Lady Vulcans cap perfect road trip
The buzzer-beater missed this time, but the University of Hawaii at Hilo women’s basketball team was undaunted in overtime.
Another day, another hero for the surging Vulcans.
Jameia McDuffie hit four big baskets down the stretch in regulation and scored a game-high 22 points as the Vulcans completed a Bay Area sweep with a 72-64 overtime victory against Holy Names in Oakland, Calif.
Senior guard Kirsty Imai added 14 points, including the first five in overtime as UHH (9-6, 6-3 Pacific West Conference) won its fifth straight.
UHH’s 4-0 swing through Northern California is a program first.
“Really proud of how everybody played on the trip,” UHH coach David Kaneshiro said.
McDuffie got her team into the OT, hitting four straight shots to spark an 8-0 run that tied the game 57-57 with 1:15 left to play in the second half.
“Jameia saved us,” Kaneshiro said. “She had a couple of big steals as well.”
The senior guard shot 9 of 16 with four assists and four steals.
One of those steals by McDuffie gave UHH the last shot in regulation, but she missed what would have been the Vuls’ third game-winning buzzer-beater on the trip. But after shooting just 3 of 25 from 3-point range over the first 40 minutes, Imai, McDuffie and senior guard Kirsten Shimizu all buried 3s as the Vulcans took control in OT.
“The ladies were really mentally tough and stuck together,” Kaneshiro said. “We didn’t shoot well, but we guarded well.”
Shimizu scored 12 points and Kamie Imai added 10 points and nine rebounds for the Vuls, who have used their streak to climb into a tie for fifth in the PacWest. The top six will qualify for the league tournament.
Renique Fitzpatrick scored 17 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for the Hawks (9-8, 3-5), who held a 58-42 rebounding advantage but shot only 33.3 percent. Yesenia Garzon had 13 points and 12 rebounds.
UHH shot only 39.4 percent, but it made shots when it counted, hitting seven of its last eight.
The UHH women’s and men’s teams return home and host Brigham Young University-Hawaii in PacWest games on Saturday at the UHH Gym. The women play at 5 p.m., followed by the men at 7:30 p.m.
UHH 26 32 14 —72
Holy Names 25 33 6 —64
UHH 74, Holy Names 66: Junior guard Lucas Swanson scored a game-high 17 points and the Vulcans sent the Hawks to their eighth straight loss to salvage the final game of their road trip.
Senior guard CJ Brown added 15 points and a game-high eight rebounds as UHH (4-13, 2-7) led by as many as 17 in the second half — and there was no collapse against the Hawks, though they did manage to cut the lead down to five.
“We pulled one out,” Vuls coach Jeff Law said. “A long trip. Got one. One is certainly not enough, but hopefully we can build on that.”
Brandon Thomas, a 6-foot-6 junior forward, scored 12 points with six rebounds for UHH, while 6-6 senior forward Kiel Myers came off the bench to score eight. The Vuls shot 54 percent and used their height advantage for a 40-31 rebounding edge.
Kurtis Ong scored 16 points and Travis Fry added 15 for Holy Names (3-13, 0-8). The guard-heavy Hawks used 3-point sharpshooting to storm back from a 25-point deficit to force OT before losing at UHH on Jan. 7. But the Hawks were just 7 of 28 from beyond the arc Monday night.
UHH 37 37— 74
Holy Names 31 35 —66
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