Hawaii basketball: Rainbow Wahine earn signature win over Texas; Warriors grind past Hawaii Pacific

Amy Atwell drove past Texas’ Sug Sutton in UH's 73-60 win over the Longhorns on Sunday. / Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell, Star-Advertiser

Going into Sunday, the last time the Hawaii women’s basketball team beat a Power Five team was two years ago, at Arizona. There was a span of five missed opportunities against Power Fives since then, including Saturday’s close loss to No. 12 North Carolina State.

The last win over a Power Five team at home? You have to go back a bit further, to exactly six years ago, Dec. 1, 2013, for a 77-71 overtime defeat of Minnesota, in which Shawna Kuehu hit the game-tying 3 at the end of regulation.

Well, Sunday’s 73-60 win over Texas wasn’t quite as dramatic, but it was just as meaningful for this Wahine team, which improved to 4-4. The Longhorns, now also 4-4, were ranked No. 22 at the start of the season.

Texas is the sixth-winningest program in NCAA Division I women’s hoops, all time — 1,092. It would not add to its tally Sunday.

“The girls took some motivation on the court today, and they played with it, and they played very engaged and I’m really, really proud of what they did,” said coach Laura Beeman, who was in her second season at UH for the aforementioned Minnesota game.

Amy Atwell poured in 24 points (6-7 3FGs, tying a program record), and Jadynn Alexander put in a career-high 17 as the Wahine surged from three down at the start of the fourth quarter to put away the Longhorns emphatically. Point guard Nae Nae Calhoun went 9-for-9 at the line among her 11 points, and she dealt a season-high eight assists.

UH started hot, hitting a few 3s right off the bat, and closed out the same way after the Longhorns took a 10-point lead in between.

“We always knew they were going to come back, they’re a good team, so we knew we just had to stay locked into our schemes and what we were doing,” Atwell said. “Basketball’s a game of momentum. I knew we were going to get it at some point or another.”

UH shot a surgical 10-for-19 on 3s. This from a team that entered the Heineken Rainbow Wahine Showdown converting just 20 percent from deep.


The Wahine had Courtney Middap still in action Sunday after she appeared to get injured at the end of Saturday’s loss to NC State. However, forward Myrrah Joseph missed her first game of the season.

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The Rainbow Warriors had the nightcap against Division II Hawaii Pacific. While it wasn’t nearly as rousing as the first game of the day, the ‘Bows pulled out a 58-41 win over the Sharks.

It started ugly, with little of the flow or energy of Friday night’s 85-75 win over previously unbeaten San Francisco. And it never really picked up from there, though UH was able to hold the Sharks to 30 percent shooting (and 1-for-16 on 3s). UH shot it better (45.5 percent), but had 17 turnovers.

UH got a combined 24 points from its backcourt of Eddie Stansberry (15) and Drew Buggs (nine).


As HPU coach Darren Vorderbruegge said of UH, “I’m not a psychologist, but it was a tough game for them. I watched the San Francisco game. I thought they played their best game of the year, UH did. And San Francisco’s good. And Oregon’s their next opponent. I thought they looked a little bit like they might be playing HPU between San Francisco and Oregon.”

Acting UH coach Chris Gerlufsen acknowledged, “As a coach, you always worry about, we had a big emotional win on Friday night. Short turnaround yesterday. You always worry about how your team is going to respond. And we talked about it with the team. As a staff, we pushed all the buttons we know how to push. I thought we came out, like our warmup, our preparation yesterday, was great. Our attitude, our energy in the locker room was great before the game. I thought we missed some easy shots in the paint to start the game. Sometimes those can be a little deflating, and I don’t know if that led to more of that. But I felt good about the group. We had a mature approach, we just didn’t play our best tonight.”

COMMENTS

  1. H-Man December 2, 2019 11:06 am

    It’s been a long time coming. Congrats to coach Beeman and the Wahine for the signature win.


  2. nomu1001 December 2, 2019 3:51 pm

    Saw a team that played hard for the entire game. Imho, that intensity and focus was missing in earlier games. What was also great is that players played unafraid and played to their potential. What they are capable of doing and doing it the whole game.

    Lets give credit to this coaching staff as well.


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