Rainbow Wahine hoops team stays undefeated on opening road trip
UH is 2-0 this season
DENVER, Colo.-The University of Hawai'i women's basketball team (2-0, 0-0 BWC) rallied late then held off Denver (0-1. 0-0 Summit League) for a 60-58 win over the Pioneers. Senior guard Morgan Mason came through in the clutch down the stretch in a big way for the 'Bows, scoring UH's final 12 points of the game. Mason finished with a career-high 23 points to lead Hawai'i over Denver at Magness Arena on Sunday afternoon.
It is the first time in UH women's basketball history that they've started the season 2-0 on the road and it's the first time the 'Bows have gotten off to a 2-0 start since the 2002-03 season under Vince Goo.
It was a career-game for Mason, not only in total points. She also set new career marks with three 3-point field goals made and eight free throws made. She also dished out a team-high four assists, had one steal while committing just two turnovers in 32 minutes of action. Mason was also tied for the team-high with seven rebounds-including a key offensive board to hold possession late in the game. Mason pulled down a career-high 10 rebounds at Colorado State on Friday night.
The Rainbow Wahine led through the first 34 minutes of the game, but Denver kept things close never trailing more than 11 points just once. Hawai'i took a 27-18 lead into halftime and maintained their lead until the Pioneers went on a 10-to-2 run to overtake UH, 49-48 with 5:35 left in the game. That's when Mason's composure held the 'Bows together and she started her scoring streak. Down by three, 48-51, Ashleigh Karaitiana came up with a steal and got the assist on a Mason layup to cut their deficit to one point. After Denver's Jordan Johnston made 1-of-2 free throws, Mason made two free throws to tie the game at 52-52 with 3:32 left. Later, with the 'Bows trailing 52-54, Karaitiana blocked a layup by Denver's Alecia Espinoza. Destiny King secured the rebound and Mason tied the score again at 54-54. On Hawai'I's next possession, Mason drilled a 3-pointer to give UH a 57-54 lead that they would hold on to for the rest of the game. She three more free throws on two trips to the charity stripe with less than 25-seconds left for the win.
Karaitiana had her second double-digit point performance in as many games, scoring 12 on 4-of-12 shooting from the floor-including a pair of treys. Junior center Connie Morris was tied with Mason with a team-high seven rebounds-including five offensive boards.
Hawai'i out-rebounded Denver, 46-to-38 and outscored the Pioneers in the paint 24-to-8. The 'Bows also outscored Denver 17-to-12 in points off of turnovers and 14-to-6 in second chance points, but DU's bench edged UH in bench scoring 14-to-12. Hawai'i's defense held the Pioneers to just a 29.6 field goal percentage and were just 0-for-2 from the free throw line. But in the second half, Denver shot 45% from the floor (9-of-20) and were much more aggressive with UH racking up fouls allowing Denver to go 18-of-21 from the free throw line. Hawai'i improved in turnovers, committing just 15 compared to 24 on their opening night.
Denver's Paige Bradley led three Pioneers in double-digit scoring with a game-high 18 points. Johnston followed with 11 points while Jacqlyn Poss scored 10 off the bench. Jordyn Alt also came off the bench to grab a game-high 10 rebounds for Denver.
The 'Bows return home to host the Bank of Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine Classic. Coming to Honolulu are No. 14/15 California, UNLV and Missouri. Hawai'i opens against the Golden Bears on Friday, Nov. 21 at 7:00 p.m. Saturday is an off day and then UH will face UNLV on Sunday, Nov. 23 at 7:00 p.m.