At long last, the streak is over.
The Hawaii women’s basketball team earned a hard-fought 57-52 win at New Mexico State last night, snapping an 18-game Western Athletic Conference road losing streak dating back more than two years.
UH (9-16, 3-9 WAC) won for the third time in four games and moved up to sole possession of seventh place with four games to play, vastly improving its chances of qualifying for the WAC tournament next month.
The Rainbow Wahine last won a WAC road game on Jan. 30, 2009, at Utah State. It was second-year coach Dana Takahara-Dias’ first such victory in 15 tries. It also snapped a 19-game overall road losing streak to Division I teams.
"We look at every game as an opportunity to win. I’m not going to lie to you, it’s been challenging to say the least for us to go on the road and not be able to take a road win," Takahara-Dias said in a postgame phone interview. "That was something that we thought about over the course of the WAC season. I really do believe this win was great for the team."
Senior guard Megan Tinnin put in 14 points in her return to her home state and freshman forward Kamilah Jackson, the nation’s fifth-leading rebounder, came off the bench for 10 points and 14 boards. It was her team-best 10th double-double of the season, breaking Judy Mosley’s UH freshman record.
Senior point guard Keisha Kanekoa added 11 points, surpassing Ayesha Brooks (1,131 points) for 10th place on the UH career scoring list. Freshman wing Shawna Kuehu added 11 points, six rebounds and three steals, while junior forward Breanna Arbuckle had 11 boards.
The Wahine dominated the backboards 52-32, overcoming 21 turnovers.
UH trailed early, but took a 26-21 halftime lead and extended that to 30-21 to start the second half. NMSU cut that to 34-32 on a 3-pointer with 13 minutes left and the Aggies took the lead at 41-39 on a 9-1 run with 9 minutes to play.
Kuehu came right back with a three-point play, giving UH the lead for good. NMSU hung around, but Kanekoa hit Arbuckle for an inside basket to reassert control in the final minute and Tinnin iced the game with two free throws with 21.1 seconds left.
"The difference between this game and all the other road games is that we stuck with it, we didn’t fold when we got down and we came back and kept fighting," said Tinnin, an Albuquerque native who had friends and family at the game. "I don’t think I’ve been this happy about a win in a really long time. This is one team I wanted to beat, and to beat them here is a really big deal."
Sixth-place NMSU (10-14, 4-6) lost its fourth straight game. Senior guard Madison Spence had 16 points and 10 rebounds to lead NMSU, but shot 5-for-18 from the field.
UH avenged a 74-58 home loss to the Aggies to open the WAC season.
The Wahine conclude their three-game road trip tomorrow at first-place Louisiana Tech (18-5, 10-0).
|Utah State||7||4||.636||3 1/2||13-11|
|New Mexico State||4||6||.400||6||10-14|
|San Jose State||2||8||.200||8||2-21|
|Boise State||2||9||.182||8 1/2||11-14|
Hawaii 57, New Mexico State 52
Hawaii at Louisiana Tech, 1 p.m.
Fresno State at Boise State
Nevada at Idaho
San Jose State at New Mexico State
Hawaii 57, New Mexico state 52
Rainbow Wahine (9-16, 3-9 WAC)
Aggies (10-14, 4-6 WAC)
Key — fg-a: field goals made-attempted; ft-a: free throws made-attempted; rb: rebounds; pf: personal fouls; pts: total points; a: assists; to: turnovers; min: minutes played.
Halftime — Hawaii 26, New Mexico St. 21
3-point goals — Hawaii 2-8 (Tinnin 2-5, Kuehu 0-1, Kanekoa 0-1, Patterson 0-1). NMSU 6-21 (Soto 2-2, Lowe 2-6, Spence 2-8, Sanchez 0-2, Corbett 0-3).
Steals — Hawaii 6 (Kuehu 3, Tinnin 2, Jackson). NMSU 9 (Spence 5, Wampler, Lowe, Rutledge, McGhee). Blocked shots — Hawaii 3 (Kuehu, Tinnin, Arbuckle). NMSU 4 (Corbett 2, Rutledge, Fletcher). Officials — James Clarke-Stevens, Lisa Jones, Brian Hall. A– 1,034.