Rainbow Wahine battle to bitter end
• Photo gallery: Hawaii vs. Nevada women's basketball
by Stanley Lee
Advertiser Staff Writer
Even when a vocal rally wasn't enough, the perseverance by the Rainbow Wahine basketball team was promising.
Facing a double-digit deficit for most of the game in last night's 80-62 Western Athletic Conference loss to Nevada, Hawai'i kept attacking. Shots fell short, free throws rimmed out, but the communication remained.
"A month ago, you wouldn't have seen the chatter and the fight at the timeouts," Hawai'i coach Dana Takahara-Dias said. "It was very encouraging to see that despite the fact we were down, they continued to fight to the very end and that's very encouraging and the coaching staff is very proud of the team for handling themselves down to the end."
Hawai'i attacked and drove inside at Nevada, drawing fouls but failing to convert from the free-throw line. Hawai'i went to the line 39 times, but made just 22 attempts.
"We could've done a lot better at the free-throw line," said Keisha Kanekoa, who led Hawai'i with 17 points. "That would've kept the game a lot closer instead of going into halftime down by 10. We just missed a lot of chippies, a lot of close baskets, wasn't boxing out. We did, though, fight to the end."
Breanna Arbuckle scored 13 points and Allie Patterson added 11 for Hawai'i (7-10, 1-3 WAC) in front of a season-high crowd of 1,067 at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Arbuckle, a sophomore forward who had a career-high 18 points in Wednesday's win over Idaho, spent most of last night's game on the bench in foul trouble. She scored Hawai'i's first seven points of the second half before heading to the bench after picking up her fourth foul with 17:32 remaining and the Rainbow Wahine trailing 47-37.
"You see a lot of heart and courage on that one," said Takahara, who praised Arbuckle for coming back late in the game. "She's young, she's got a lot to learn."
Hawai'i cut the deficit to 49-40 on Leilani Galdones' basket with 16:45 remaining before Nevada (10-8, 4-0) pulled away. The Wolf Pack drove inside, shooting 49 percent, and found its touch from behind the arc.
Tahnee Robinson hit five 3-pointers and finished with 25 points and Nicole Williams added 21 off the bench for Nevada, which remained tied for first place in the WAC with Fresno State.
"That's as good as we can play offensively," Nevada coach Jane Albright said. "They hit us on a night that we had all of our cylinders going. I don't think it was their inability to guard, I actually thought they played great.
"The first four minutes was a tied game. They knew exactly what to try to do to beat us."
Hawai'i hosts Utah State (10-7, 2-2) tomorrow at 5 p.m.