Freshman redemption never felt so good.
Frosh forward Kamilah Jackson sent off the five Hawaii Rainbow Wahine seniors in style on senior night with two game-winning free throws, giving UH a 72-71 win in overtime over Utah State last night at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Seventh-place UH (11-18, 5-11 Western Athletic Conference) was locked into a WAC tournament first-round matchup with sixth-place New Mexico State before tipoff, but the game was far from meaningless.
It seemed lost when senior point guard Keisha Kanekoa missed a pull-up jumper from the right elbow with time expiring, but Jackson, who went for 21 points and 19 rebounds, positioned herself on the weak side for the board and tried to go up with it just as the horn sounded.
A fist was raised for a foul, but the three officials first had to confer by the replay monitors to make sure any time was left. They called 0.3 seconds left, and Jackson calmly drained foul shots before and after a Utah State timeout.
After a futile USU fullcourt heave, UH, particularly the seniors playing their last home game, mobbed Jackson at midcourt as the crowd of 1,008 stood and high-fived. Then it was on to an emotional senior send-off ceremony. Seniors Kanekoa, Megan Tinnin, Allie Patterson, Julita Bungaite and Mai Ayabe were honored.
Jackson was faced with a remarkably similar situation against Louisiana Tech early in the WAC season, but missed one of two at the line, which sent the game into overtime, where LaTech prevailed.
"It was definitely a lot of pressure, but I had to make it because of the LaTech game. So I had to make them both," Jackson said. "It definitely (came to mind) as soon as I got fouled, but as soon as it popped into my head I tried to erase it right away."
Tinnin added 18 points, including 5-for-8 shooting on 3-pointers, and Kanekoa added 16 points.
UH started the five seniors, but fell behind 11-0 and had to rally from a 21-point first-half deficit to make it a game. It committed 27 turnovers, but forced 23 on the third-place Aggies (15-13, 9-6), who couldn’t earn a season sweep of the Wahine.
With the game tied at 68, USU had two chances to win it in regulation, but its first shot missed and center Banna Diop’s 15-footer with a second left was blocked short by UH forward Breanna Arbuckle.
A Tinnin step-back 3-pointer capped a 14-1 run to bring UH within 61-60 with 4 minutes to play, then Bungaite hit a corner trey to tie it up at 63 with 2:40 left.
"We didn’t let down and we kept fighting," Tinnin said. "Ending this way, it couldn’t have ended any better than that."
Jackson broke Judy Mosley’s freshman rebounding record (311) by moving to 323 on the season with at least one more game to play.
The Wahine would like to make it more than one.
"What a way to end our Stan Sheriff Center days for our seniors," UH coach Dana Takahara-Dias said. "For (Jackson) it’s redemption. What a tremendous board."
The Wahine were without freshman wing Shawna Kuehu for the third straight game because of concussion-like symptoms.
Kamehameha graduate Pualei Furtado had a loud cheering section behind the Aggies bench. The sophomore guard had three points and an assist in 5 minutes off the bench.
WAC WOMEN’S STANDINGS
|New Mexico State||6||9||.400||8||12-17|
|San Jose State||2||13||.133||12||2-26|
Fresno St. 73, San Jose St. 47
Idaho 73, New Mexico St. 65
Louisiana Tech 86, Boise St. 72
Hawaii 72, Utah State 71
No games scheduled.
Idaho at Louisiana Tech
Boise State at New Mexico State
Nevada at Fresno State
Utah State at San Jose State
Hawaii 72, Utah State 71
Aggies (15-13, 9-6)
Rainbow Wahine (11-18, 5-11)
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 — Utah State 41, Hawaii 28
Regulation — Utah State 68, Hawaii 68
3-point goals — Utah State 4-15 (Furtado 1-1, Diop 1-2, Pringle-Buchanan 1-2, Christensen 1-4, Burns 0-1, Coddington 0-2, White 0-3). Hawaii 8-14 (Tinnin 5-8, Kanekoa 2-4, Bungaite 1-1, Haydel 0-1).
Steals — Utah State 13 (Brown 3, Christensen 3, Johnson 2, Diop 2, Coddington, Pringle-Buchanan, Schlott). Hawaii 12 (Tinnin 5, Jackson 2, Arbuckle, Haydel, Ayabe, Kanekoa, Bungaite). Blocked shots — Utah State 5 (Diop 4, Plunkett). Hawaii 4 (Arbuckle 2, Jackson, Tinnin). Officials — Darla Foutz, Alex Moreno, Kim Mains. A–1,008.