(Hawaii Athletics) - The University of Hawai'i women's basketball squad fell to 0-3 in Big West play on Thursday, coming up just short in a second half comeback against visiting UC Irvine on a hot-shooting night at the Stan Sheriff Center, 74-67.
Junior guard Lahni Salanoa ignited the Rainbow Wahine (7-9, 0-3 Big West) with a trio of three-point hits in the fourth quarter, pulling UH to its biggest lead since the game's opening stanza. But as the Anteaters (9-7, 1-1 Big West) scrapped their way back even with time running down, struggles at the free throw line held the Rainbow Wahine back, hitting just 2-of-8 in the final quarter. After shooting a clean 50 percent from the field the entire night, UH shot 31 percent in the fourth as UC Irvine slipped back in front and escaped with the 74-67 win.
The Rainbow Wahine started the game hot, paced by sophomore Makenna Woodfolk, who knocked down the first seven points for UH. The 'Bows held the early lead, but both Woodfolk and sophomore point guard Tia Kanoa picked up two quick fouls apiece and spent the remaining 16 minutes of the first half out of action. UC Irvine employed a physical full-court press that produced 14 first-half UH turnovers, but the margin remained tight as UH trailed by only five at the half.
The Anteaters worked out of a zone all night, and UH responded in kind with long-range shots, letting 31 three-pointers fly to match a program record dating back to 2004. The Rainbow Wahine connected on 11 from behind the arc.
After falling behind in the first, UH trimmed the deficit to a single possession 17 times in a game that also the score tied eight times, but couldn't get over the hump and separate. Hawai'i finished the night shooting 44.2 percent from the field and 35.5 percent from three, but also 43.5 percent from the line.
Salanoa led four UH scorers in double figures with 15 points and seven rebounds, tying her career high with four three-pointers. Woodfolk finished the night with 12 and a team-high eight rebounds, while Sarah Toeaina and Julissa Tago scored 12 and 10, respectively.
The Rainbow Wahine return to action on Saturday on the front end of a home Big West doubleheader with the men's team, facing Long Beach State with a 5:30 p.m. HT tipoff. LBSU (2-15, 0-3 Big West) dropped a 67-61 conference tilt at Cal State Fullerton on Thursday.