HONOLULU — The University of Hawai’i women’s basketball team saw a comeback come up short in a 50-40 loss to Idaho in the finale of the Bank of Hawai’I Classic on Sunday at SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center.
The Rainbow Wahine (1-3) offense struggled from the field for most of the game and defense sparked a rally that cut a 13-point halftime deficit to four going into the fourth quarter. UH closed to within two with 4:46 left but Idaho (3-1) put the game away from the free-throw line, going 13-for-18 in the final period, and claimed the tournament title.
UH sophomore forward Imani Perez led the Rainbow Wahine with 12 points on 4-for-5 shooting from the field, including a 3-pointer, and added five rebounds and two blocked shots. Junior guard Daejah Phillips added 11 points off the bench with two 3-pointers.
As a team, UH shot 27.3% from the field, finishing 15-for-55 overall and 4-for-21 from 3-point range.
Idaho never trailed in the game and inched out to a 14-7 lead in the first quarter while UH went 2-for-12 from the field through the game’s first 10 minutes.
Phillips and Perez scored early in the second to cut into the deficit, but Idaho capitalized on another UH dry spell to go on a 16-3 run and took a 30-17 lead into halftime.
UH guard Lily Wahinekapu sparked a rally in the third quarter with a layup followed by a MeiLani McBee 3-pointer. The ‘Bows outscored the Vandals 12-3 in the quarter, holding Idaho to 1-for-17 shooting, and trailed 33-29 when Wahinekapu scored inside.
Offense was again scarce early in the fourth quarter before UH closed to 35-33 on back-to-back buckets from Perez. Asha Phillips’ layup with 4:13 left was Idaho’s last field goal and the Vandals did the rest of their scoring from the free-throw line to seal the win.
UH next hosts the three-day Rainbow Wahine Showdown set for Nov. 24-26. The ‘Bows open the tournament Friday against Air Force and face Idaho State on Saturday and close the weekend against Washington on Nov. 26.