UHH Women Rally But Fall to Hawai`i Pacific
The University of Hawai`i at Hilo women’s basketball team fell into another one of their deep shooting slumps and nearly pulled itself out of that big mess.
In the end, the Vulcans fell to rival Hawai`i Pacific University 62-61 to drop its third consecutive contest.
UH Hilo (11-10, 8-7 PacWest) trailed by as much as 21 points with 8:39 remaining in the game, and seemed to be well on its way to a similar result as the 88-54 loss in Honolulu at the hands of the Sea Warriors.
The Vulcans got hot, however, and outscored Hawai`i Pacific 32-12 in the game’s final eight minutes and change to get within one point with nine seconds left, thanks to a Jameia McDuffie floating field goal in the paint. HPU went to the free throw line with several ticks left on the clock, looking to extend the lead from the free throw line, but a lane violation by Susannah Walmsey gave the Vulcans the ball out of bounds with the clock frozen.
The Vulcans quickly got the ball in bounds and into the left corner, where McDuffie was standing to attempt a winning three point shot. The ball clanked off the back of the rim and fell off the front iron, continuing the Vulcans’ losing streak.
UH Hilo head coach David Kaneshiro said that a quicker pace helped in getting his team back into the game. “Offensively we just, for whatever reason, had a little better flow, made some shots…but it started on the defensive end.”
Hawai`i Pacific (15-6, 11-4 PWC) took control when Mikaela Thoemmes hit a jumper to give her team a 14-10 lead with 13:31 remaining in the first half. The shot started a 13-0 run that spanned over five minutes of game time. UHH broke the streak with a Jazlyn Afusia field goal, but HPU responded with another 7-0 run to take a 30-12 lead with 6:03 left in the half.
Thoemmes’ size was a gigantic problem for her opponents. Coming off the bench early in the game, Thoemmes scored 16 points and grabbed 20 rebounds, helping her Sea Warriors out-rebound UHH by a 55-28 tally.
Kirsty Imai was a key player in the Vulcans’ late rally. She scored 17 points, 11 in the second half, including three second half treys. She shot 5-of-11 from the field and 4-for-8 from beyond the arc. McDuffie added 17 points, despite shooting 6-for-17 from the field, and Kamie Imai picked up another double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in 33 minutes.
Skye Savini supplemented Thoemmes’ performance with a 16 point afternoon of her own, adding nine rebounds and shooting 2-for-4 from beyond the arc to lead the Sea Warriors to their second consecutive win.
The Vulcans currently hold the fifth seed in the PacWest Conference Tournament, held March 7-9 at the campus of Azusa Pacific. The Vulcans will host APU on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. The game can be heard on ESPN Radio and ESPNHawaii.com.
Hawai`i Pacific 36 26 – 62
Hawai`i Hilo 22 39 – 61