Wahine Basketball: Hawaii wins WAC opener

Jade Abele lay's in the game winner as Hawaii wins at Fresno State in WAC opener for both schools.

FRESNO, Calif.--Jade Abele scored the game-winning basket with 2.3 seconds left to give Hawaii a 48-46 win over Fresno State Saturday afternoon at the Save Mart Center. The Rainbow Wahine snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 3-7 with a win in the Western Athletic Conference opener for both teams.

Abele salvaged a near disastrous finish for the Rainbow Wahine. Except for a brief 17 second span in the first half, UH led for the entire game and led by as many as eight points in the second half. The Bulldogs (6-5, 0-1)) threatened to steal the game with two opportunities to take the lead in the final minute.

With the score tied 46-46 and less than a minute left, UH turned the ball over on consecutive possessions in its own backcourt, setting up Fresno State for a possible comeback win. But the Bulldog's squandered both opportunities. Aritta Lane missed two free throws with 30 seconds left, then after getting the ball back Fresno State turned the ball over trying to get the ball to Lane.

That set up UH and Abele with 12 ticks on the clock. Abele drove the lane on the right wing, was met by two Bulldogs and split their defense with a layup that bounced in with 2.3 seconds. Hawaii survived only after Jasmine Plummer's desperation 3-pointer from half court rattled out of the rim at the buzzer.

Abele finished with a game-high 15 points and nine rebounds and also added two blocks and two steals. Freshman Janevia Taylor, making her first career start, contributed four points, six rebounds and three assists in 32 minutes of action.

UH led from the get go as the team scored the first nine points of the game over a stunned Bulldog squad. Despite a scoring drought that lasted more than seven minutes, UH took a 21-18 lead into the locker room. Hawaii trailed just briefly, 19-18, when Channie Sutherland hit a 3-pointer with a little over two minutes left in the half.

Sutherland led Fresno State with 14 points, and finished with four 3-pointers to keep the Bulldogs within striking distance. Strong rebounding also kept the Bulldogs in the game as they held a 50-32 advantage over the Rainbow Wahine and an 18-9 edge on the offensive boards.

However, Fresno State could not overcome 29 percent shooting from the floor and 10-of-20 shooting from the free throw line. UH also held Fresno State's two leading scorers in check as Lane and Veronica Mack were limited to just six points, all by Lane.

The Rainbow Wahine next travel to Reno where they will take on Nevada on Monday, January 5 at 5 p.m. Hawaii time.

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