Dominican kept the University of Hawaii at Hilo women’s basketball team from getting on track offensively and ultimately from gaining a little momentum.
Sarah Nelson scored 12 points and Stephanie Carnes made two big 3-pointers late in the game Saturday as the Penguins edged the Vulcans 57-55 at UHH Gym.
UHH (4-6, 1-3) was trying to even its Pacific West Conference record during the second of a three-game homestand. The Lady Vulcans fought back in the second half but couldn’t get a basket on two attempts during the game-ending sequence.
Senior guard Kirsty Imai scored 12 points and was the only player in double figures for UHH.
Leading scorer Kamie Imai grabbed 10 rebounds, but the junior was only 2 of 10 from the field for five points. Both Imai sisters collected five assists. Senior guard Kirsten Shimizu (nine points) shot only 4 of 14, while senior guard Jameia McDuffie had five points with five turnovers.
“I don’t think we handled their pressure on the ball very well,” UHH coach David Kaneshiro said. “Dominican did a good job and scrambled the game which is what they’ve done to a lot of teams this year.
“We had talked about how it. It was going to be a different kind of game than we have played and it was more to their liking in terms of pace and style of play. We have things in our offense to counter that but they did a better job defensively what they do than what we do offensively.”
Carnes, a 5-foot-1 senior guard, hit a 3-pointer with 2:45 left to play to put the Penguins ahead 54-52, a lead they never relinquished.
Shannon Rousseau made a free throw but missed a second that would have tied the game with 45 second left. After a Dominican timeout, Carnes made another 3.
Still, the Vulcans had a chance to tie or win it on the last possession after Jazlyn Afusia’s basket with 17 seconds to go pulled them within two points. Kamie Imai missed a jumper, and Afusia’s 3-pointer at the buzzer hit the back of the rim.
Guard Noelle Roldan scored 11 points for the Penguins (3-8, 2-1) and Carnes had eight. Nelson, a 6-4 sophomore center, was 6 of 12 from the field and grabbed six rebounds, as did junior Jasmine Cox.
Dominican, which made all four of its 3-pointers in the first half, led by as many as 15 early and eight at the break.
Midway through the second half, Kirsty Imai hit two jumpers and a pair of free throws to spur a 12-2 run. Shimizu capped the surge with a 3-pointer to give the Vuls a one-point lead with under 5 minutes to play.
Both teams struggled from the field. UHH shot 38.2 percent, a tad better than Domincan’s 21-for-59 effort.
The Vuls host Holy Names (7-5, 2-2) at 5 p.m. Monday.