Reserves fuel Rainbow Wahine
The University of Hawai'i women's basketball team started its road trip on a winning note yesterday at Moscow, Idaho.
Janevia Taylor scored a game-high 17 points, and Hawai'i's reserve players made big contributions in a 66-60 Western Athletic Conference victory over Idaho at the Cowan Spectrum.
"It's a game we really needed to win," said Hawai'i coach Jim Bolla, whose team had lost five of its past six games, and had one of its top players suspended for the rest of the season for violating team rules. "It's just a great win."
The Rainbow Wahine improved to 12-7 overall and 3-5 in the WAC. The Vandals dropped to 7-12 and 3-5.
Hawai'i reserve forward Tanya Smith got her first career statistical double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds, and reserve swing player Dalia Solia added 16 points and eight rebounds.
Brittany Grice — Hawai'i's top rebounder and second-leading scorer — played just 20 minutes before fouling out with one point and two rebounds.
"We tried to go to our inside game early, but they took that away from us," Bolla said. "Then we got Grice in foul trouble, but we had other people step up."
The Rainbow Wahine got a combined 41 points and 24 rebounds from its five reserve players — Smith, Solia, Saundra Cariaga, Cassidy Chretien and Amber Lee.
Hawai'i trailed by as many as nine points in the first half, and eight points midway through the second half.
Hawai'i used a 10-1 run capped by Amy Sanders' free throws to take its first lead of the second half at 50-49.
After the Vandals tied the game at 56 on Jessica Summers' 3-point play with 4:04 left, Hawai'i closed the game with a 10-4 run. Taylor and Smith each scored five points in the surge.
Taylor's basket gave Hawai'i a 58-56 lead, and after Smith added a foul shot and a basket, Emily Faurholt's basket cut Hawai'i's lead to 61-58 with 1:45 left.
After a missed shot by Hawai'i, Taylor stole the ball and Smith converted a layup for a 63-58 Hawai'i lead.
"That was a big steal, it gave us a nice cushion," Bolla said.
Idaho closed to 63-60 on Leilani Mitchell's basket with 42 seconds left, but Taylor iced the game, hitting 3 of 4 foul shots.
Hawai'i plays at San Jose State tomorrow at 5 p.m. HST.