At last, the Hawaii women’s basketball team followed up on its principles in a winnable game.
In a battle of winless teams, the Rainbow Wahine closed out Seattle University for a 67-51 victory on the final day of the Bank of Hawaii Classic on Sunday afternoon at the Stan Sheriff Center.
UH (1-4) was in the game late in each of its first four games, but withered each time to start with four losses for only the third time in program history.
“We didn’t beat ourselves. I mean, that’s really what it comes down to,” UH coach Laura Beeman said in a postgame phone interview.
UH won the rebounding battle decisively, 37-23, over the Redhawks (0-4) of the WAC, with forward Kenna Woodfolk leading the way with eight.
Scoring was handled by committee, as Julissa Tago put in a team-high 13, Leah Salanoa fouled out with 12, Tia Kanoa scored 11 and Savanneh Reier contributed a season-high 10. UH shot 46.7 percent from the field and 80 percent from the line.
The Wahine trailed 16-13 after a quarter but used a 9-0 run to open the second and claim a double-figure lead. The lead was four at halftime and SU closed to within a point to open the third. The margin was only two when Tago and Salanoa hit consecutive 3s to launch an 11-0 run.
SU, a 2017-18 NCAA tournament team that lost some key players, did not get within single digits the rest of the way.
“Once we shared the ball and moved the ball, we were able to get some really clean, good looks, and our defense continued to hold without breaking schemes and making mistakes,” Beeman said. “That’s when we were able to increase our lead.”
Kamira Sanders led Seattle with 18 points and six rebounds.
UH continues play at home against American University on Friday, the first of three straight days of the Rainbow Wahine Showdown featuring No. 7 Stanford.