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Rainbow Wahine basketball team holds off HPU

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Shawna-Lei Kuehu scored 26 points and the University of Hawaii women’s basketball team held off Hawaii Pacific 76-68 Wednesday afternoon at the Stan Sheriff Center.

The Rainbow Wahine recovered from a slow start to shoot 50 percent from the field and overcame HPU’s hot shooting from 3-point range to improve to 7-5.

Kuehu made nine of 14 shots from the field, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out four assists for the Wahine. Destiny King finished with 13 points and freshman Sarah Toeaina scored 10 points on 4-for-6 shooting in her first start of the season.

Veanne Navarro hit three of HPU’s nine 3-pointers and led the Sharks with 18 points. Kerianne Mackenzie finished with 16 points and Chenise Peone also made three 3-pointers in a 13-point performance. Center Morganne Comstock added 11 points and seven rebounds.

It counted as an exhibition for HPU, which remained at 9-2 overall.

Navarro scored the Sharks’ first 10 points, including two 3-pointers, and HPU led for most of the game’s first 15 minutes.

The Sharks hit four 3-pointers in the half and sharp passing into the post helped them open up a 27-18 lead with 6:23 left before halftime.

UH answered with a 12-0 run, scoring on five consecutive possessions. Toeaina triggered the run with a putback and capped it with a jumper off an assist from Kuehu while drawing a foul.

The Wahine made 12 of 16 attempts from the free-throw line in the half and led 38-35 at the break.

UH opened the second half with a 10-3 run but HPU hit back-to-back 3-pointers to close to 48-46.

Kuehu scored seven points in an 11-0 UH run but HPU managed to stay within striking distance from 3-point range and trailed 66-60 with 6:05 left.

But the Wahine regained command with a 7-0 stretch and held off the Sharks down the stretch.

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