Basketball: UHH women down Multnomah again

  • JOE POELLOT/UHH UH-Hilo’s Nikki Miller works inside Saturday against Multnomah during the Vulcans’ 84-64 victory

Nikki Miller posted another double-double, and Mandi Kawaha was an efficient playmaker with 23 points, seven assists against just one turnover for the UH-Hilo women’s basketball team, which crushed Multnomah 84-64 on Saturday at Hilo Civic.

Miller scored 14 points on 7 of 10 shooting and grabbed 14 rebounds while Kawaha hit 3 of 6 from 3-point range in a rematch against the Lions.

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“It was a good job, but obviously a lot still to work on,” UHH coach David Kaneshiro said “Both ends were better than Friday. We were trying to step forward and improve. Defensively, our positioning was a little bit better. To their credit, we fouled too much. We have to work on that. The effort was good both days.

“Nikki did a great job, especially early. She gave us great presence finishing inside, offensive rebounding. That presence helps us along with Mandi’s floor game with her decision-making. That got us off to a good start offensively.”

In Friday’s 61-53 win, the Lions made 22 of 30 free throws and went just 1 of 13 from 3-point range. On Saturday, Multnomah was 22 of 26 from the free throw line.

UHH was right behind with 19 of 22 free throws; Kawaha was a perfect 8 of 8, and Jenna Waki, who scored 13 points, was 7 of 10.

Who are the Multnomah Lions?

They are an NAIA school from Portland and play in the Cascade Collegiate Conference and have not seen much recent success. They went 0-17 last season, 5-22 in 2019-20, and 11-18 in 2018-19.

NCAA Division II schools, like UHH, can offer 10 basketball scholarships. NAIA schools can offer eight basketball scholarships.

The woebegone Lions have three players from Hawaii on their roster in junior forward Kalena Gibson, sophomore guard Kylie Bagay, and freshman forward Kianna Ponce. All are from Mililani High. Gibson scored three points while Bagay and Ponce didn’t play.

Tim Bieri is in his seventh season as the Multnomah coach, and there’s little chance he’ll get fired anytime soon. He’s also the school’s associate athletic director and was the inaugural coach when the Lions started basketball in 2014. The Lions have yet to post a winning record in seven seasons.

Maddie Hill came off the bench and hit 3 of 4 from long distance to score 11 points while Alagza Portia, Dalila Rincan, Sequoia Wheeler, and Clare Faber each added 10 points for the Lions (0-6), who shot 33% from the field, including just 4 of 16 from 3-point territory.

Sara Shimizu scored 14 points on 5 of 8 shooting, including 2 of 5 from long distance for the Vulcans (2-0), who buried 47% from the floor, including 7 of 15 from beyond the arc.

“Offensively, the flow was better, and as a result we got better shots,” Kaneshiro said. “It’s been a long haul. We only had that one scrimmage, and we had to wait this long to play. It’s been a lot of practices. It’s a grind. To our players’ credit, they’ve worked really hard, so I’m happy for them to get two wins and play as well as they did.

“We got better shots because our offensive flow was better. Our subs’ execution was a little bit better, and we need them to continue to develop. They did a good job.”

Though the Lions are taller across the board, the Vulcans outrebounded them, 42-33. Kawaha, who’s just 5 feet 2, added seven rebounds.

Multnomah took advantage of its size early on with consecutive baskets in the post for an early 4-0 lead.

Then the Vulcans countered with a 6-0 run on a Waki layup, a Miller putback, and a Miller bucket in the paint.

The Lions went 0 for 5 from long distance in the first half, and some of the shots were way off: airballs, clankers off the rim with no chance to going in and flat-out bricks.

UHH backup forward Kayla Revelo, who scored four points in 5:18 minutes, scored in the paint, and Waki added a layup in transition for a 39-23 lead with 3:24 left until halftime.

Right before the half, the Vuls worked the ball in half court, missed a shot, but Kawaha was there for the putback and a 45-30 halftime cushion.

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UHH freshman backup guard Heaven Samayoa-Mathis, who scored six points in 14:29 minutes, hit a jump shot to cap a 6-0 run for an 82-59 lead with 1:47 left.

That 23-point cushion was more than enough room for the Vulcans to cruise to victory.

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