Rainbow Wahine trounce Spartans
• Photo gallery: Hawaii vs. San Jose State women's basketball
by Stanley Lee
Advertiser Staff Writer
Noticing past defensive miscues, the Rainbow Wahine basketball team adjusted itself to put the game away early last night.
Hawai'i allowed just four first-half field goals while going on two big scoring runs in a 63-49 win over San Jose State in a Western Athletic Conference game at the Stan Sheriff Center.
"We've been working very hard on defense, but primarily being in better position ," Hawai'i coach Dana Takahara-Dias said. "On the road, we watched game film and we saw ourselves not playing good defense because we weren't in good initial position, so we've been working quite diligently on our positioning on defense. Tonight, it was a much better showing and we're fortunate it was clicking tonight ."
Keisha Kanekoa scored 12 points for Hawai'i (9-12, 3-5 WAC) which moved into sixth place in the WAC standings and surpassed last year's total of eight wins. Only the top eight teams in the nine-team conference qualify for the WAC Tournament in March. Leilani Galdones and Julita Bungaite added nine points each and all 10 Rainbow Wahine scored in front of a crowd of 578.
"We opened up really well, it's probably one of the better starts all season," Kanekoa said. "I think we just had a hard time finishing out our games, but overall we did pretty good."
With the exception of two runs by last-place San Jose State (5-14, 1-5 WAC) at the beginning of the second half and late in the game when the Rainbow Wahine threw in a hodgepodge of players and no point guard, Hawai'i's intensity was sharp on both ends of the floor.
"We tried to emphasize effort and intensity and we tried to think that you take care of the little details," Takahara said. "The points will be fine. We didn't want to let up with our intensity, effort and focus."
After scoring 14 of the game's first 16 points, Hawai'i used an 18-2 run over a seven-minute span to lead 32-9 after Allie Patterson's free throw with 5:50 remaining.
Hawai'i's defense held the Spartans to just 4-of-21 shooting (19 percent) in the first half and forced 11 turnovers. Hawai'i, which shot 50 percent (14 of 28) from the field, led 37-13 at halftime.
"In the first half, we sat back and Hawai'i took it to us," said San Jose State coach Pam DeCosta. "We just weren't as aggressive as we needed to be and we came out flat, we didn't show up, and decided in the second half, we're going to start being aggressive on both ends of the floor and start playing basketball."
The Spartans opened the second half with eight straight points before Hawai'i responded to extend its lead to 27. A late run by the Spartans cut into the deficit when Hawai'i's lineup featured two post players and no point guard.
Chasity Shavers scored 16 points, Sayja Sumler had 11 and Samantha Marez added 10 for the Spartans.