With 14 seconds remaining in regulation, a game-winning three-pointer by senior guard Ashleigh Karaitiana allowed the University of Hawaii to escape the Thunderdome with a 63-62 victory over the UCSB women’s basketball team.
Down 57-61 with 1:01 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Gauchos managed to overcome the four-point deficit. UCSB regained the lead from a made free-throw by sophomore forward Chaya Durr with 24 seconds remaining, but was defeated by Hawaii’s drive and kick play call that resulted in Karaitiana’s clutch shot from behind the perimeter.
UCSB is now 8-15 overall, 5-4 in conference play which places it in fifth place of the Big West standings. Hawaii earned its fourth consecutive win to improve to 14-9 overall while wins over Cal Poly and UCSB landed the Rainbow Wahine in third place with a 7-3 conference record.
Karaitiana finished with 12 points on 5-7 shooting and went 2-3 from behind the three-point line. Tallying a game-high 17 points was senior guard Destiny King, who was most effective at the free-throw line making 9-12.
Though UCSB finished with one more made field goal than Hawaii, the Gauchos’ offense was unable to score a basket to open the game. UCSB concluded the first half 8-30 from the field and were 1-5 from beyond the arc.
It was a frustrating shooting night for UCSB’s top two scorers in backcourt members sophomore guard Makala Roper and freshman guard Coco Miller. They shot a combined 4-23 from the field with Roper ending with six points and Miller with five as the two were responsible for two of the team’s total of three three-point field goals. Yet, UCSB rebounded in the second half shooting 40 percent.
Unlike UCSB, Hawaii established its offensive presence and was successful as it shot 45.8 percent from the field in the first two quarters. It was most efficient shooting the ball in the first period of Saturday’s game. The Rainbow Wahine registered a 61. 5 shooting percentage and closed the quarter on a 9-2 run to take a 16-9 lead.
The scoring stretch extended to a 14-2 run to open the second quarter which handed Hawaii a double-figure lead of 22-9.
Despite the absence of its primary scorers, UCSB’s bench played a pivotal role in its gradual comeback prior to entering halftime. Junior center Je Zhe Newton tallied her first double-double of the season with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
As Hawaii was in route to widening the scoring gap between it and UCSB, a three-pointer by senior guard Dioseline Lopez energized UCSB’s performance on the court in addition to trimming Hawaii’s lead to a five-point deficit.
Scoring UCSB’s last six points of the second quarter was senior guard Jasmine Ware. She ended Saturday with 10 points in 29 minutes while going 3-6 shooting the ball and 4-4 from the free-throw line. Still, Hawaii entered halftime with a 31-24 lead.
Leading UCSB in its comeback effort in the second half was junior point guard Onome Jemerigbe. She shot a perfect 3-3 from the field in the third quarter to go along with three assists and six points. Jemerigbe led UCSB in scoring with 13 points.
Santa Barbara ended the third quarter on a 7-0 run which expanded into an 11-2 run in the beginning of the fourth quarter, resulting in UCSB taking a 45-41 lead. It was a high-scoring fourth quarter as the two teams combined for 44 points.
Three lead changes and two ties occurred within the fourth quarter. Although both teams exchanged baskets, it was Karaitiana that provided the edge for UCSB. Prior to her game-winning three-pointer, she had seven points in the quarter and made her only three-pointers of the game in the final period to help lead the Rainbow Wahine to their 63-62 victory.
UCSB will travel to UC Davis this Thursday, Feb. 11 and will face the Aggies in the Bren Events Center at 7 p.m.