Something underpinned the well-executed Xs and Os and effective late-game execution for the Hawaii women’s basketball team on Tuesday night.
It was an important factor for a team that can’t lean into its bench much to start a season the way many can, because of some offseason and preseason injuries.
FINAL: #HawaiiWBB 61, San Diego State 58
Amy Atwell go-ahead 3, 17 points, 11 reb
Lauren Rewers 16 points, 10 reb pic.twitter.com/n72llTJN1c
— Hawaii Warrior World (@hawaiiwworld) November 6, 2019
Here’s what coach Laura Beeman said on the subject after Tuesday night’s 61-58 win over San Diego State, the program’s first win in an opener since 2015.
“This one right here,” Beeman said, nodding at junior center Lauren Rewers next to her on the postgame interview table. Rewers, who played 32 of 40 possible minutes and shot 6-for-10 from the field for 16 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks, gave her permission for her coach to say how much weight she’d lost since she arrived two years ago. “Fifty-five?” Beeman asked.
“Sixty,” Rewers said.
“Sixty pounds since she’s shown up as a freshman,” Beeman said. “Julissa Tago’s probably down 25. Barb (Rangel) is down 25. They come in and think, ‘oh, it’s an extension of my high school or an extension of my travel ball.’ They realize they can’t do what they need to do on either side of the ball. And you just don’t lose that kind of weight, and get strong, overnight. And so they’ve committed to it. And it paid off. Three blocks (for Rewers), one was down the stretch. Getting big boards. Julissa didn’t have her best game, but her drive to the basket, when she drew Adams and went over the top of her and was able to lay it in, that wouldn’t have happened last year. It would have been a turnover. So the conditioning is absolutely huge. And what’s more important to me, is the example that these guys are laying for their freshmen. You have to be in shape and play at this level.
“And so now when you look at our freshman class, you’ve got now Makayla Edwards, who’s lost close to 20, and she’s still going hard. Conditioning for women is very different than conditioning for men. And these guys have bought in. … You want to be a champion, you gotta look like one. And I think these guys have bought into that.”
Beeman said a series of “honest conversations” helped lead to that progress and credited team athletic trainer Erin Tillman, in addition to a team nutritionist, and their strength coach.
“The girls we’ve recruited and brought in have a different mentality. They want to win. And you win when you’re in shape,” Beeman said. “That’s the biggest thing that we’ve changed.”