HONOLULU - Cal State Fullerton gave Hawai'i all it could handle Saturday night at Stan Sheriff Center, but the Rainbow Wahine were too much to handle as they shot 45 percent from the field to defeat the Titans 65-52.
Despite the loss, Fullerton (9-14, 5-5 Big West) still finds itself right in the middle of the conference race with six conference games left to play, while Hawai'i improves to 13-10 overall and 7-4 in conference play.
Senior Alex Thomas poured in a career-high 25 points off 5-of-11 shooting from the field and a whopping 15-for-19 from the free throw line. Junior guard Chante Miles chipped in with 17 points and junior Kathleen Iwuoha added seven points and a game-high 10 rebounds in the loss.
Hawai'i had four players in double figures as Briana Harris led the way with 14 points, including a perfect 3-for-3 from behind the arc. Senior Shawna-Lei Kuehu scored 12 points and sophomore Destiny King added 10 points, while grabbing eight boards and dishing out a game-high seven assists.
The Titans and Rainbow Wahine began the game trading buckets as the lead changed five times and was tied on two separate occasions. With 10:39 remaining in the first half, Fullerton held a 14-13 advantage after a pair of free throws by Thomas, but for the rest of the half the Wahine shooters found their shooting stroke.
After Thomas' free throws Hawai'i went on a 16-3 run over the next five minutes to take a 12-point lead, 29-17. The Rainbow Wahine then extended its lead to as many as 15 points in the half after shooting an impressive 50 percent from the field and converting 5-of-11 three-pointers.
Behind 12 points, including eight from the charity stripe, in the first half from Thomas the Titans found themselves trailing by 12 at the half, 37-25.
In the second half, the Titans made multiple runs to cut the lead down, but the Wahine were able to sustain their lead and hold Fullerton to 28 percent (8-for-28) in the second half and hold on to the victory. The Titans finished the game shooting 28.6 percent from the floor and shot a season high 35 free throws (24-for-35), while UH shot 45.5 percent and knocked down six three's.
The Titans now head back home to Titan Gym, where they'll prepare to take on Cal Poly on February 20 at 7 p.m. Fans in attendance will receive a mini Titans basketball for attending Thursday's contest against the Mustangs.
Notes: Tonight's meeting marks the 28th meeting all-time between the two programs and fourth since Hawaii re-entered the conference last year… The Titans are now 14-14 all-time against the Rainbow Wahine and move to 5-7 all-time at Stan Sheriff Center… Fullerton is now 12-14 against Hawai'i in Big West play and has now split the last four meetings… the Titans failed to convert a three-pointer for the first time since December 9, 2005 versus Fresno State…Thomas shot a career high 19 free throws and fell one short of the school record for most FT's made in a game and three shy for most FT's attempted in a game.