Berge’s career-high pushes Hawai’i Pacific past Chaminade on Senior Day

Berge’s career-high pushes Hawai’i Pacific past Chaminade on Senior Day

HPU senior forward Ella Berge lets loose a massive grin after knocking down a 2nd half 3-pointer. The Swedish forward posted a career-best 22 points in the final home game of her college career to lead the Sharks to a 70-67 win over Chaminade. | Photo Credit: Michael Lasquero, HSRN

Berge’s career-high pushes Hawai’i Pacific past Chaminade on Senior Day

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED FEB 29, 2024

HONOLULU – The Hawai’i Pacific women’s basketball team finished the 2023-24 home schedule on a high note Thursday night, sending off three seniors in their final home game for HPU with a thrilling 70-67 win over H1-rival Chaminade. Ella Berge, the senior 5-foot-11 forward out of Sweden, enjoyed her finest game as a Shark in her final “Shark Tank” appearance with a career-best 22 points to go along with 10 rebounds for her second double-double of the season and third of her career in the victory. Berge, alongside Keona Loftis and the injured Ashley Nunez, was honored pre-game with a ceremony for Senior Day.

After falling to the Silverswords back in January, it looked like the Sharks would suffer a similar fate early on as Chaminade raced out to a 21-13 lead after 10 minutes of play. The Swords hit 7-of-13 attempts from the floor (including 3-for-3 from 3-point range) in the first quarter as the visitors tried to play spoiler on Senior Day. CUH forward Sameera Elmasri found the touch from distance with a pair of triples – one just before the horn sounded from way downtown – and poured in nine points in total in the night’s first frame to carry Chaminade to an eight-point advantage. 

The poor start for the Sharks continued into the second quarter as Chaminade grew the lead as large as 14 with 3:55 left in the opening half after senior forward Emma Morris completed the Silverswords’ fourth “and-one” of the first half to make it 38-24. The insertion of forward Kalina Obrey for HPU and the increased defensive intensity sparked the Sharks’ end of the period as Hawai’i Pacific finished the half on a 12-0 run, cutting the Chaminade lead to two at the break, 38-36.

HPU continued the momentum after halftime into the third quarter, snapping off a 13-5 run behind 11 straight points from Berge as the Swedish forward drilled a trio of 3-pointers to quickly surprise Chaminade. The 3-point barrage put Hawai’i Pacific ahead for the first time all night, 49-43, and capped a 20-point turnaround in less than eight minutes of game action. 

CUH settled after head coach Michael Edwards called for a timeout, pushing back in front by one with 3:06 left in the third as freshman guard Amaya Washington hit a jumper to make it 52-51 in favor of the Silverswords. HPU responded in turn once again though, ripping off the final 2:44 of the quarter on a 6-0 run to enter the final frame leading by five. 

The Sharks took their biggest lead of the night just about three minutes into the fourth after Haley Masaki dropped home a layup to make it 62-54 before four consecutive points from Elmasri followed by a Washington 3-pointer brought the Silverswords back within one with 5:09 left to play. 

After a 1-for-2 trip to the foul line for Erika Glenn gave HPU a five-point lead with just over three minutes left to play, Chaminade would once again pull within one after Elmasri split a pair at the charity stripe with 57 seconds remaining in regulation. Glenn gave the Sharks some breathing room with a mid-range jumper from the top of the key with 35 ticks remaining and hit the second of two free throws with 1.5 seconds left to give a three-point advantage to HPU. 

Edwards would call timeout and advance the ball for one final heave at the horn to try and send the game to overtime but Hawai’i Pacific’s defense stood tall as Morgan Escobedo’s 3-point attempt went awry at the buzzer, clinching the revenge win for the Sharks. 

Sameera Elmasri led the way for Chaminade with 19 points and 12 rebounds, posting her sixth double-double of the year. Freshman guard Morgan Escobedo added 13 points, four rebounds and four assists in the loss for the Silverswords. CUH closes the season at 4-22 overall and 1-19 in PacWest play, the lone win coming over HPU on January 18. 

Ella Berge ended her “Shark Tank” playing career with an incredible outing, pouring in 22 points and 10 rebounds as HPU snapped a five-game losing streak. Haley Masaki and Erika Glenn each scored 10 points for the Sharks, showing a glimpse of what HPU fans could have to look forward to at home next season. 

While Chaminade’s season came to a close Thursday, Hawai’i Pacific will travel to UH-Hilo on Saturday to close out the regular season. The Sharks were 66-52 winners over the Vulcans back on January 20 and look to sweep the regular season series against their state rivals for the second consecutive year.