Honolulu— The University of Hawaii women's basketball team had an upset on their mind but fell to No. 12 NC State, 68-59, on the second day of the Heineken Rainbow Wahine Showdown.
UH fought back from being down by 10 to start the fourth quarter, pulling within one at 59-58 after a made three-pointer by junior forward Amy Atwell with 2:35 on the clock. After a stoppage in play due to an injury, the Wolfpack closed out the game with a 9-1 run extending the streak of over two decades since UH knocked off a ranked opponent.
"I've been talking about effort over these last few games, and tonight we played an entire 40 minutes with effort," said head coach Laura Beeman. "We did what we needed to do, and we showed what we have the potential to do. We ran our offense, we played defense, and we didn't make the same mental mistakes we've been making the past few games. When you play with effort, then the game becomes effortless."
The Rainbow Wahine (3-4) have dropped three consecutive games. The last time the 'Bows pulled off a win against a nationally ranked opponent was against No. 17 Kansas on Nov. 22, 1998. The Wolfpack (7-0) remain undefeated on the season and are in line to capture the Heineken Rainbow Wahine Showdown championship as they'll faceoff with North Texas on Sunday at noon HT.
The first half featured the home squad matching nearly point for point with the nationally-ranked Wolfpack. UH, and NC State exchanged the lead on four separate occasions and were tied once. Senior guard Julissa Tago led the scoring for UH in the first two quarters with eight points. Her senior guard counterpart Courtney Middap added to the mix hitting two three-point buckets for six points.
UH led with 5:26 on the clock in the second quarter at 23-21, but NC State swung momentum in their favor with a 14-2 run in the final five minutes going into the half. As a result, the Wolfpack went into the locker room with their largest lead of the first half, 35-25.
Tago led all scorers with a season-high 23 points, hitting 8-of-21 from the floor, and 4-of-11 from beyond the arc. As a team, UH featured its strongest showing of the season from three-point territory, hitting a season-high 11 long-distance buckets at 39 percent.
Freshman Kasy Neubert came off the bench for a big night registering nine points for the 'Bows, putting an end to a long scoring drought by the 'Bows in the third quarter. UH outscored the NC State bench 20-4, as Neubert and junior center Barbara Rangel played significant minutes.
The battle of the boards proved to be a difference-maker for NC State, pulling down 43, compared to the 'Bows' 25, including 14 offensive rebounds. UH played one of its cleanest games of the season, committing a season-low six turnovers.
UH will be back in action for the final day of the showdown, taking on Texas at 2:30 p.m. HT. The game will air live on Spectrum Sports and will be the middle game of a triple-header at the Stan Sheriff Center, with the men's game following at 5:00 p.m. HT.