By Ann Miller
Advertiser Staff Writer
Kati Safaritova got away from the University of Hawaii last night, taking the Wahines Western Athletic Conference basketball opener with her.
Texas Christian and Safaritova shot the Wahine down in a 72-66 overtime victory played before 873 at Stan Sheriff Center. The Horned Frogs stifling zone defense held Hawaii scoreless for more than seven minutes in the second half, and the first 3 1/2 minutes of overtime.
The Wahines first offensive meltdown cost them a 10-point lead their defense had constructed. TCU went on a 15-0 run Safaritova getting the last 13 to move ahead, 53-51.
The second meltdown cost the Wahine the game, after UH freshmen Christa Brossman and April Atuaia had forced the overtime on a brilliant play with :04 showing. TCU (9-4, 1-0) came back with a vengeance, scoring the first 11 points of overtime to take over.
The closest Hawaiis desperation rally got was four (70-66) with :24 showing, when Crystal Lee drained her third 3-pointer of the extra period.
"So many times you see the home team make a big basket late and see them come out with all the energy," TCU coach Jeff Mittie said. "It was crucial for that first shot (in OT) to go in. When it did, we breathed a sigh of relief and played great."
UH senior Kylie Galloway, the WACs leading scorer, sat out the final three minutes of regulation and overtime because of light-headedness and discomfort. Her final points came with 16:12 remaining. She will undergo tests today.
"She wasnt feeling good at all," UH coach Vince Goo said. "I asked her if she needed to come out and she said yes. Kylie gives us offense and thats what we needed."
The Horned Frogs, who shot a miserable 27 percent in the first half, found more than half their offense from post players Janice Thomas (15 points) and Safaritova, a 6-foot-2 Slovakian who played with Hawaiis Dainora Puida and Janka Gabrielova at Weatherford College.
Safaritova went for a season-high 26, dropping 5-of-6 3-pointers in the second half. She was 2-for-11 overall in the first half.
"Safi, only her," Gabrielova said. "She shot and shot and shot. Last year, she always had like two 3-pointers, but not like today. She had a good game."
The Wahine helped, initially letting her take the 3 from the top of the key, then failing to adjust and losing her completely in what became a rare predictable TCU offense. Safaritova took a third of her teams shots (22 of teams 64).
"After she got that first three to drop, she wanted the shots," Mittie said. "In the first half she was tentative after she missed a couple."
Lee, who finished with 22 points, ended the Wahines second-half scoring drought with a 3-pointer that closed their deficit to 53-51 with 2:04 remaining in regulation. After a TCU turnover, Thomas stole the ball and went coast-to-coast to put the Frogs up, 55-51, with 1:22 left.
Karena Greeny cut the deficit with two free throws and Thomas missed the front end of a one-and-one. The teams traded turnovers and Hawaii got the ball back with :13 showing and called time. A Brossman pass from outside the arc found Atuaia alone underneath to force OT.
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