(HAWAII ATHLETICS) The University of Hawai'i women's basketball team's comeback bid fell short as UC Irvine held off the 'Bows on the road, 70-66. Hawai'i (8-11, 1-5 Big West) outscored the Anteaters 23-10 in the fourth quarter, but it was not enough to overcome a 17-point deficit from the third quarter. Senior Sarah Toeaina led a trio of 'Bows in double-figures, scoring a team-high 19 points.
Toeaina was just 3-of-11 from the floor, but hit a near-perfect, career-high 13-for-14 from the free throw line. She also added nine rebounds, two steals, and an assist to fill her stat line. Toeaina is now just 10 points away from becoming the 21stRainbow Wahine to score 1,000 career points. The last UH player to accomplish the feat was Ashleigh Karaitiana, who finished her stellar career with 1,167 points.
Rookie Amy Atwell came off the bench and played a strong game, finishing one point shy of her career-high of 17. She posted 16 points on 6-of-8 field-goal shooting with a trey while going 2-for-2 from the charity stripe. Atwell also recorded seven rebounds (two offensive).
Sophomore Makenna Woodfolk posted her fourth double-double of the season, pouring in 10 points while pulling down a game-high 10 rebounds (four offensive) before fouling out with almost eight minutes left in the game.
After one quarter of play, the 'Bows led, 19-17, but the Anteaters battled back to take a 32-29 lead into halftime. At the break, it was Woodfolk who led UH with seven points and four rebounds. Atwell made an immediate impact upon entering the game recording six points and five rebounds, while Toeaina also notched six points and five boards in the first 20 minutes of action.
The Anteaters came out on fire in the second half, starting the third quarter scoring 11-straight points. UC Irvine extended their lead to 17 points, which is how the third quarter ended. In the third period, UCI outscored Hawai'i, 28-to-14 to take a 60-43 lead into the final period. Irvine was led by Morgan Green, who scored 10 of her game-high 27 total points in the third.
Hawai'i, however went on a furious comeback in the fourth. The 'Bows were trailing by as much as 16 points with 6:17 left in the game before fighting their way back. Tia Kanoa's jumper and a three-pointer by Leah Salanoa sparked UH's offense which out-scored the Anteaters 23-to-10 in the fourth quarter alone. Toeaina led UH with eight of her 19 points in the fourth as she tried to lead UH back to a victory. Hawai'i's defense forced 10 UCI turnovers in the fourth quarter which aided the 'Bows finishing the game on a 16-to-4 run.
Hawai'i shot a season-best 25-for-27 from the free-throw line for a 92.6 FT%. For the game the 'Bows shot 34.5% in field goals while UC Irvine shot 43.1%. The Anteaters had a 30-to-22 advantage scoring in the paint, and a 10-to-7 advantage in second chance points. But UH's reserves out-scored the UCI bench, 24-to-11.
The Rainbow Wahine return home next week to host a pair of conference contests. On Thursday, Jan. 25, UH will battle the Matadors of CSUN on Law Enforcement Appreciation Night which is also a Free Youth Game. On Saturday, Jan. 27, the 'Bows will host the UC Riverside Highlanders on a Green Out Night which is also Military Appreciation Night in the Stan Sheriff Center.