The University of Hawai’i women’s basketball team battled back to win their fourth-straight game after senior Ashleigh Karaitiana knocked down a 3-pointer with 14-seconds left on the clock to lift UH to a 63-62 win at UC Santa Barbara. Hawai’i was down by as much as five points with a little more than four minutes left in the game before the ‘Bows made a final charge at the end for the win. UH’s seniors came though in the clutch, scoring 21 of Hawai’i’s last 23 points of the game.
Hawai’i improveds to 14-9 overall and 7-3 in the Big West. The Rainbow Wahine are now 9-2 in road games this year and are currently on their longest win streak of the season at four. UCSB fell to 8-15 overall and 5-4 in the Big West
Destiny King led all scorers with 17 points to go with a team-high eight rebounds. King also contributed with five assists and she made 9-of-12 rebounds. In the fourth quarter King once again came up big, scoring seven points with four rebounds and two assists while making five free throws down the stretch. Kalei Adolpho and Karaitiana both added 12 points apiece. Adolpho had a solid all-around game, adding six rebounds with two assists and a blocked shot. Karaitiana notched 10 of her 12 points in the fourth quarter alone. She sank her first trey of the game with 2:17 left on the clock and her last 3-point dagger came with 14-seconds left. Karaitiana was 5-of-7 from the floor in the game with four boards and an assist.
Hawai’i led for the entire first half, building a lead as much as 12 points with 8:39 left in the second quarter. But the Gauchos would not give away and kept chipping away. UH went into the half with a 30-24 lead, but led UCSB get a steal and a layup as the clock wound down leaving the ‘Bows with just a six point lead at the break.
UCSB took the momentum from the end of the first half into the second, but UH was holding off the Gauchos until late in the third quarter. UCSB finished the third on a 7-to-1 run to take their first lead of the game, 41-40 to enter the fourth quarter. UC Santa Barbara would extend their lead to 11-to-1 to start the last quarter before a jumper by Megan Huff stemmed the bleeding. Later, with the Gauchos still up by five, the Rainbow Wahine started their last charge of the game, scoring 10 straight points to regain the lead at 54-53 with 2:51 left. UCSB and UH traded baskets down the stretch, but with 48-seconds left, UCSB’s Makala Roper sank a 3-pointer to tie the game at 60-60. A Hawai’i turnover followed which allowed the Gauchos’ Chaya Durr to breakaway for an easy layup to take the lead, 62-60. But Karaitiana saved the day by rattling home the game-winning 3-pointer with 14-seconds left. The Gauchos had one final shot attempt that hit the front of the rim and King corralled the rebound to end the game.
Hawai’i returns home to face Long Beach State on Thursday, Feb. 11 at 5:30 pm in the first game of a doubleheader with the mens’ basketball game against UC Irvine at 8:00 pm. It will be a “Blackout” game, so fans are encouraged to wear black to the games that night.