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Rainbow Wahine clinch top seed in Big West Tournament

Mar. 8—It's a lesson the two-time defending Big West champions are well aware of, and one worth a reminder on Thursday night.

It's a lesson the two-time defending Big West champions are well aware of, and one worth a reminder on Thursday night.

Hawaii held off a one-win Cal State Northridge team to clinch the No. 1 seed in next week's Big West Tournament when the Matadors couldn't get a shot off as time expired in the Rainbow Wahine's 65-62 victory at Premier America Credit Union Arena in Northridge, Calif.

MeiLani McBee led four Rainbow Wahine in double figures with 18 points and a season-high five 3-pointers as Hawaii (19-9, 16-3 ) won its season-best sixth game in a row.

It wasn't decided until the final buzzer, as the Matadors (3-27, 1-19 ), who scored 38 points in a 29-point loss to Hawaii in January, had a jumper to tie the game with four seconds remaining come up short.

Daejah Phillips, who finished the game 0-for-5 from the field, converted one of two free throws on the other end with two seconds remaining, CSUN managed to inbound the ball and got it to midcourt but couldn't get a shot off to potentially force overtime.

"You can't take anybody for granted. We have to show up and play, " Hawaii coach Laura Beeman said after the game. "I think we underestimated Northridge a little bit. I think they came out with a real scout mentality, which allows teams to play really relaxed, and I don't think we did a good job of causing them stress."

Lily Wahinekapu added 16 points and Brooklyn Rewers and Jacque David each had 10 for UH, which has won 10 of its last 11.

Rewers added a game-high 12 rebounds in her third game back after missing 11 games with an injury. Hawaii played without sophomore forward Imani Perez for a third straight game and rested fourth-year junior Olivia Davies, who will not return next season.

"I think the more time she gets on the floor and the more time we can work rotations and the people around her, she's going to get more comfortable, " Beeman said of Rewers. "I think her rebounding was phenomenal for us overall."

The Matadors nearly got half of the total points they scored against UH in January in the first quarter as Hawaii led 19-18 after falling behind by as many as seven.

Three-pointers by David and McBee gave UH its largest lead of the first half at 29-20 with 5 :19 remaining in the second quarter.

Talo Li-Uperesa's driving layup to start the fourth quarter pulled the Matadors within two at 49-47 Freshman Jade Peacock's steal led to a McBee 3-pointer that started an 8-0 run to push the lead back to 10.

McBee canned her fifth 3-pointer and David reached double figures in scoring to make it 57-47.

The Rainbow Wahine will look to win their 20th game of the season and 200th overall under Beeman when they close the regular season on Saturday at Cal State Bakersfield.

Hawaii's run of six consecutive tournament victories to win back-to-back conference titles began with a one-point win over the Roadrunners two years ago in the quarterfinals. Hawaii was the No. 1 seed and CSU Bakersfield was seeded ninth.

"That's kind of what we talked about as a coaching staff, " Beeman said. "That first game in the tournament is the one that scares me to death all of the time. I feel like once we get past that, we kind of get the win underneath us and at least we're going to play well. It's that first game that is always so challenging and I felt like tonight was very much that."

BIG WEST WOMEN Conference Overall W L Pct. GB W L Hawaii 16 3.842—19 9 UC Irvine 15 4.789 1 20 8 UC Riverside 12 7.632 4 17 12 Cal Poly 12 7.632 4 16 12 UC Davis 12 7.632 4 16 13 UCSB 10 9.526 6 16 13 Long Beach St. 8 11.421 8 13 16 UC San Diego 8 11.421 8 12 18 CS Fullerton 6 13.316 10 10 19 CSU Bakersfield 5 14.263 11 8 20 CS Northridge 1 19.050 15 1/2 3 27 Thursday Hawaii 65, Cal State Northridge 62 UC Davis 64, UC San Diego 56 Long Beach St. 75, UC Santa Barbara 69 UC Riverside 65, Cal State Fullerton 50 UC Irvine 65, Cal Poly 31 Saturday Hawaii at Cal State Bakersfield, noon Long Beach State at UC Davis Cal State Fullerton at UC Irvine UC San Diego at Cal Poly UC Santa Barbara at UC Riverside End of regular season HAWAII 65, CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE 62 RAINBOW WAHINE (19-9, 16-3 )

MIN FG-A FT-A R A PF PTS McBee 34 6-11 1-2 3 2 3 18 Wahinekapu 27 6-12 3-4 5 3 1 16 Rewers 20 5-13 0-0 12 0 3 10 Peacock 20 1-2 0-0 3 1 1 3 Thoms 28 0-5 0-0 1 0 1 0 David 20 4-8 0-0 5 1 2 10 Phillips 27 0-5 6-8 3 2 1 6 Imai 24 1-3 0-0 2 4 0 2 TEAM 4 TOTALS 200 23-59 10-14 38 13 12 65 MATADORS (3-27, 1-19 )

MIN FG-A FT-A R A PF PTS Li-Uperesa 33 6-10 6-8 6 1 1 18 Spriggs 32 3-8 4-6 7 2 3 10 Adams 30 4-9 1-2 7 1 3 9 Smith 31 2-5 0-0 2 1 0 6 Amundsen 25 1-4 0-0 3 1 4 3 Elsholz 28 5-13 2-2 2 2 1 14 Harvey 18 1-2 0-0 2 1 2 2 Nikishina 3 0-0 0-0 1 0 2 0 TEAM 1 TOTALS 200 22-51 13-18 31 9 16 62 Key—min : minutes played ; fg-a : field goals made-attempted ; ft-a : free throws made-attempted ; r : rebounds ; a : assists ; pf : personal fouls ; pts : total points.

Score By Period Hawaii 19 17 13 16 — 65 CS Northridge 18 11 16 17 — 62 3-point goals—Hawaii 9-30 (McBee 5-9, David 2-5, Peacock 1-2, Wahinekapu 1-6, Imai 0-1, Rewers 0-1, Phillips 0-3, Thoms 0-3 ). CSUN 5-14 (Smith 2-4, Elsholz 2-6, Amundsen 1-3, Li-Uperesa 0-1 ). Steals—Hawaii 5 (Peacock 2, David, McBee, Wahinekapu ). CSUN 8 (Harvey 3, Smith 2, Elsholz, Li-Uperesa, Spriggs ). Blocked shots—Hawaii none. CSUN 2 (Li-Uperesa 2 ). Turnovers—Hawaii 14 (Phillips 5, David 2, Imai 2, Thoms 2, Wahinekapu 2, McBee ). CSUN 13 (Nikishina 4, Adams 3, Amundsen 2, Li-Uperesa 2, Harvey, Spriggs ). Technical fouls—none. Officials—Zipporah Chase, Scott Osborne, Rochelle Bennett. A—175.