Women's Hoops Fall To No. 10 UCLA In NCAA Tourney's First Round
Courtesy of University of Hawai'i Athletics
The University of Hawai'i women's basketball season came to an end on Saturday, but not for a lack of heart and effort. Hawai'i (21-11) fell to No. 10 UCLA (25-8), 66-50, in the first round of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament at Pauley Pavilion.
Third-seeded UCLA scored more than half (34) of their total points in the paint and 20 off of 17 Hawai'i turnovers to eliminate the 14-seeded Rainbow Wahine who made their sixth overall appearance in the NCAA tournament—the first under head coach Laura Beeman.
"They are great athletes," Beeman said about the Bruins. "They are long and very athletic and do things to you that make you alter shots. We didn't play our A-game tonight but I am so proud of these girls. Effort is something I never had to worry about with them."
Sophomore forward Megan Huff led all scorers, tying her career-high with 18 points while pulling down a game-high 13 rebounds to post her fourth double-double of the season, but the Wahine shot a season-low 20 percent from the field, including a 4-of-23 effort behind the arc. The 'Bows, however, did outrebound the Bruins, 45-to-42 and UH's bench outscored their opponents' reserves, 33-to-21.
UCLA jumped out to a six-point lead to start the game until Marissa Wimbley caught fire, hitting a trey at the 7:14 mark for UH's first basket of the game. Wimbley hit two more 3-pointers in the half. But, the Bruins built their lead to 17 in the second quarter. The Rainbow Wahine began to crawl back to cut the lead to 12 (37-25) at the half. Hawai'i managed to cut the lead to 14 early in the fourth quarter, but the Bruins would hold off the 'Bows down the stretch not allowing UH to get any closer than 16 points the rest of the game. UCLA's 6-foot-4 forward, Monique Billings, swatted five of the Bruins' eight blocked shots, and guard Nirra Fields scored 11 of her 16 points in the second half.
Hawai'i's 50 points was the third lowest scoring output of the season.
Hawai'i made their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 1998 and finished the season as Big West Tournament Champions, winning 11 of their last 13 games of the season.