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by Kaylee Noborikawa, Sports editor

Following a 102-52 defeat against Grand Canyon University Jan. 3, the HPU women’s basketball team fared better against the towering Antelopes (five 6-foot-plus players to HPU’s one—Jocelyne Norris), but still lost their 13th game of the season, 92-49.

HPU trailed 5-13 early in the game, but the Lady Sea Warriors made a five-point run to come within six. After a flurry of HPU turnovers, GCU turned up the heat, igniting a 9-0 run.

HPU, unable to capitalize on several breakaway plays, shot 37.5 percent from the field in the first half but struggled 0-4 behind the three-point line. With the Antelopes shooting 54.5 percent from the free throw line, and hitting 45 percent of their field goals, HPU ended the half trailing 45-26.

GCU rolled over the HPU defense in the second half, scoring the first eight points until HPU’s Shannon Miyashiro attempted to stop their momentum with a lay-up. However, GCU’s Jennifer Cobb answered back with a three-pointer, giving the Antelopes a 58-31 advantage. They stretched that lead to 66-31 in a matter of minutes with an aggressive defense, out-rebounding the Lady Sea Warriors 46-34.

HPU was forced into 35 turnovers, compared to the Antelopes’ 17. Nonetheless, the Lady Sea Warriors found a spark in Constance Decaires, who shot 9-12 in field goals and was the leading team scorer with 24 points.

The remainder of the second half was similar to the first, with GCU dominating the court and overpowering the smaller Sea Warrior players. The Antelopes extended their lead to 92-49, but not before HPU ignited a nine-point run to end the game 92-58.

“ I think (HPU) competed pretty hard tonight, and I have no complaints,” said Head Coach Elizabeth “Liz” O’Brien. “These past two games, they played the best team basketball they ever played, so it’s coming along.”

The Lady Sea Warriors played both conference games without top scorer Ashley Jenkins, who was sitting on the bench for disciplinary reasons. “Actually I think that it’s been a benefit, because they’re learning that all of them can score and hopefully we can grow as a team,” said O’Brien. Jenkins is ranked second in the Pacific West Conference in scoring, averaging about 18 points per game, and leads the team in rebounds, assists, and steals. She will be suspended for one more game.

O’Brien believes that her team needs more experience in order to grasp their first victory and “continue to play team basketball.”

“ The two main things that we have to focus on is rebounding and taking care of the ball,” said O’Brien.

Season recap

In their home debut Dec. 15, the HPU women fell to Central Washington University, 70-62, despite Jenkins’ career-high 31 points and 10 rebounds. Miyashiro added 11 points for the Lady Sea Warriors. In spite of the loss, the HPU basketball team performed better than the Wildcats in several categories, out-rebounding CWU 37-34 and shooting 43 percent compared to the Wildcat’s 37 percent.

Despite facing the 14th-ranked team in Division II, the Lady Sea Warriors never gave up the fight in their 91-49 loss against Missouri Western in the Hoop-N-Surf Tournament Dec. 18. Jenkins and Miyashiro led HPU with 20 and 14 points, respectively.

The HPU women had a sluggish start Dec. 19 against the Missouri Southern Lions, who pounced on the smaller Sea Warriors 76-54. HPU shot 26 percent in the first half but came back in the second period for a 13-3 run. Jenkins led the Sea Warriors with 16 points and Thomas contributed 14.

On Dec. 20, the Lady Sea Warriors fell to Northwood University, 81-61. Jenkins led HPU with 19 points, all in the second half. Decaires added 14 points for HPU.


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