LONG BEACH, Calif.-The University of Hawai'i women's basketball team (10-8, 4-2 Big West) fell at Long Beach State (11-9, 3-3 Big West), 74-72 at the Walter Pyramid on Thursday night. The 49ers held off the Rainbow Wahine to snap UH's four-game win streak. For the second straight game, Hawai'i had five players record double-digits in points, led by Sydney Haydel who scored a team-high 16. Destiny King notched her first career double-double with 13 points and 15 rebounds, while Ashleigh Karaitiana added 14 and Morgan Mason and Briana Harris both chipping in 10 apiece.
Haydel scored in double-figures for the fifth time this season. She was an efficient 5-of-8 in field goals while also shooting 5-of-8 from the free throw line. Haydel added two rebounds, three assists and a steal for the 'Bows.
King went 4-of-12 from the floor and 5-of-7 from the free throw line to tie her career-high with 13 points while pulling down a career- and game-high 15 rebounds. King also dished out three assists to bring her season team-high total to 48 helpers. She also logged a career-long 35 minutes of action.
Karaitiana shot 5-of-7 in field goals and drained a pair of treys as a reserve. Harris also came off the bench to make her first appearance after missing the last six games with an injury. Harris scored 10 points with a trey in 14 minutes of action before fouling out. Mason scored in double-digits for the fifth time this season. She added six rebounds and an assist before fouling out as well.
But missing for much of the game, were UH's top two scorers, Kamilah Jackson and Shawna-Lei Kuehu who average just shy of a combined 27 points and 15 rebounds a game. Jackson was shackled with two early fouls in the first half and had to sit just six minutes into the game. Jackson started the second half, but was hit with two quick fouls within the first two minutes to send her to the sidelines with four fouls. She re-entered the game with 2:34 left in the game, but soon was tagged with her fifth foul. It marked the first time since last season's game against Cal State Northridge (March 3, 2013) that Jackson has fouled out of a game. It also marked career-lows for Jackson as she managed to score just two points with one rebound in a career-low nine minutes played.
Kuehu was under the weather, but with multiple players mired in foul trouble, she entered with a little over eight minutes left in the game and UH down by five. But Kuehu sparked the 'Bows hitting a jumper and later getting a blocked shot, one rebound and an assist to help UH come back from being seven points down to eventually re-take the lead on a trey by Harris with 2:37 left in the game.
The lead changed hands three more times after Harris' bucket and was tied twice in the last three minutes. But with 49-seconds left, LBSU's Jade Wilson sank a pair of free throws that gave the 49ers the lead for good. Hawai'i tried to chip away, but Long Beach State held UH calmly made four free throws down the stretch. Hawai'i got the ball back with 10-seconds left on the clock, but Pua Kailiawa's 3-point shot attempt was off-line. On the play, Kuehu was fouled and with one second left, she made the first free throw and missed the second, but Long Beach State's Wilson secured the rebound and thus the win.
UH took a 35-34 lead into halftime after a tightly contested first 20 minutes of action which saw seven ties and seven lead changes. Hawai'i led by six, 18-12 with 11:06 left off a 7-to-0 run fueled by a layup and trey by Karaitiana and a jumper by King. But the 49ers would chip away to knot the game at 21-21 on a trey of they own by Hallie Meneses with 7:57 on the clock. Hawai'i would hold off Long Beach State for much of the rest of the half to take the lead into the break. Following halftime, the lead see-sawed back and forth with three lead changes and two ties before LBSU took the lead at the 15 minute mark, 45-43. LBSU then held the lead for the next 13 minutes before UH's final charge at the end of the game.
Hawai'i was tagged with 27 fouls in the game-tying the team's season high set twice this year at USC and against Cal Poly--all three games resulted in losses. The two teams tied on the glass with 40 rebounds apiece. Long Beach State won the battle in the paint, 34-to-26 but Hawai'i had the advantage over the 49ers 14-to-9 in points off of turnovers; 11-to-8 in second chance points; and UH's reserves outscored LBSU's bench 31-to-14.
Long Beach State was led by Wilson, who scored 24 points with 10 rebounds. Raven Benton added 17 points while Hallie Meneses had 12 points with a game-high six assists.
Hawai'i will stay on the road for its next three games starting on Saturday, February 1 at Cal State Northridge at 6:00 p.m. UH defeated the Matadors in their first game this year in Honolulu, 54-44 on Jan. 12.