Early drought dooms Lady Vulcans as season ends


By MICHELLE GARDNER

Tribune-Herald correspondent

AZUSA, Calif. — The University of Hawaii at Hilo women’s basketball team has been subject to some first-half droughts this season. But the most recent one proved costly as the fifth-seeded Vulcans lost to fourth-seeded Dixie State 81-63 in a Pacific West Conference quarterfinal on Thursday afternoon at Azusa Pacific University’s Felix Event Center.

Hilo (13-11) only trailed 19-15 with 11:17 left in the first half, but it went 9:12 without scoring and never recovered. The Vulcans, who shot 35.4 percent (23 for 65) for the game, were 0 for 13 from the field with four turnovers in that stretch.

“Unfortunately we’ve had some first halves like that,” Hilo coach David Kaneshiro said. “We have moved the ball well and for whatever reason the shots didn’t fall.”

Players say they tried to keep their composure and play on, but realized digging themselves a hole that early was going to make it tough to rally.

“We stick together pretty well,” junior forward Jazzmyn Davis said. “We’ve had lots of games like that where we didn’t score for a while but we never get down on ourselves. We just try and keep playing.”

The Vulcans were not unfamiliar with their opponent. The teams played back in December with the much larger Red Storm prevailing 85-75, although they had a coaching change after that.

Dixie boasts a roster that features six players 6-foot or taller and it proved a decisive factor in the game, with the Red Storm finishing with a 42-30 advantage on the boards.

Dixie State (15-12) scored 40 points in the paint and another 22 from the free throw line.

Mandy Munns, a 6-3 senior center, tallied 22 points on 7-for-8 shooting from the field and an 8-for-10 showing at the line. Johnna Brown, a 6-1 junior, added another 18 points with eight rebounds as the Red Storm shot 54.9 percent (28 for 51) for the game, bolstered by a 13-for-21 (61.9) in the opening half.

Hitting some shots from the perimeter would have helped, but UHH connected on just three of 18 attempts from long distance. It also had 17 turnovers.

“They’re a very good team,” said interim coach Derek Dawes, who took over the Red Storm program in January. “They do normally shoot a little better. We did a good job of getting out and getting a hand out and taking those shots away.”

There were five lead changes before Dixie went ahead for good four minutes into the game.

A driving layup by Jameia McDuffie snapped the drought, but it didn’t make much of a difference as Hilo trailed 37-19 at the half and never threatened again.

They trailed by as many as 25 points in the second half.

“Those shot not falling today is harder because this was a playoff game,” McDuffie said, “It’s tough when you get down like that early.”

Ten Hilo players factored in the scoring. The Vulcans were led by McDuffie who registered 17 points and four steals. Davis added 14 with a team-high nine rebounds.

“This is disappointing but it doesn’t take away from what I feel about this team and these seniors,”Kaneshiro said. “They were unselfish. They worked hard. We challenged them every day and they responded.”

Dixie State advances to play top-seeded Hawaii Pacific at 1 p.m. today. The other semifinal will pit Academy of Art against second-seeded Grand Canyon at 10:30 a.m.

UHH (13-11)

McDuffie, Jameia 7-16 3-3 17; Davis, Jazzmyn 5-9 4-4 14; Spain, Elise 2-4 2-4 6; Imai, Kamie 3-11 0-5 6; Hanato-Smith, Thea 2-2 0-0 5; Rousseau, Shannon 1-3 1-1 4; Mata, Natalie 2-5 0-1 4; Imai, Kirsty 1-8 0-0 3; Afusia, Jazlyn 0-0 2-2 2; Shimizu, Kirsten 0-5 2-2 2; Corpuz, Jazmine 0-1 0-0 0; Lum, Mandi 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-65 14-22 63.

DIXIE STATE (15-12)

Munns, Mandy 7-8 8-10 22; Brown, Johnna 8-11 2-4 18; Hayes, Erica 4-11 1-2 11; Brugman, Jaymee 1-3 5-6 7; Liana, Kirsten Marie 2-2 1-1 6; Maxey, Chanel 2-2 1-2 5; Miller, Kaylah 1-5 2-2 4; Thomas, Becca 2-6 0-0 4; Gough, Shannon 0-0 2-2 2; Giles, Jordan 1-2 0-0 2; Spinks, Rachael 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 28-51 22-29 81.

Halftime — Dixie State 37, UHH 19. 3-point goals — UHH 3-18 (Imai, Kirsty 1-5; Rousseau, Shannon 1-3; Hanato-Smith, Thea 1-1; Mata, Natalie 0-1; Shimizu, Kirsten 0-4; Corpuz, Jazmine 0-1; McDuffie, Jameia 0-3), Dixie State 3-12 (Hayes, Erica 2-6; Liana, Kirsten Marie 1-1; Brugman, Jaymee 0-2; Miller, Kaylah 0-2; Thomas, Becca 0-1). Fouled out — Hawaii-Hilo Mata, Natalie; Dixie State, none. Rebounds — UHH 30 (Davis, Jazzmyn 9), Dixie State 42 (Hayes, Erica 9). Assists — UHH 8 (Shimizu, Kirsten 3), Dixie State 18 (Hayes, Erica 6). Total fouls —Hawaii-Hilo 23, Dixie State 16. Technical fouls — UHH, McDuffie, Jameia; Dixie State, none. A —242

Pacific West basketball tournament

Women

First round

Thursday

Academy of Art 77, BYU-Hawaii 50

Dixie State 81, UHH 63

Today

Semifinals

No. 2 Grand Canyon vs Academy-Art, 10:30 a.m.

No. 1 Hawaii Pacific vs. UHH, 1 p.m.

Saturday

Championship

Semifinal winners, 2:30 p.m.

Men

First round

Thursday

Chaminade 74, Hawaii Pacific 62

BYU-Hawaii 65, Dominican 64

Today

Semifinals

No. 2 Grand Canyon vs. Chaminade, 3:30 p.m.

No. 1 Dixie State vs. Dominican, 6 p.m.

Saturday

Championship

Semifinal winners, 5:30 p.m.

 

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