RENO, Nev. Defending their turf on the road, the University of Hawaii Wahine suffocated the Western Athletic Conferences most breathtaking offense yesterday, defeating Nevada, 65-52, in a regionally televised basketball game.
Before 2,332 at Lawlor Events Center, the Wahine (16-4) won their fourth in a row, remained perfect away from home, and harassed the Wolf Pack who came up 30 points short of their home average into 31-percent shooting.
"We were real happy when we won our first two road games at El Paso and Tulsa," UH coach Vince Goo said. "But we knew this trip was against better teams so we feel good right now. Today we had a good second half offensively, and a real good defensive game for 40 minutes."
Hawaii is second to unbeaten Texas Christian in the WAC standings, at 7-2. The Wolf Pack (12-9) lost their first home game in nearly three months and fell to fourth, at 5-4.
It was the Wahines first regionally televised victory since 1996, when they won the Big West Tournament here.
"Maybe well stay," Goo joked.
Though his players admitted to fatigue after the game, Goo said they "disguised it pretty well." At an elevation of 4,200 feet, the Wahine refused to buckle in the final four minutes.
Behind Dainora Puidas eight points, they extended a 22-20 halftime advantage to 47-32 with 7:04 remaining. Then, Hawaii ran into its only second-half roadblock.
Led by Kate Smith, who scored 19 of her 23 points in the final half, Nevada pulled within 49-43 in the next three minutes. It would be its last gasp.
The Wahine outscored the Wolf Pack 16-9 in the final minutes, hitting all 12 foul shots and getting two baskets her only two from Christen Roper, who returned to the game after Puida got her fourth foul.
Puida finished with 12 points and a career-high 14 rebounds, helping Hawaii to an imposing 50-29 board advantage. Crystal Lee added 17 points and 10 rebounds, her second straight double-double and third of her career.
Every Wahine kicked in on defense. Guards Janka Gabrielova, April Atuaia and Christa Brossman shut down the Wolf Packs backcourt and UH disconnected Nevadas long-distance threat; the Pack made but 2-of-18 from behind the arc, missing their final 14.
Down low, 6-foot captain Kylie Galloway prevented Nevadas forwards from getting the ball inside the paint. "Kylie had one basket, but that was one of her best games all year," Goo said. "She played great defense against a 6-3 post and 6-1 forward."
The Wahine iced the game from the foul line and bench, which with a big assist from Puida gathered 21 points and 19 rebounds. UH hit 27-of-29 free throws while the home team was 10-for-13.
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