The University of Hawai'i women's basketball team came roaring back after trailing by 18 points in the first half to defeat Pacific by 11, winning 81-70 on Sunday afternoon at the Alex G. Spanos Center in Stockton, Calif. Hawai'i had four players score in double-figures, led by Ashleigh Karaitiana who poured in 15 points. Kamilah Jackson added 13, Destiny King scored 12 and Mogan Mason tallied 10 points off the bench. Syndey Haydel dished out a career-high seven assists while King also had a career-high five steals and a team-high seven rebounds in the game.
The 18 point turnaround marked the biggest comeback win for the Rainbow Wahine since the 'Bows came back from 21 points down against Utah State on Senior Night in Honolulu to down the Aggies, 72-71 on March 3, 2011. It also marked the most points UH has scored this year at 81. The 'Bows bounced back from their 76-64 Friday night loss at Oregon State with the win at Pacific.
Karaitiana led UH and scored in double-digits for the fourth time in the last five games. She was 6-of-10 from the floor with a trey and two made free throws. She also had three rebounds, three steals and a blocked shot.
Jackson, who was shackled with four fouls with 10 minutes left in the game, saw her streak of seven straight double-doubles come to an end. She scored 13 points with six rebounds, but Hawai'i was still able to win the battle on the glass by 10, 37-to-27.
Mason was an efficient 3-of-4 in field goals and 4-of-4 from the charity stripe for 10 points. She added six rebounds with two assists and a block off the bench. Fellow reserve, Pua Kailiawa scored a season-high seven points and sank her first trey of the season that aided in UH's rally. The 'Bows' bench accounted for 29 of UH's 81 points.
In the first half, the 'Bows looked out of synch at the beginning, making just one of their first eight field goal attempts. On the other side, Pacific came out of the gates hot, scoring the first nine points of the game for the quick lead. The 'Bows struggled shooting early, but started picking things up in the last 10 minutes of the half. Karaitiana hit back-to-back layups to bring UH within nine points at the 11:35 mark, but Pacific then went on a 13-to-4 run to give the Tigers their biggest lead of the game of 18 with the score 32-14. Hawai'i however, would start battling back, mounting a 15-0 run of their own, led by the UH reserves, with Diane Moore , Morgan Mason, and (starter) King hitting two baskets apiece and Briana Harris draining a trey to bring UH within three points, 29-32. The 'Bows defense shut down the Tigers, holding them without a field goal for over six minutes. A free throw by Pacific's Shanice Butler snapped UH's run, but Kailiawa hit a trey to cut UH's deficit to just one point, 33-32 with 38-seconds left in the first half. Pacific threw the ball away with 5-seconds left, and UH got the ball back looking to take the lead. But the Tigers' Kiki Moore stole the ball and banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Pacific a 36-32 lead into the half.
The second half started with Jackson scoring on an old-fashioned 3-point play, but the Tigers jumped out to a 10-point lead aided by an 8-to-0 run to go up, 44-34 with 17:03 left in the game. Hawai'i, however, responded by going on an 8-to-0 run of its own to trail by just a deuce with 13:35 left. Kiki Moore's layup gave the Tigers a 46-42 lead, but Jackson then recorded her second, old-fashioned 3-point play of the half to trail by one, 45-46 with 12:19 on the clock. King then stole the ball and Harris drilled a long jumper to lift UH to its first lead of the game, 49-48. Both teams then traded a few free throws and baskets, but the 'Bows broke away on a 10-to-2 run fueled by two baskets each by Karaitiana and Shawna Lei-Kuehu and a baby hook by Kailiawa with 6:20 left gave Hawai'i a nine point lead, 63-54. Hawai'i eventually pulled away hitting clutch baskets to keep Pacific at bay. UH led by as many as 13 points with less than two minutes left.
The 'Bows shot 44% in the first half and upped it to 62% in the second half, shooting 16-for-26 in the last 20 minutes. For the game, UH shot 52% overall. The 'Bows outscored Pacific in the paint 46-to-36; in second chance points 13-to-9; off fast breaks 12-to-8 and in bench scoring, 29-to-19.
Pacific also had four players in double-figures. Moore had a game-high 20 while Kendall Kenyon secured a game-high 10 rebounds. Pacific, last season's Big West regular season champions, fell to 4-4 on the season. It was Pacific's first home loss of the season. The Tigers are now members of the West Coast Conference.
Hawai'i returns home on Sunday night and will leave later in the week for games at USC on Dec. 21 and Grand Canyon on Dec. 23.
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