HONOLULU – Despite a valiant comeback effort, the Hawai'i women's basketball team dropped its fourth straight game on Saturday, falling 67-52 to UC Santa Barbara in the Stan Sheriff Center.
The Rainbow Wahine (8-15, 4-7 Big West) trailed by 15 points early in the third before holding the Gauchos (12-12, 7-4 Big West) without a field goal for nearly eight minutes. Hawai'i's 14-3 run trimmed the deficit to 41-37 with less than two minutes to play in the quarter.
UCSB responded with a three-point play and a 3-pointer as part of a 10-2 run of its own in the final 94 seconds of the third to re-build a double-digit advantage heading into the fourth. After extending the run to 15-2 by scoring the first five points of the fourth quarter, the Gauchos maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way to earn the season-sweep over Hawai'i.
The Rainbow Wahine held a 30-28 rebounding advantage and shot 40 percent (20-of-50) in the game, but UCSB shot 49 percent (24-of-49) and converted 14 Hawai'i turnovers into 19 points. Hawai'i hit just half of its 18 free throw attempts, while the Gauchos went 15-of-24 at the line.
Hawai'i junior Sarah Toeaina finished with 19 points on 8-of-15 shooting and freshman Julissa Tago finished with five points, nine rebounds, three assists and a steal. Lahni Salanoa had eight points and five rebounds, and Keleah-Aiko Koloi made all three of her shots to finish with six points.
UCSB's Drew Edelman led all scorers with 22 points by hitting 8-of-12 from the floor and 6-of-8 from the free throw line. Drea Toler added 12 points and Onome Jemerigbe finished with 10 for the Gauchos.
Hawai'i started strong offensively, shooting 50 percent in the first quarter, but the Gauchos scored the final five points of the first to take a 20-12 lead into the second. Leah Salanoa hit a 3-pointer with 7:51 left in the second that cut the deficit to 25-17, but the Rainbow Wahine didn't convert another field goal until the third quarter as the Gauchos built their 36-21 halftime lead.
Hawai'i continues its four-game home-stand next week, hosting league-leading UC Davis on Feb. 16 and CSUN on Feb. 18.
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