March 15, 2001
HONOLULU - Hawaii senior Crystal Lee guided Hawaii to its first postseason victory ever, as she scored 23 points tonight in a 57-73 victory over Santa Clara in the first round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament, held at the Stan Sheriff Center.
The Broncos end their season with a 20-8 record, advancing to a fourth straight postseason appearance. The loss moves Santa Clara to 3-2 all time at the WNIT and its second straight first-round exit. Hawaii, playing in the program's first postseason game ever, improves to 24-7 on the season and will play the winner of tomorrow's Oregon State/Brigham Young contest.
Attendance was announced a 2,624.
Controversy surrounded the game as the Wahine played without senior co-captain Kylie Galloway, who abruptly quit the team on Monday. But Hawaii didn't show any indication of needing one of its leading scorers and the Wahine opened up a quick lead. Three pointers by Dainora Puida and Crystal Lee, as well as a steal and lay-up by Lee, put the Wahine ahead 13-5. Senior Annie Garrison scored the Broncos' first seven points to keep the visitors in the game. Another three from Lee made the game 33-18, marking her 12th point of the first period to lead all scorers.
Down 34-20 at halftime, the Broncos opened the second period with six straight points in the first two minutes, but then went the next four without a score as Hawaii returned the lead to double digits. The Wahine recorded only one field goal in the game's last five minutes, but sank 13 free throws to seal the victory.
Garrison led the Broncos with her sixth double-double of the season, registering 13 points and 10 rebounds. Junior Becki Ashbaugh added 11 points.
In addition to Lee, three other Wahine players posted double figures in scoring, while Puida led all rebounders with 11 on the night.
Although the Bronco defense held Hawaii to 36 percent shooting, Santa Clara was only able to make 36 percent of its own shots, and was outrebounded 51-35, the largest disparity of the season.
Additionally, Santa Clara was whistled for a season-high 28 fouls, compared to 15 called on the Wahine.