Fresno State holds off Rainbow Wahine, 78-69
A month after being ripped by 41 points in Raisin Country, the Rainbow Wahine basketball team stayed with Western Athletic Conference leader Fresno State into the final minutes before falling, 78-69, tonight.
The women’s game was watched by 779 at Stan Sheriff Center. It was the opener of a basketball doubleheader against Fresno State, with the men playing later.
Hawai‘i (9-13) fell to 3-6 in the WAC. The Bulldogs (18-5, 9-0 WAC) have won their last 10 and are off to their best start since joining the conference. They have won the last two WAC championships and are receiving votes in the Top 25.
Leileani Galdones led the Rainbows with 20 points and Keisha Kanekoa had 14, with eight assists.
Junior Jaleesa Ross, second in WAC scoring, had 22 points and seven steals to lead Fresno State. She moved into eighth in career scoring, passing ‘Aiea graduate Aritta Lane.
Galdones hit two free throws after the second of two technicals against FSU, tying it at 48 with 13:41 remaining. Fresno State outscored Hawai‘i 11-2 over the next five minutes and the ‘Bows could not get closer than six again.
The Bulldogs gave the Rainbow Wahine a rude welcome in their WAC opener a month ago, blowing to a 42-19 halftime edge before winning 83-42.
This time, Hawai‘i stayed with Fresno State possession by frantic possession in the first half. What UH could not handle was the FSU press, turning the ball over 16 times before the break.
Still, it trailed just 35-30, even after losing low post Breanna Arbuckle for more than six minutes after a collision. The ‘Bows also blew a breakaway and layup on consecutive possessions and were out-rebounded 21-16. More than half the Bulldogs’ boards were offensive and they took 14 more shots (38-24) than Hawai‘i.
Kaneokoa never came out and had a game’s worth of statistics at halftime, with nine points, five assists and three rebounds.