Two areas in particular have been season-long concerns for the Hawaii women’s basketball team.
Excessive fouls committed (nearly 20 per game) and excessive turnovers (16.8).
The Rainbow Wahine drastically cut down on both in stunning two-time defending Big West champion UC Davis, 65-60, on Saturday afternoon at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Their nine turnovers were a season low, as were their 12 fouls. UH (5-10, 1-1 BWC) also won the rebounding battle by nine, as it was bolstered by eight boards (including a couple of huge offensive ones late in the game) by point guard Tia Kanoa and 10 from Leah Salanoa.
“It felt so good,” junior forward Kenna Woodfolk said of beating an Aggies team (9-6, 1-1) that’d won four straight in the head-to-head series. “The accountability that we held each other, it went up, and we had personal things that we had to work on, and we had our team things that we had to work on. And we focused on that this week, and it clearly showed.”
Davis’ 2,000-point scoring machine, forward Morgan Bertsch, poured in 29 points — but on 28 shots. She only attempted three free throws.
Woodfolk played big in the matchup against Bertsch, scoring 19 on 6-for-10 shooting, and holding firm down the stretch when Bersch missed her last four shots. That was a big part of the Wahine outscoring the Aggies 18-4 to close the game after trailing 56-47 with 7:26 to play.
“Besides the tangible things, like not fouling and taking care of the ball and getting on the boards, it was ‘do your job,’ the next-play mentality, and focus,” coach Laura Beeman said. “I felt like each one of these young ladies, regardless of the situation, did the tangible things … but they also did the intangible things, and I think that’s important moving us forward. Those things have to be a constant theme with this group.”
UH next hosts Cal State Northridge on Thursday in its third straight one-game week.