Despite a 20-point performance from junior Sarah Toeaina, the Hawai’i women’s basketball team dropped its Big West Conference opener on Thursday night at Long Beach State, 68-57.
Hawai’i (4-9, 0-1 Big West) had the advantage in a low-scoring first quarter, leading 6-5 after the first 10 minutes and building the lead to 14-7 in the second, but the 49ers (10-6, 1-0 Big West) used a 13-3 run to close out the first half with a 20-17 lead.
The Rainbow Wahine cut the deficit to just one point on two occasions in the third quarter, but the 49ers went on a 7-0 run in the final minutes and would lead the rest of the way.
Toeaina hit 9-of-12 shots in the game, including her only 3-point attempt, to finish just four points shy of her career high. Olivia Crawford added 12 points—one shy of her career high—while Lahni Salanoa, Briana Harris and Keleah-Aiko Koloi each added five points for Hawai’i.
The Rainbow Wahine shot just 11 percent (2-of-18) from the field in the first quarter, but got hot in the second half with the help of a 7-for-10 performance in the third quarter, to shoot 40 percent for the game. The 49ers had similar shooting struggles in the first quarter, connecting on 2-of-13 shots in the opening period, but bounced back to shoot 42 percent from the field for the game.
Hawai’i held a 40-31 rebounding advantage in the game and 15-11 edge in second-chance points. Long Beach State, which forced opponents into an average of more than 21 turnovers per game entering the contest, converted 17 Hawai’i turnovers into 18 points.
The loss snaps Hawai’i’s seven-game winning streak against Long Beach State, and evens the all-time series at 17-17.
The Rainbow Wahine return to action at UC Davis on Jan. 7 before returning home for the conference home-opener against Cal. State Fullerton on Jan. 12.