Rainbow Wahine hoops grit it out for road win over UC-Irvine
The University of Hawaii women's basketball team extended its road win streak to three by knocking off mid-major top 25, No. 19 UC Irvine 70-68 on Thursday night at the Bren Event Center.
IRVINE, Calif. — The University of Hawaii women's basketball team extended its road win streak to three by knocking off mid-major top 25, No. 19 UC Irvine 70-68 on Thursday night at the Bren Event Center.
The Rainbow Wahine (9-12, 5-3) have won four of their last five games and marks the first three-game road win streak since 2016. The Anteaters (14-5, 4-3) dropped their third game of their previous five and will host Cal State Fullerton on Saturday.
"We played well for three quarters and got a little tight at the end," said head coach Laura Beeman. "We came out with confidence, and that was huge, the fast start proved to us we could handle the pressure, setting the tone for the rest of the game."
UH came out of the gate with an offensive mindset scoring 20 points in the opening frame, and later taking a 36-28 advantage into the locker room at the half. Redshirt sophomore Amy Atwell led the attack with 12 points as she worked inside the paint, as well as outside the arc. Fellow Australian native Courtney Middapadded nine points in the first half giving UH complete control.
The momentum carried over as UH hit three, three-pointers in the opening five minutes of the third quarter, extending its lead to 14. The final 10 minutes proved to be a challenge for the 'Bows as the Anteaters outscored the visiting squad 25-16. Senior guard Tia Kanoa and Middap stepped up in the final 60 seconds as each hit a pair of free throws in the closing moments to hold off a surging effort by UCI for the eventual final.
As a team, UH stepped up big at the free throw line, beyond the arc, and on the boards. The 'Bows hit 17-of-18 from the charity stripe a mark of 94 percent while hitting 7-of-18 from three-point for 39 percent. On the boards, the 'Bows wiped the glass clean with a plus 10-rebound advantage at 43-33, including 17 offensive rebounds, resulting in 18-second-chance points.
"Everyone who played tonight stepped up for us," said Beeman. "To win these games, especially on the road, everyone needs to contribute. When they do we get results like we did tonight."
Atwell finished with a team-high 19 points, hitting 8-of-11 from the floor and 3-of-5 from three-point territory. Much like she has over the last few weeks, Kanoa turned in a well-rounded performance with nine points, seven rebounds, and six assists.
UH will head to Long Beach State for a Saturday afternoon matchup at 12:00 p.m. HT. The Beach has defended its home turf well over the last two seasons against UH, as the 'Bows have not won a game at Walter Pyramid since Feb. 11, 2016.