Rainbow Wahine Big West dreams come to an end

ANAHEIM, Calif. – The University of Hawai’i women’s basketball team suffered through one of its worst offensive performances of the year in falling to Cal Poly, 66-52 in the  Big West Tournament semifinals Friday afternoon  at the Honda Center

The third-seed Rainbow Wahine (17-13) shot just 31.1 percent from the floor, including 25.9 percent in the opening half as they trailed 24-19 at halftime.  Cal Poly, meanwhile, shot 53.6 percent after the break to pull away by double-digits for much of the second half.

Two-time all-conference center Molly Schlemer led Cal Poly with 29 points and 11 rebounds, while Ariana Elegado poured in 20.

Ashleigh Karaitiana, Sydney Haydel and Diane Moore each scored nine points, while Shawna-Lei Kuehu posted eight  points and eight rebounds.

The No. 2 seed Mustangs (18-12) advance to face top-seeded Cal State Northridge in Saturday’s finals, while the ‘Bows finish the regular season at 17-13 and now await to find out its postseason fate.

It was a sloppy first half for both teams. The teams combined to miss their first 13 shots and 16 of their first 17. UH held an 11-9 lead, but the Mustangs went on a 15-2 run to take a 24-13 lead. UH got a huge jolt off the bench from Moore who ended a nearly seven minute field goal drought with a pair of three-pointers to cut the deficit to just 24-19 at the break.

UH trailed by just five despite key players Kuehu, Karaitiana, and Morgan Mason saddled with foul trouble for much of the first 20 minutes.

Mason nailed a three-pointer early in the second half to make it a four-point game. But UH would get no closer. The Mustangs slowly pulled away and built its lead to as many as 14 points with six minutes left.

Leading scorer and rebounder Kamilah Jackson made her first appearance in eight games, checking in at 10:36 mark of the first half. Jackson finished with two assists, a rebound and no points in 18 minutes of action.

*Courtesy of Hawai’i Athletics*

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