Vulcan women win in OT


The buzzer-beater missed this time, but that didn’t stop the University of Hawaii at Hilo women’s basketball team.

Another day, another hero for the surging Vulcans.

Jameia McDuffie hit four big baskets down the stretch in regulation and scored a game-high 22 points as the Vulcans capped a perfect road trip with a 72-64 overtime victory against Holy Names in Oakland, Calif.

Kirsty Imai added 14 points, including the first five in overtime as UH-Hilo (9-6, 6-3 Pacific West Conference) won its fifth straight.

UH-Hilo’s 4-0 swing through Northern California is a program first.

“Really proud of how everybody played on the trip,” UH-Hilo coach David Kaneshiro said.

McDuffie got her team into the OT, hitting four straight shots to spark an 8-0 run that tied the game 57-57 with 1:15 left to play in the second half.

“Jameia saved us,” Kaneshiro said. “She has a couple of big steals as well.”

The senior guard added four assists and four steals.

McDuffie missed what could have been the Vulcans’ third game-winning buzzer-beater on the trip, but Imai, McDuffie and Kirsten Shimizu made 3-pointers as the Vulcans took control in overtime.

“The ladies were really mentally tough and stuck together,” Kaneshiro said. “We didn’t shoot well, but we guarded well.”

Shimizu scored 12 points, and Kamie Imai added 10 points and nine rebounds for the Vulcans, who have used their streak to climb into a tie for fifth in the PacWest. The top six will qualify for the league tournament.

Renique Fitzpatrick scored 17 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for the Hawks (9-8, 3-5), who held a 58-42 rebounding advantage but shot only 33.3 percent. Yesenia Garzon had 13 points and 12 rebounds.

UH-Hilo shot only 39.4 percent, but it made shots when it counted, hitting eight of its last nine.