Now both University of Hawaii basketball teams have dodged what appeared to be certain defeat at the hands of the Matadors from Cal State Northridge.
On Feb. 1, the men trailed CSUN by 17 in the second half, and came out on top 80-75.
Thursday, also at the Stan Sheriff Center, it was the women’s turn. They never led until the final minute, and then held on to beat the Matadors 70-66.
The Wahine (14-10, 8-3 Big West) won their sixth game in a row despite trailing by 11 at halftime, and then by 14 before a 14-1 run at the end of the third quarter put them within one point of CSUN.
The Matadors rebuilt an edge, but UH fought back again and finally got the lead when Amy Atwell hit a 3-pointer with 53 seconds left. (Atwell led UH with 17 points.) Then defense and free throw shooting — much of it provided by freshman guard Nae Nae Calhoun — secured the win against the Matadors.
“You’re not going to have a 14-point play,” coach Laura Beeman said. “We had plenty of time. (It was) let’s do what we’re supposed to do we have plenty of time.”
So the Wahine chipped away, and they won … again.
“These guys, every time they came to the huddle it was ‘What do we need to do? Let’s go,’ ” Beeman said. “It’s a mentality for us. It’s a mind-set for us that there is no panic.
“(People say) ‘It’s who wants it more.’ I think that’s a bunch of … stuff. … It’s not about who wants it more, it’s about who executes the game plan,” Beeman added. “They wanted to win just as much as we did. We just had some plays in the second half that helped us.”
The Wahine won despite being out-rebounded 45-26, and first-half defense Beeman described as “ridiculous.”
Myrrah Joseph did not play at all in the first quarter, but was a huge difference-maker on both ends of the court in her 21 minutes and 27 seconds of action. She scored 14 points with five rebounds and four steals. The Wahine were plus-23 on the scoreboard when the versatile Joseph was in the game.
“She’s a tweener. What Myrrah brings to the table, she’s hard to guard,” Beeman said. “She was huge for us tonight.”
Beeman also credited Joseph for helping to slow down De’Jionae Calloway, who scored 16 points in the first half, but just four more after the break when Joseph was assigned to guard her.