Hawaii sophomore Leah Salanoa hit a career-high six 3-pointers and the Rainbow Wahine basketball team snapped a six-game losing streak with a 73-60 Big West win over UC Irvine today in Irvine, Calif.
Salanoa went 6-for-12 behind the arc and led the Rainbow Wahine (9-17, 5-9) with 20 points, also a career best. UH junior Sarah Toeaina added 14 points on 7-for-10 shooting and UH picked up its first victory in February while extending its winning streak in the series with UC Irvine (4-23, 2-11) to eight.
The Wahine averaged 51.8 points while shooting 32 percent during their skid, but broke out their shooting slump to build a 20-point lead and held off the Anteaters’ fourth-quarter charge at the Bren Events Center.
UH dished out 21 assists on 27 made baskets and ended the game shooting 46.6 percent from the field. The Wahine went 10-for-29 from 3-point range and 9-for-12 from the free-throw line.
Along with her point total, Toeaina contributed a team-high five assists and seven rebounds.
The Wahine hit seven of their first 10 field-goal attempts, including four of five from 3-point range, to open up a 22-12 lead in the first quarter. Salanoa hit two 3-pointers in the period and the Wahine, who entered the game averaging 8.8 assists per game, had seven in the first 10 minutes.
UH cooled off early in the second quarter before Salanoa drained her third 3-pointer to end a nearly 5 minute drought. UC Irvine closed to 25-21 but UH closed the half with a 9-0 run capped by Olivia Crawford’s 3-pointer with 11 seconds left and the Wahine took a 34-21 lead into halftime.
UH maintained its momentum through the break and led 45-25 when Salanoa hit her fourth 3-pointer to tie her previous career high.
The Anteaters chopped the lead to single digits with a 10-2 run early in the fourth quarter and trailed 62-54 with 5:53 left after Irene Chavez scored inside.
But Toeaina hit a jumper, Briana Harris (nine points, three assists) scored on a putback and Toeaina drained another jumper to extend the lead back to 68-55 and the Wahine remained in control down the stretch.
Chavez hit four 3-pointers and led UC Irvine with 22 points on 7-for-12 shooting overall.
UH closes its final road trip of the regular season Saturday at Cal State Fullerton.