. 25.

ABOUT THE VANDALS: Idaho enters Saturday’s game having won three straight contests after dropping six consecutive games that began with a loss to Sacramento State back on Jan. 5… The Vandals are 9-13 overall and 5-6 in league play following a 77-70 win over Portland State on Thursday… This marks only the seventh home game of the year for Idaho, which is 4-2 at ICCU Arena… Senior Beyonce Bea leads the team in scoring (21.6 ppg), rebounding (8.5 rpg), and field goal percentage (.470), while shooting 82 percent from the line (132-for-162)… Junior guard Sydney Gandy is the only other Vandal in double figures (10.7 ppg), while freshman Rosa Smith, who torched the Hornets for a career-high 30 points in the first meeting between the two teams, averages 8.9 ppg and leads Idaho with 59 assists.

SERIES NOTES: Idaho leads the all-time series with Sacramento State by a 16-6 count, but the Hornets have won two of the last three meetings following a 71-56 win at The Nest earlier this year… Sacramento State has swept the regular season series from the Vandals only once in the history of the series, taking both meetings in the 2014-15 season… The Hornets are just 1-10 all time in Moscow, Idaho, last winning on the road against the Vandals on Jan. 15, 2015 by the score of 107-89… Since then, Sacramento State has lost its last seven trips to Idaho’s home floor… The 15-point win earlier this year is tied for the second-highest in the history of the series by Sacramento State, matching the 79-64 win over the Vandals in the first meeting in 2018 and trailing only the 18-point win in the first meeting in 2015.

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