The Hawaii women’s basketball team locked down Cal State Fullerton, 72-59, today at a mostly empty Walter Pyramid to advance to the Big West tournament semifinals on Friday.
UH (16-14) advanced to face No. 2 UC Santa Barbara (14-15) at 11:30 a.m. Friday at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. UH and UCSB split the regular-season series, with each team winning on the opponent’s home court.
Senior guard Julissa Tago led the Rainbow Wahine with 15 points. Freshman point guard Nae Nae Calhoun added 10 points and seven rebounds in front of empty seats; the Big West barred most spectators due to the coronavirus threat.
Big West Player of the Year Raina Perez struggled against the length of the Wahine, shooting 2-for-12 in the first half and 4-for-20 for the game. Fullerton (17-14), coached by Hawaii native Jeff Harada, shot 25% in the first half and 35.6% overall. Titans second-leading scorer Taylor Turney led the Titans with 16 points.
UH, which shot 47.1%, controlled the first quarter, leading 18-7 after a period. Perez got off to an 0-for-7 start.
The Wahine built a 12-point lead early in the second quarter on a 3 by Amy Atwell. Two more triples later in the period by Courtney Middap and Kasey Neubert pushed it to 13. That was the margin at half as UH led 33-20, with seven different players supplying a field goal.
UH pushed the margin to 18 early in the third quarter, leading 40-22 on a three-point play by Tago. The lead hit 19 on a 3 by Jadynn Alexander. Fullerton then rallied to within 46-36, but UH pushed it back to 12 going to the fourth.
The Titans made one last rally to within 11 points, 60-49, but Tago scored 10 of her points in the final period to put them away.
In the first game of the day, No. 8 Cal Poly scored an upset on the second straight day, dominating No. 3 UC Irvine 70-49.