Hawaii women’s basketball team advances to Big West title game
  • Tuesday, May 21, 2019
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Sports Breaking | Top News

Hawaii women’s basketball team advances to Big West title game

  • DARRELL MIHO / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

    The Rainbow Wahine pose for a photo following their win over UC Riverside.

  • DARRELL MIHO / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

    The Rainbow Wahine celebrate their semifinal win against the UC Riverside at the Honda Center.

The late-season surge of the Hawaii women’s basketball team has carried the Rainbow Wahine into the Big West tournament championship game.

Senior point guard Tia Kanoa put in a career-high 19 points, doled out nine assists and grabbed six rebounds to lead the way in a 66-58 win over UC Riverside today at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. Senior forward Leah Salanoa added 11 points and four assists.

Second-seeded UH (15-15) won its fourth straight game and will face top seed UC Davis (24-6, 15-1) in the title game at 12:30 p.m. Saturday with an NCAA tournament berth on the line. The Rainbow Wahine last made it there in 2016.

UH shot 65.2 percent in the first half (15-for-23), paced by Kanoa’s 11 points on 5-for-5 shooting, to build a 38-31 lead at halftime.

Third-seeded Riverside (17-15) drew within a point in the third quarter but the UH lead grew to four heading into the fourth.

Salanoa ended a scoring drought for both teams with her third triple of the game for a 55-48 lead with 5:30 remaining.

Riverside, which was without its best player Jannon Otto due to injury, drew within 57-55 on a 3 by Malou De Kergret (20 points) with under three minutes left.

Lahni Salanoa’s three-point play with 1:20 left made it a five-point game.

Kanoa and Courtney Middap went 6-for-6 at the line in the final minute when the Highlanders went to fouling.

UH was the only Big West team to defeat UC Davis during the regular season, a 65-60 decision at the Stan Sheriff Center on Jan. 12.

When the Wahine won the Big West tournament in 2016 as the 2 seed, it came at the expense of Davis in the championship game.

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