A big weekend for ‘Bows athletics hit a sour note as the University of Hawai‘i women’s basketball team fell victim to a second half blitz by the Texas Southern Tigers in a 74-57 loss. The Tigers erupted for 46 points in the second half, while the Rainbow Wahine (3-2) managed just 25 in that same frame. TSU guard Richelle Velez, who was the game’s scoring leader, put up 23 of her 25 total points in the second half alone. Forward Niya Mitchell wasn’t far behind her teammate, finishing with 24 points.
On the other side, junior forward Amy Atwell finished with a team-best 15 points for Hawai‘i. She led a trio of ‘Bows who scored over the double-digit mark, as guards Julissa Tago and Jadynn Alexander each finished with 10 points.
After the game, head coach Laura Beeman derided a “lack of effort” from the Wahine. Despite owning a sizable height advantage all across the board, the team was out-rebounded by Texas Southern 32-31. The Tigers also outscored the ‘Bows 21-17 off turnovers, and 16-8 on second chance points. The team scored just 7 points in the third quarter, leaving 7 more on the board on 0-7 free throw shooting in the period. Every ‘Bow who played at least five minutes finished with a negative +/- rating.
In a big narrative reversal from Friday’s game, the opening quarter this time around proved to be quite the offensive firework show. A triple by Texas Southern opened the flood gates, as the two teams battled out to a 9-8 Tiger advantage. With the slim one point lead, TSU lost their scoring touch, going without a bucket over the next four minutes. Meanwhile, the Wahine continued to score, picking up seven points in that time frame to flip the advantage 15-9. True to its seesaw nature, the quarter took another turn, as Texas Southern finished with a 10-2 run to take a 19-17 lead heading into break.
A layup by junior center Lauren Rewers tied the game to start the second quarter, before back-to-back Myrrah Joseph layups finally put the lead back in Wahine hands. Texas Southern briefly tied it up with a layup, but a 7-0 UH run pushed the lead back out to 7. The Tigers wouldn’t go quietly however, with a 5-2 run to end the half foreshadowing what was to come.
Texas Southern picked up right where it had left off, knocking down the first six points of the half. Atwell’s layup briefly halted the run, but Velez knocked down a triple in response. At 5:17, Atwell crashed to the hardwood after committing a personal foul. Atwell stayed down for a bit, eventually making her way into the tunnel for further evaluation. Although she made her return to the court soon after, the injury had clearly shaken the team. Other than a Tago triple at 3:25, the Wahine wouldn’t score again in the third. On the other side of the ball, Texas Southern took advantage. Scoring at will en route to a 24-point third quarter outburst.
Down 52-39 to start the final period, Jadynn Alexander converted an and-one layup. The ‘Bows couldn’t cut the deficit back to single-digits, as the Tigers continued to score at will. The Wahine picked up the effort for 18 fourth quarter points, but gave up 22 to a scorching Tigers squad. Hawai‘i laid in the final two baskets of the game with a minute left to avoid the 20-point loss, but fell 74-57 to Texas Southern anyway.
Beeman and the Wahine will be looking for better all-around effort as they prepare to host the Heineken Rainbow Wahine Showdown, which begins with NC State taking on Texas on Nov. 29.
The Rainbow Wahine host North Texas at the Stan Sheriff Center on Nov. 29 at 5 p.m. HST.