The University of Hawai'i women's basketball team dropped its Thursday night Big West Conference matchup with UC Irvine 53-48 at the Stan Sheriff Center.
The Rainbow Wahine (11-14, 7-5) dropped their second game over the last six, and as a result, will move down to the No. 5 spot in the Big West Conference standings. The Anteaters (17-6, 7-4) bounced back from a loss to UC Santa Barbara last week, and have won three of their previous four.
"Tonight came down to our turnovers and missed free throws," said head coach Laura Beeman. "We came out with grit, and we wanted this game, but made mistakes at critical points. One thing we need to figure out is chemistry. This week was not easy, and we lost a piece to our puzzle, so now we have to rework it. We'll have a tough game at UC Davis, but we have a solid game plan for them, but then we'll have a week till Cal State Fullerton to figure out our chemistry issues.
Coming into tonight's game, UH was No. 1 in the Big West in terms of free throw shooting percentage at 73.2 percent on the season. Against the Anteaters, the 'Bows shot below 50 percent as they shot 8-17 for 47 percent from the free throw line. At times for UH, turnovers have been an issue, but tonight was the third straight game of over 20 miscues for the 'Bows.
UH trailed by two at the half, 28-26, but UCI started strong in the third frame with a quick 6-0 run, eventually leading to a double-digit lead. UH battled back and chipped away at the lead pulling to within one in the final minute, but a big shot by UCI put them back up three in the closing seconds.
With 14 seconds left to go in regulation, UCI inbounded from the far sideline and sophomore guard Jadynn Alexander intercepted the pass with an open floor ahead. Alexander elected to pass up the breakaway bucket, dishing out to senior guard Tia Kanoa for a potential game-tying 3-point bucket. Kanoa's attempt was partially blocked, leading to a UCI rebound, followed by a UH foul, leading to the eventual final score.
Alexander led the team with 10 points and five rebounds. Senior guard Leah Salanoa added a solid performance with a team-high eight rebounds along with seven points.
The 'Bows will have a quick turnaround as they will head to Big West front-runner UC Davis for a matchup on Saturday at noon HST. UH is the only conference team to knock off the Aggies this season.