Rainbow Wahine opens conference play with loss at Cal Poly
UH is 8-6 this season
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif.-The University of Hawai'i women's basketball team fell in a hard fought game to Cal Poly, 70-65 on Thursday night's Big West opener. Briana Harris came off the bench to lead UH sinking a career-high five 3-pointers for a team-high 15 points while Destiny King and Morgan Mason had 11 and 10 points respectively. Ashleigh Karaitiana led Hawai'i on the glass with a game-high nine rebounds at the Mott Athletics Center in San Luis Obispo, Calif. Hawai'i fell to 8-6 overall and 0-1 in the Big West. Cal Poly improved to 6-7 overall and 1-0 in conference.
All of Harris' field-goals made and attempted came from behind the 3-point arch. She went 5-for-9 with three rebounds and an assist. King was 3-for-13 from the floor and 5-of-6 from the free throw line. She contributed with seven rebounds and two assists. Mason was 3-for-9 with a pair of treys and two free throws. She pulled down two rebounds and had UH's only steal of the game. Karaitiana finished a bucket and board short of a double-double with nine points and nine boards.
Hawai'i out-rebounded the Mustangs, 47-to-39 and UH's reserves outscored Cal Poly's, 26-to-22. But, Cal Poly dominated in the paint, 36-to-16 and committed just seven turnovers to UH's 14.
In the first half, the 'Bows fell behind by five points early, 13-8 with 13:58 left in the half. Harris then made three straight 3-pointers while trading baskets with Cal Poly to knot the game at 17-17. The rest of the first half would remain tight with four more ties and two lead changes down the final 10 minutes. The two teams went into halftime tied at 29-29.
In the second half, after a quick CP layup by Taryn Garza, Mason answered to give UH the lead back on a 3-pointer. Connie Morris then hit a baby-hook shot in the lane and King later hit one of two free throws to give UH a four point lead early on. Hawai'i would hold the lead for the first five minutes, but with 15:59 left, UH committed five fouls in 1:13 which led to an 8-to-2 run by Cal Poly which gave them a five point lead with 12:51 left in the game. Hawai'i, however, would come back fighting to retake the lead on an 8-to-2 run of their own on a free throw by Megan Huff; jumpers by King and Marissa Wimbley and a 3-pointer by Harris gave UH a 51-50 lead with 10:35 left on the clock. The Rainbow Wahine would tie the game once more on a 3-pointer by Karaitiana at the 8:07 mark, but that would be as close as UH could get as the Mustangs held off Hawai'i down the stretch to finish with the five point victory.
Hawai'i's Shawna-Lei Kuehu and Sarah Toeaina did not play in the game due to injury. For Kuehu, it snapped a string of 77 straight appearances and 25 starts for the sixth year senior. Kuehu entered the game leading UH in both points (13.5) and rebounds (7.4) with a team-high 19 blocked shots. After starting the last two games in which she scored 10 and 11 points respectively, Toeaina, missed her first game of the season.
Cal Poly also had three players in double figures, led by Ariana Elegado's 19. Hannah Gilbert scored 18 points and Dynn Leaupepe added 13.
The Rainbow Wahine will remain on the road for another tough test against defending Big West champions, CSUN in Northridge, Calif. on Saturday, January 10 at 5:00 p.m.