The Hawaii women’s basketball team was sent to a stunning loss in its Big West Conference season opener when it failed to protect a four-point led with 11 seconds left, falling in overtime 78-74 to Cal Poly on Wednesday night.
Mustangs senior guard Jonae Ervin went for 37 points in the comeback victory, in which the Mustangs trailed by 17 points in the first half.
UH (6-7, 0-1 BWC) lost for the fourth time in five games.
The Mustangs (7-7, 1-0), the predicted Big West champion, seemed dead to rights in the final minute of regulation.
But the Wahine could not hold onto a 64-60 lead with 11 seconds remaining. Ervin drove to the basket and was fouled with 3.8 seconds left. After a timeout, Ervin missed the the free throw on purpose and the Mustangs got two shots off. The second, by forward Taryn Garza, banked in just before the buzzer, sending the game to overtime as the crowd of 701 groaned.
Senior forward Kamilah Jackson led UH with 17 points and 16 rebounds. Senior guard Sydney Haydel added a career-high 18 points.
Cal Poly went on a 14-0 run bridging the halves, during which UH went for about 10 minutes with a field goal. The Mustangs cut a 17-point lead to three, but the Wahine answered with consecutive baskets.
Poly drew to within 45-43, but UH point guard Morgan Mason hit a 3-pointer, her first basket of the game, to push the Wahine lead back to five.
Guard Sydney Haydel hit another big trey for a 62-56 lead with 3:06 to play.
But the Mustangs came back with free throws and Mason airballed a 3-pointer with 35.1 seconds left. Poly called timeout down 62-60.
Mustangs guard Jonae Ervin missed on a drive to the basket and Kalei Adolpho corralled the rebound. Poly took a foul on Destiny King with 20.7 seconds left. King and Adolpho went 1-for-2 on free throws each to build the late four-point lead.