Something very rare happened near the tail end of Sunday afternoon’s crossover contest between the Hawaii and Hawaii Pacific women’s basketball teams at the Stan Sheriff Center.
HPU, which suited up only eight players, had four players foul out. That meant the Sharks played the final 1:38 with only four players on the court.
Yep, 5-on-4 madness ensued at the SSC.
The bizarre occurrence did not swing the outcome — directly, at least. The game was already decided by the time the Sharks were a player down, but attrition to some of their best available players certainly added up in a game in which HPU, not UH, was the aggressor much of the time (and still only attempted three free throws to UH’s 34).
The Rainbow Wahine pulled away at last in the final minutes for a 66-51 victory that was much closer than the score indicated. The Division II Sharks had taken leads late in the second quarter and to start the third.
— Brian McInnis (@Brian_McInnis) December 10, 2018
The Sheriff split-allegiance crowd of 461 picked up on it pretty quickly when McKenzie Alton committed her fifth foul with 1:38 left and no one was available to check in for her. There was a legitimate buzz in the place.
Starr Rivera had picked up her fifth foul moments into the third quarter and teammates Makenna Gambee and Kaylee Berry were DQ’d earlier in the fourth.
“It was actually quite funny. It is what it is,” said HPU coach Reid Takatsuka, who hadn’t seen such a situation before. His team was down to eight available because of injuries to two of the team’s best players, as well as a team suspension for another player.
UH coach Laura Beeman said she had on at least one occasion at Mt. San Antonio College, but it was her opponent that was down a player each time.
(Note: I had not seen such a situation in a college basketball game, men’s or women’s, in person until tonight.)
HPU was down 10 points at the point of 5-on-4 play. UH outscored HPU 5-0 to finish the game and remain perfect against local schools all-time; the Wahine are 10-0 against HPU, 13-0 against BYU-Hawaii, 3-0 against Hawaii Hilo and 0-0 against Chaminade in official games.
The Sharks, though, were within striking distance, seven points, with under five minutes to play.
It was the second straight day a local Division II team pushed a UH basketball team to its limit. Hawaii Hilo came within seven points of Manoa, 82-75, on Saturday night.
Beeman and players Kenna Woodfolk (20 points, career-high-tying 15 rebounds) and Courtney Middap (career-high 19 points) resolved not to underestimate an opponent again.
UH improved to 3-7 heading into its holiday road trip, with UNLV (1-7) first up on Dec. 19 in the Duel in the Desert in Las Vegas.
HPU used the game as an exhibition and remained 3-4.