Rainbow Wahine fall in OT to CSUN

Shawna-Lei Kuehu // Hawai'i Athletics
Shawna-Lei Kuehu // Hawai'i Athletics

NORTHRIDGE, Calif.—The University of Hawai’i women’s basketball team battled hard, but dropped their second straight with a heart-breaking overtime loss at Cal State Northridge, 75-72. Ashleigh Karaitiana poured in a career-high 28 points and tied the UH single-game record with six 3-pointers while Kamilah Jackson recorded her 11th double-double of the season with 23 points and 13 rebounds.

Karaitiana scored 18 of her points in the second half to lead the Hawai’i charge. She drained her record-tying sixth trey of the game with 11-seconds left in regulation to force overtime. Karaitiana was 11-of-18 (both career-highs) from the floor and added seven rebounds with an assist and a steal. She made her ninth start of the season after coming off the bench for the last six games and for the second time this season, played all 45 minutes of the game.

Jackson bounced back after the Long Beach State loss to score 20+ points for the fifth time this season. She was 9-of-15 in field goals and 5-of-7 from the free throw line. She stuffed the stat sheet with three assists, a block and a steal. Jackson was sidelined twice in the game with injuries, but came back both times and finshed the game.

In the first half, the ‘Bows never quite got into a groove and struggled to contain CSUN guard Ashlee Guay who scored 20 in the first half alone. The ‘Bows kept the game close throughout most of the first half, but the Matadors went into the break on a 12-to-4 run to give them a 39-27 lead.

Hawai’i, however came out of half time and things started clicking on offense while the defense started getting more stops. After trading baskets early in the second half, CSUN extended their lead to 16 points with 17:32 left in regulation, 68-32. UH then began to find their rhythm, going on an 11-to-4 run to cut their deficit down to single digits, 52-43 with 12:18 left. But gap remained around the same as the Matadors kept the ‘Bows at bay. But then, down 10 with five minutes left, UH began their final charge, eventually out-scoring CSUN 16-to-6 by the end of regulation. UH got back-to-back layups by Shawna-Lei Kuehu to spark the comeback. The Matadors’ Janae Sharpe then made two free throws to give them a 61-53 lead with 3:03 on the clock. But Hawai’i’s Jackson and Destiny King answered with both hittin two free throws of their own to bring the ‘Bows to within four points with 2:20 left on the clock. Sharpe then struck with a 3-pointer with 1:12 left with CSUN leading 64-57. UH did not panic, instead, Karaitiana countered with a trey of her own to bring the ‘Bows back within four points. UH’s defense then forced a turnover and Kuehu found Karaitiana under the basket for a layup to cut CSUN’s lead to just two points with 22-seconds on the clock. Sharpe then sank the first of two free throws, with Karaitiana grabbing the defensive rebound with 19-seconds left. UH brought the ball up the court and called timeout. On the play out of the break, Jackson dished off to Karaitiana who drilled the game-tying 3-pointer—her sixth of the game—with 11-second on the clock. The Hawai’i defense then held CSUN, not allowing them to attempt a shot to end regulation tied at 65-65.

In overtime, UH and CSUN traded the first two baskets before Jackson hit a layup to go up, 69-67. Sydney Haydel then swiped her third steal of the game and eventually Jackson was fouled on a layup attempt, but came down awkwardly and had to come out of the game. Briana Harris then replaced Jackson at the line and made one of two free throws. King added another layup to give UH a five point lead with 2:26 left in the game off a Kuehu pass. But the Matadors would come charging back. Sharpe drove in for a layup and then three different CSUN players made two free throws apiece thus sealing the Matador win after a valiant Rainbow Wahine effort.

Sharpe led CSUN with 27 points, 16 of which came in the second half. UH’s defense contained Guay in the second half, allowing her to score just four points. She finished the game with 26 total points.

Hawai’i out-rebounded Cal State Northridge, 41-to-33 and in points in the paint, 36-to-22. But, CSUN shot eight more free throws and made 20 altogether in 28 attempts, while UH managed to shoot just 11-of-20 from the line. Hawai’i was one assist shy of tying their team-high of 19 set at Pacific, but also committed 20 turnovers for just the fourth time this season. Hawai’i did turn the tables in the second half offensively, outscoring CSUN 38-26.

Hawai’i will remain in California as they are in the middle of their longest roadtrip of the year. UH will face UC Santa Barbara on Thursday, Feb. 6 and then Cal Poly on Saturday, Feb. 8.

*Courtesy of Hawai’i Athletics*

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