HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A big second half comeback spearheaded the University of Hawaii women’s basketball team to its sixth consecutive win with a 70-66 victory over visiting CSUN Thursday night at the Stan Sheriff Center.
After trailing by 11 at the half, the Rainbow Wahine (14-10, 8-3) turned the tide in their favor behind the play of junior forward Amy Atwell, sophomore forward Myrrah Joseph, and freshman point guard Nae Nae Calhoun.
The Wahine used a 14-1 run to end the third quarter to bring UH within one at the start of the fourth quarter 50-49.
After an aggressive offensive attack in the paint featuring the connection between Calhoun and Joseph, UH turned to Atwell when it mattered most. With the game tied at 59-59, Atwell broke free to the left-wing draining a big three-point bucket to give UH its first lead of the game with 54 seconds left on the clock.
The two squads traded free throws in the final minute as the Matadors (9-14, 4-5) tried to slow down the game and make UH earn it from the free-throw line. UH matched CSUN nearly shot for shot at the line for the eventual final. The first half went the way of the Matadors as they jumped out to an early lead of 15-6 against the green and white, mostly due to the play of center De’Jionae Calloway as she accounted for 16 points in the opening 20 minutes.
UH battled back in the second quarter pulling within four at 26-22, but CSUN caught fire again for a 14-7 run over the last six minutes going into halftime. “We started ugly,” said head coach Laura Beeman.
“But what I love about this team is their will to win. They may be playing poorly at times, but they come into the huddle, ready to go, and they follow the game plan.”
Atwell finished the night with 17 points to lead the team, hitting 5-of-9 from the floor with all five shots coming from beyond the arc and went 2-of-3 from the free-throw line. Her performance from long distance marked the 11th time this season Atwell has accounted for three or more three-pointers in a game.
UH will now have its most extended break of the conference schedule with a nine-day layoff till a Feb. 22 matchup with conference leader UC Davis.
The return matchup between the 'Bows and the Aggies is setting up to be the game of the year in the Big West with both holding firmly at No. 1 and No. 2 in the conference standings.