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Rainbow Wahine take a step back in road loss at UC Riverside

Jan. 14—Two days after scoring a marquee win in Big West play, the Hawaii women's basketball team fell out of first place.

UC Riverside senior guard Jordan Webster finished with a season-high 28 points and outscored the entire Rainbow Wahine team by herself from behind the 3-point line, making six of nine attempts to lead the Highlanders to a 66-58 win on Saturday night at SRC Arena in Riverside, Calif.

Webster scored the most points against UH by an opposing player since LSU's Angel Reese scored 34 in last year's NCAA Tournament. It allowed UC Riverside (8-8, 3-3) to snap an eight-game losing streak to the Rainbow Wahine (7-7, 4-1), who lost for the first time in conference play to fall a half-game behind UC Santa Barbara.

"Too many turnovers and too many blown defensive assignments," Hawaii coach Laura Beeman said. "It's a loss. We're going to be fine. Our goal wasn't to go undefeated and so we're going to regroup and we're going to be OK."

The Highlanders shot 48% (12-for-25) from behind the 3-point line, while Hawaii made a season-low four 3s in 21 attempts.

UH committed 21 turnovers and never led in the fourth quarter after ending the third quarter trailing 48-47.

"We can't turn the ball over like we are," Beeman said. "We absolutely can't give up 3-point shots to shooters that you know are 3-point shooters."

Lily Wahinekapu and Olivia Davies had 10 points apiece to lead Hawaii, which ended the game shooting 42.2% (19-for-45) from the field.

Brooklyn Rewers added nine points in 11 minutes and Imani Perez had eight points, three rebounds, three blocks and two steals.

Hawaii trailed at halftime for the first time in conference play after going 1-for-13 from the 3-point line and committing 13 turnovers.

Webster, the Highlanders' leading scorer, gave the Highlanders their largest lead of the game at 27-14 on a 3 from the corner with 4:26 remaining in the first half as UC Riverside continuously worked the shot clock down to slow the pace of the game.

The Rainbow Wahine closed with an 11-4 run the rest of the way as Kelsie Imai hit Hawaii's first 3-pointer on its 13th attempt with 2:54 left in the second quarter.

Wahinekapu, who led UH with eight points at the half, converted an and-1 layup and then made one of two free throws at the end of the half to cut UC Riverside's lead to 31-25 going into the break.

Wahinekapu was a perfect 3-for-3 from the field in the first half, while the rest of the team shot 27.7% (5-for-18).

"We probably had the worst 3-point defense we've had all season," Beeman said.

Hawaii rarely led in the game but went ahead 41-40 on an Imai 3-pointer with 3:25 remaining in the third quarter.

Daejah Phillips followed with a baseline drive for a layup to put UH ahead by three, but the Highlanders outscored UH 26-15 the rest of the way.

Makayla Jackson sealed the game with a 3-pointer with 1:56 remaining to put UC Riverside ahead by 10.

"We missed some really crucial layups down the stretch and we missed some really crucial free throws down the stretch," Beeman said. "In games where you're coming from behind all night, not only is it a back-breaker on the scoreboard, but it's a back-breaker to your momentum."

The Highlanders are the first Big West team to score more than 50 points against UH this season.

Hawaii returns home to host Long Beach State on Thursday and UC San Diego on Saturday.