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by Tiffany Garrett, staff writer

The Lady Sea Warriors dropped two games to the University of Hawai‘i-Hilo Vulcans, 94-90 on Jan. 11 and 86-73 on Jan. 12 at the Neal Blaisdell Center.

Tip off for Saturday’s game was 5:30 p.m., and while HPU fought hard the first half, the Lady Vulcans had the upper hand for most of the game. UH-Hilo led for the first nine minutes until, with HPU trailing by one, Ashley Jenkins showed them that this wasn’t going to be that easy, sinking a jumper to give HPU a, 21-19 lead.

A layup by Hilo’s Samantha Nordstrom and a free throw by HPU’s Jocelyn Norris tied the game at 22-22. The Lady Vulcan’s Jessica Hanato followed with a layup and a free throw, giving them a three-point lead, only to be answered by Karras Blate’s two-pointer cutting the gap to one and a Norris layup gave HPU the advantage until 1:30 left, when Hilo’s Sheila Azevedo’s layup tied the game once again 34-34. A converted free throw gave the one-point lead to the Lady Vulcans. But, it wasn’t over yet as Jenkins hit a jumper to give the Lady Sea Warriors the point advantage to end the first half, 36-35.

A jumper by Azevedo started the second half and a three-pointer by Nesha Kimitete gave UH-Hilo the upper hand once again at, 40-36. HPU fought hard but just couldn’t come back all the way. The Lady Vulcans scored 51 points in the second half compared to the Lady Sea Warriors’ 37, ending the night’s game at, 86-73.

Azevedo led UH-Hilo with 27 points and 14 rebounds. Blate led HPU with 17 points and one rebound and Jenkins followed with 15 points and seven rebounds.

“ We definitely need to improve our defense and rebounding,” said Head Coach Jeff Harada. “On defense,” he added, “We have the ability to cause some havoc on the floor. We just have to be more consistent sustaining that defensive intensity for a full 40 minutes.

“We also need to do a better job blocking out and rebounding the basketball,” Harada continued. “When we play good defense and force the other team into a tough shot, we need to do a better job securing the rebound and not give up second or third shots.

“ Offensively we need more patience and better shot selection. We tend to get satisfied taking the first open jump shot instead of working the ball around or getting it inside to our post players for a higher percentage shot.

“ It’s a learning process and if we can improve in these areas, we’ll have a chance to finish in the upper echelon of the conference,” Harada concluded.


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