Texas comes up short in final game of Rainbow Wahine Showdown

Robert Trevino

The Longhorns’ trip to Hawaii for the Rainbow Wahine Showdown ended with a loss to the host team, as the Hawaii Rainbow Wahine handed Texas its second defeat of their three games in Honolulu with a 73-60 victory in front of the home crowd at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Texas came into Sunday night’s matchup with a 4–3 record, looking to finish the in-season tournament with a win after splitting their first two games in Honolulu, losing to No. 12 North Carolina State on Friday followed by a six-point victory over North Texas the next day. The Longhorns looked to be in control early, as sophomore center Charli Collier had 10 first-quarter points, giving Texas a 24-16 lead.

“It’s the possessions that we let get away from us,” head coach Karen Aston said after the loss. “We just don’t value possessions the way that you have to at this level. We got a good lead and I thought we were clipping along pretty good. We didn’t have a turnover, and then all of a sudden we had five in a row.”

Texas led by as much as 10 points early in the second quarter, but the Rainbow Wahine rallied thanks to four consecutive three-pointers, taking a one-point lead into the locker room at halftime. The Longhorns made adjustments and had an opportunity to seize control in the second half with a six-point lead, but once again allowed Hawaii to come back.

“I thought we played really well in some stretches and then we just didn’t seem to care that the other team was going to come back,” Aston said. “I think that’s an immaturity on our part, but it’s also a lack of discipline that really falls back on our coaching and myself. We’re just not where we need to be from a discipline standpoint.”

The game was Texas’ first of the season without a player earning a double-double. Senior forward Joyner Holmes’ school record seven-consecutive double-double streak came to an end as she put up 17 points and seven rebounds. The Longhorns shot a respectable 42.6% from the field, but turned the ball over 18 times. The disappointing performance once again came down to discipline.

“We just lose our focus. We play really good and then we don’t do the things that we’ve been doing to get the lead,” Aston said. “It’s a lack of focus, a lack of discipline, we have to continue to work on those things but it’s a real problem for us right now.”

The Rainbow Wahine took firm control down the stretch in the fourth quarter with an 8-2 run in the final five minutes that caused Aston to take a 30-second timeout with 2:08 remaining. The Longhorns trailed 53-6 at that point.

Hawaii’s redshirt junior forward Amy Atwell was the difference-maker with 24 points on 6-for-7 shooting from beyond the arc.

“They made shots, they made plays,” Aston said. “I thought (Atwell) really was a problem for us tonight. So we just gotta figure out how to guard the ball better.”

The Longhorns will return home for what Aston says is a big week academically for the team, before heading to Knoxville, Tennessee to take on the undefeated No. 20 Tennessee Lady Volunteers.

“(The team has) got to get home and catch their breath,” Aston said. “But we’ve got to figure out how to help them, it’s up to our coaching staff and myself to figure out how to help them be a better basketball team than we are right now.”