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.  

Hawai’i Pacific upset bid over #18 Azusa Pacific sputters in final minutes

Hawai’i Pacific upset bid over #18 Azusa Pacific sputters in final minutes

HPU guard Haley Masaki drives the ball for in a home game for the Sharks | Photo Credit: Michael Lasquero, HSRN

Hawai’i Pacific upset bid over #18 Azusa Pacific sputters in final minutes

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED JAN 23, 2024

HONOLULU — The Hawai’i Pacific University women’s basketball team’s upset try against PacWest-leader #18 Azusa Pacific (16-3, 10-0 PacWest) came up short Tuesday afternoon, falling inside the “Shark Tank” to the Cougars, 69-51. 

APU, who is unbeaten so far through 10 conference games, jumped out to a three-point lead through one quarter of play before HPU (5-10, 3-6 PacWest) exploded for 23 points in the second quarter to flip the script and give the Sharks the three-point advantage at the halftime break, 32-29. 

Azusa Pacific came out of the break scoring the first five points as guard Paige Uyehara and forward TyLee Manuel, who both saw foul trouble in the first half, both got on the board quickly to begin the second half and give a 34-32 lead to the visiting Cougars. HPU freshman Leslie Monica drained a triple on the following possession to put the Sharks back in front as the teams began to swap the lead through the middle of the third frame. 

Sharks’ superstar shot-blocker Megan Jones showed off her offensive game with a finish in transition that put HPU up, 39-38, with 5:18 left to play in the third quarter to regain the lead for the hometown team, the last time the Sharks would be in front. 

APU’s Uyehara drilled her second three-pointer of the quarter on the following possession to give snatch the lead right back, 41-39 to send the teams to the benches for the quarter’s media timeout. Azusa finished the frame on a 13-4 run to head into the fourth with a six-point lead. 

The Cougars upped the defensive pressure from there, outscoring Hawai’i Pacific 18-6 over the final 10 minutes to dispatch the Sharks, 69-51. 

All five starters finished in double-figures for the 18th-ranked Azusa Pacific Cougars, led by Manuel’s game-leading 16 points and five rebounds on 6-for-8 shooting from the floor. Despite the 18-point win, APU shot just 32.8% from the floor (23-of-70 FG) in the win but dominated on the offensive glass with 21 offensive rebounds. 

HPU was led by Megan Jones’ nine points and three rebounds while Kalina Obrey received “YeahU Player of the Game” honors for the Sharks for her six-point, eight-rebound outing, chipping in a pair of assists and a blocked shot and steal to round out her line. 

Hawai’i Pacific returns to action Thursday, January 25 inside the “Shark Tank” as they host .500 Point Loma. 

HPU drops Vulcans behind balanced scoring, dominant rebounding effort

HPU drops Vulcans behind balanced scoring, dominant rebounding effort

HPU drops Vulcans behind balanced scoring, dominant rebounding effort

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED JAN 20, 2024

HONOLULU — The Hawai’i Pacific University women’s basketball team put behind an embarrassing loss to bounce back in a big way, taking down the University of Hawai’i-Hilo Vulcans inside the Shark Tank Saturday afternoon, 66-52, as eight different Sharks chipped in six or more points. 

Coming off a brutal road loss to Chaminade, 77-66, that saw HPU shoot 66% from the foul line across 33 attempts and miss close-range shot after close-range shot, Ray Alvarado’s squad was faced with an important January home game against a rival to keep PacWest playoff hopes alive. 

It was visiting Hilo that opened things hot, going up 8-3 in the first four minutes of the contest before HPU’s Haley Masaki drilled a three on a nice kick-out from Megan Jones to calm the Sharks. Hawai’i Pacific stabilized, taking a one-point lead into the second quarter as six players had at least one basket for the home squad.  

That one-point advantage would carry through into the halftime break as the teams stayed close with one another by trading short runs and good, chaos-causing defense for a 32-31 game as the teams left for the locker rooms.  

HPU opened the second half with a renewed focus, pushing the lead up to eight points at one point as Jones, Kalina Obrey and Leslie Mojica turned the heat up with sweet shooting and pesky defense. UHH’s Jeniece Harmon’s jumper with 1:16 left in the third would bring the Vulcans back within six before a Jones free throw made it 48-41 as the game entered the fourth. 

Despite increased pressure from Hilo, HPU calmly handled business over the final 10 minutes by taking care of the ball and making free throws, a stark contrast from Thursday’s loss at Chaminade, to pick up the third straight win over UH-Hilo, 66-52. 

Vulcans’ guard Keirstyn Agonias led all scorers with 16 points and nine boards in the loss, also collecting four blocks throughout the day. Do-it-all forward Kamala Kamakawiwoole struggled against the length of Jones and strength of Obrey, shooting 2-of-9 from the floor to tally just six points and three rebounds before fouling out. 

Hawai’i Pacific was led by Maskai’s 11 points (8-8 FT) as the junior handed out five assists in the win. Kalina Obrey followed closely behind with 10 points and freshman Leslie Mojica finished with 9 points and four rebounds off the bench to help propel the Sharks to victory. HPU dominated on the offensive glass, grabbing 16 offensive rebounds on the way to the win. 

HPU returns to action on Tuesday, hosting PacWest leader #12 Azusa Pacific at 2 p.m. HT. 

Tune into all the action on 95.1 FM, AM 760 and streaming on hawaiisportsradio.com or catch the game afterwards on demand where most podcasts are found and under the “HPU Sharks” tab on HSRN’s website.