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UH-Hilo women can’t find fixes in loss to Fresno Pacific

  • SHELLY BLUNCK photo
    Mandi Kawaha scored 22 points on 10 of 17 shooting Monday in UH-Hilo's 83-64 loss to Fresno Pacific.

The UH-Hilo women’s basketball team kept running players in and out of the lineup, looking to find a combination that would solve its two main issues.

In its last two losses on Oahu, UHH had a worse shooting percentage and fewer rebounds than Hawaii Pacific and Chaminade, and the Vulcans struggled again in both categories against Fresno Pacific.

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The Sunbirds ran the floor every chance they got, worked to create open shots and defeated the Vulcans 83-64 on Monday night at UHH gym.

Bree Alvarez ran around the defense and scored 27 points while Cassie Pisik had 15 points, and Ashley Cross added 14 points for Fresno Pacific (6-2, 2-1 PacWest), which shot 49 percent from the field.

“We never got set on defense. We were on our heels,” UHH coach David Kaneshiro said. “To their credit. That’s part of their game, drive hard and crash the boards hard. In the second quarter, when they got their separation, they got offensive rebounds and hit 3-pointers in transition.”

Allie Navarette scored 27 points on 7 of 14 shooting, and Mandi Kawaha added 22 points on 10 of 17 shooting for UHH (2-3, 0-3), which shot 35 percent and was outrebounded 42-39.

UHH had a hard time penetrating the lane and dishing passes and making shots. The Vuls had just eight assists against 16 turnovers.

The Sunbirds outscored the Vuls 21-13 in the second quarter.

While Navarette and Kawaha hit their share of shots, the rest of the team struggled. The other Vuls made just 4 of 29 field goals and scored a combined 15 points.

In the first half, the taller Sunbirds held the Vuls to 39 percent shooting from the field and outrebounded them 21-16 to bolt ahead 44-29 at the break.

Navarette scored 12 points, and Kawaha added 11 points in the first half. The rest of the team scored six points on 1 of 12 shooting.

Alvarez, who came into the game averaging 14.4 points per game, scored 16 points on 6 of 12 shooting.

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The Vuls trailed by 10 points in the fourth quarter, but Kawaha fouled out with 2:30 left, and UHH’s offense dried up from there.

Fresno Pacific buried 7 of 23 from 3-point range, attacked the rim and made 20 of 35 free throws while UHH made just 5 of 22 from long distance and buried just 17 of 29 free throws.