UHH Women’s Hoops Ice Cold Late in OT Loss
The University of Hawai’i at Hilo women’s basketball team has been unable to avoid shooting slumps that seem to pop up every game.
Unfortunately for the Vulcans on Saturday afternoon, their slump came at the end of a overtime loss to BYU-Hawai’i, 65-59, to fall for the third consecutive time in PacWest conference play.
Whitney Edens’ jumper put UH-Hilo ahead 58-56 with 2:13 left to play. That would be the last field goal the Vulcans made for the rest of the game. The home team shot 0-for-5 from the floor for the rest of the game and turned the ball over three times. The only point scored since the field goal was an overtime free throw by McKenzie Mangino.
“We sorta got stagnant offensively after a pretty good start,” said head coach David Kaneshiro after the game.
UH-Hilo (2-6 overall, 1-3 PacWest) trailed by five, 35-30, at halftime and shot just 9-for-29 (31 percent) in the first half. The Vulcans shot better for most of the second half, shooting 44.7 percent.
“Tough loss. The difficult part of this one was I think, and give BYU a lot of credit, but I think we had a lot of self-inflicted wounds, so to speak, on both ends,” said Kaneshiro. “I didn’t think we were good defensively in the first half, in terms of our energy and effort.”
BYU-Hawai’i (4-4, 1-1) took control of the game midway through the first half with a 9-0 run over two minutes to take a 25-17 lead with 8:33 remaining in the first half. Megan Goodman started the run with a three, and junior transfer Celeste Claw finished it off with the last six points, including a trey of her own.
Claw scored a game-high 21 points, went 3-for-3 from beyond the arc, and grabbed eight rebounds in 41 minutes to lead the Seasiders. About five minutes later, forward Makana Borden hit her first trey of the season to give BYUH its biggest lead of the game, a nine-point advantage at 32-23 with 3:47 remaining in the opening half.
UH-Hilo would get the lead back, thanks to a three-pointer from Kirstie Williams with 16:28 to play, getting the Vulcans ahead 40-38. Williams seemed to have woken up from a long shooting slump. She drained four three point shots en route to a team high 17 points in 38 minutes. She shot 6-for-12 from the field.
Both teams continued to trade the lead throughout the rest of regulation. Claw drained another three at the midway point of the second half to put the Seasiders ahead 47-46. UH-Hilo’s Jordan Kealoha responded over two minutes later with a bucket of her own to get the Vulcans back on top at 48-47.
BYU-Hawaii tied the game three times toward the end of regulation. Whitney Fieldsted evened the game at 58 with just under 90 seconds left to play in the game. The 5-foot-11 senior opened the scoring in the extra period with 3:18 remaining, and her team never looked back.
All-PacWest selection Brydgette Tatupu-Leopoldo scored 16 points and drained three three-point shots in 35 minutes. The Seasiders hit nine treys in the game, and outrebounded UH-Hilo 54-43 for the game.
Williams was the only Vulcan to reach double digits in scoring. McKenzie Mangino added nine points and six rebounds. Hayley Reynolds, a week after reaching a career-high in scoring against HPU, was limited to just six points before fouling out of the game.
“I told the group that i don’t think we’re that far away,” Kaneshiro said. “We just need to clean up a few things when we come back from the break. The break’s probably coming at a good time for us so we can clear our heads and come back refreshed, energized, and ready to go.”
UH-Hilo’s next game is against Dixie State on Jan. 3 at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m.
BYU-Hawai’i 35 23 7 – 65
Hawai’i-Hilo – 30 28 1 – 59