Rainbow Wahine cruise to first BWC victory

Laura Beeman

HONOLULU—The University of Hawai`i women’s basketball team bounced back after a heartbreaking loss on Wednesday to earn its first Big West win of the season, defeating Cal State Northridge, 54-44 on Sunday night. Shawna-Lei Kuehu and Ashleigh Karaitiana led the ‘Bows with 14 points apiece while Karaitiana had a game-high nine rebounds. Hawai`i evened its conference record at 1-1 and its overall mark at 7-7.

Kuehu was an efficient 5-of-8 from the floor and 4-of-6 from the free throw line. She added seven rebounds with three assists, a blocked shot and a pair of steals. Karaitiana came off the bench to make 5-of-16 field goals, including two treys. She also was a perfect 2-for-2 from the charity stripe. She was one rebound shy of tying her season-high of 10 and chipped in one assists and a blocked shot. Karaitiana scored nine of her points in the first half, including the last four to give UH a 31-17 lead into the break.

The ‘Bows defense clamped down on the Matadors to open the game while racing out to a 15-0 lead. CSUN (5-11, 1-1 BWC) finally was able to score its first points with 11:40 left in the first half. But Hawai`i would maintain its double-digit lead throughout the half, allowing the Matadors to shoot just 25%. The ‘Bows led by as many as 16 points in the first half.

In the second half, however, CSUN came out with a three-point barrage, hitting three-straight treys to begin the half, cutting UH’s lead to 31-26 with 17:37 on the clock. But Hawai`i did not back down and answered right back with an 8-to-0 run to go back up by 13 on a trey by Morgan Mason. The Rainbow Wahine held the lead from wire-to-wire and never let their lead go below six after the initial Cal State Northridge run.

As a team, the ‘Bows outrebounded CSUN, 46-to-29 and outscored the Matadors in points off of turnovers, 13-to-12 and in second-chance points, 14-to-7.  Hawai`i’s bench also outscored CSUN’s, 16-to-8, with Karaitiana accounting for 14 of those points. The two teams were tied at 20 in points in the paint.

Hawai’i will hit the road for one game at UC Riverside next week Friday, Jan. 18 at 5:00 pm.

The honorary captain for today’s game was the late, UH great Judy Mosley-McAfee who passed away this past September after a three-year battle with cancer. Mosley-McAfee’s life and career at UH was honored both during the UH game as well as the Alumnae Game and its reception between games. Her brothers, Ben and Terrance Mosley were in attendance to represent Mosley-McAfee’s family.

Earlier in the afternoon, the ‘Bows hosted their annual Alumnae Game. The Alumnae showed up in force, with about 40 in attendance. The game between the Green Team and the White Team ended in a tie, 38-38.

*Courtesy of Hawai’i Athletics*

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