Seventh-ranked Mississippi State responded with fury to an early lead by Hawaii and wrapped up the Rainbow Wahine Showdown with a 66-41 victory over the hosts today at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Chinwe Okorie, a 6-foot-5 center, led the Bulldogs (7-0) with 18 points on 8-for-10 shooting. Victoria Vivians added 10 points en route to tournament MVP honors.
Sarah Toeaina and Briana Harris led UH (2-5) with 11 points apiece. The Wahine committed 30 turnovers to the Bulldogs’ 20. UH scored a season low in points and went 0-3 in the tournament but Toeaina was named to the all-tournament team.
Mississippi State extended a 14-point halftime lead to as many as 24 points in the third quarter and coasted to victory.
Behind its superior size, the SEC team jumped out to an 11-0 lead to open the game.
UH turned it over 10 times in the first quarter but rallied back to within 13-11 by the end of the opening 10 minutes.
Olivia Crawford stole the ball and raced up for a jumper to knot it at 13 early in the second, and Julissa Tago followed with a left-handed drive to beat the shot clock for UH’s first lead.
It was short lived as the Bulldogs scored the next 17 points and carried a 33-19 lead into the break.
Hawaii plays at UCLA next Sunday.