The University of Hawaii women's basketball
team knocked off Washington State, 77-66 in their home opener on Friday night
to start the Bank of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine Classic. Senior Kamilah Jackson and
freshman Briana Harris both poured in 21 points to lead the 'Bows in front of a
crowd of 1,988 in the Stan Sheriff Center.
Jackson recorded her first double-double of the season and 44th of her standout career. She had a game-high 15 rebounds and shot 8-of-15 from the floor. She also chipped in with two assists and two steals. With her 15 rebounds, Jackson now has 982 career rebounds and needs just 18 to become just the second player in UH history to ever score over 1,000 points with 1,000 rebounds.
Harris, a true freshman, came off the bench and dazzled in her SSC debut. She was 6-of-13 with a pair of treys and was 7-of-10 from the free throw line. Harris sparked UH when she came into the game with her energy which was contagious. She scored 13 of her 21 in the second half alone. Harris and Destiny King also dished out a game high-five assists apiece.
Also scoring in double digits with strong games were King and Karaitiana. King scored a career-high 13 points with a career-high seven rebounds. She was an efficient 5-of-7 in field goals and a clutch 3-for-3 from the free throw line in the second half. Karaitiana was in early foul trouble, but scored 10 points with a pair of 3-pointers. She fouled out of the game, but she contributed three rebounds, an assist and a block in 26 minutes of action.
The Rainbow Wahine ended the game on a 8-0 run—the final six came on free throws with two made free throws each by Harris, Shawna-Lei Kuehu, and King to seal the win.
Hawai`i outrebounded the taller Cougars, 47-to-41 and held the outside shooting team to just 2-of-18 from beyond the three-point arch. UH outscored WSU, 32-to-28 in the paint and in bench scoring, 38-to-15. Washington State, however, had the advantage in points off of turnovers, 18-to-9. Hawai`i's defense stifled the Cougars, holding them to just 35.9% (23-for-64) field goal shooting and WSU managed just 54.5% shooting from the free throw line (18-of-33). Hawai`i on the flipside, shot 43.3% from the floor (26-of-60) and 72.4% (21-of-29) from the free throw line—81.3% (13-of-16) in the second half.
The 'Bows came out firing at the beginning of the game and led the entire first half. At one point, UH held a 13 point lead with 5:37 left which was fueled by an 11-0 run. But WSU ended the half on a 6-0 run of their own to cut their deficit to 32-26. Jackson led UH in the first half with 11 points and eight rebounds. Harris came off the bench to spark the 'Bows with eight points, two assists and a steal in the first 20 minutes of the game. For WSU, Lia Galdeira led all scorers with 14 points.
Washington State came out of the break on fire, hitting their first seven points to give them an overall 13-0 run spanning the two halves. WSU and UH traded leads six times with five ties in the second half. But UH battled back and did not back down. A Jackson layup with 11:19 left in the game gave UH its lead back and proved to be the turning point from which UH never looked back.
Washington State's Lia Galdeira had a strong showing in her homecoming. The Big Island native led all scorers with 29 points (11-of-25) with nine rebounds and a steal.
Hawai`i has a quick turnaround and will play Ole Miss on Saturday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. In the tourney's opening game, West Virginia defeated Ole Miss, 86-56.
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