Raising Kane: Rylee Leads Yellowjackets To Semis
Rylee Kane made up a poor-shooting first half by Alisha Breen with 15 of her 19 coming in the opening 20 minutes. Photo courtesy of Azusa Pacific University.
Rylee Kane made up a poor-shooting first half by Alisha Breen with 15 of her 19 coming in the opening 20 minutes. Photo courtesy of Azusa Pacific University.

Friday, March 9, 2018

AZUSA, Calif. – Hawaii Pacific succeeded in taking the GNAC Player of the Year out of her game for three questers, but the Sharks didn’t figure on Rylee Kane.

The senior guard finished with 19 points, 15 in the first half, to lead the No. 7 seeded Yellowjackets to a 76-65 upset of No. 2 seeded Hawaii Pacific in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball West Regional at the Felix Event Center.

Kane connected on 9 of 12 from the field in the victory as the Yellowjackets shot 40 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. Senior forward Alisha Breen finished with a double-double of 21 points and 12 rebounds with 19 of her points coming in the second half.

Samantha Lambrigtesen led Hawaii Pacific with 22 points as she went 6 of 10 from the field and 8 of 9 from the free throw line.

With the win, the No. 7 seeded Yellowjackets (23-11) will face No. 3 seed UC San Diego in the semifinals on Saturday at 5 p.m. The Tritons defeated No. 6 seed Seattle Pacific in the first quarterfinal game, 64-51. Hawaii Pacific ends the season with a 26-4 overall record.

A closely-contested first quarter saw Montana State Billings lead for most the frame. The Yellowjackets took their first lead of the game on Vanessa Stavish’s lay-in three minutes in, and the two teams traded buckets until Lambridgtser’s three-pointer with 1:25 left gave HPU the 14-12 lead. Kane finished the quarter with a lay-in that tied it up at 14-14.

The Yellowjackets hit back-to-back three-pointers to open the second quarter, opening up a 20-14 lead on Taylor Cunningham’s trey a minute in. Lexi Prevost extended the MSUB lead to 32-20 with her three-pointer with 3:51 left, capping an 18-6 run. Hawaii Pacific closed the half on a 12-5 run, coming within four on a pair of Alysha Marcucci free throws with 49 seconds left before Kane closed the half with a jumper that made it a 37-31 MSUB halftime advantage.

Hawaii Pacific made a run to open the third quarter, coming within 42-38 on Marcucci’s three-point play at the 5:56 mark. After a two-minute scoring drought for both teams, MSUB made the lead eight points on a Kane three-pointer and a jumper by Stavish, but the Sharks narrowed the lead back to four on Gabriella Fotu’s lay-in with 2:33 to go. The Yellowjackets closed the quarter on a 6-2 run to take a 51-44 lead into the fourth.

After being kept quiet over the first three quarters, Breen took charge as she scored 14 of her 19 points in the final 10 minutes. She opened the period with a three-pointer that gave MSUB a 10-point lead. The Sharks brought their deficit to within six points on a couple of occasions, but MSUB left it to Breen to ice it when her two free throws made it 70-60 with a minute to go.

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