Another winnable game, another early-season loss for the Hawaii women’s basketball team.
The Rainbow Wahine dropped to 0-3 for the first time since 2008-09 — Jim Bolla’s final season as coach — with a 58-50 loss at San Diego on Sunday afternoon.
Seventh-year coach Laura Beeman noticed immediately a different energy than from her team’s two one-point losses to begin the season.
“Right from the jump,” she said in a postgame phone interview from Jenny Craig Pavilion. “We had a couple players that just weren’t bringing any energy and their game did not come easy for them, and so they didn’t do the little things on both sides of the ball. When you’re struggling offensively, you absolutely have to do things defensively.”
UH briefly captured leads in the first and third quarters, then fell behind by eight with 4:19 to play. But point guard Tia Kanoa hit consecutive 3s and Julissa Tago got fouled with a chance to tie it up with 1:26 left. The junior guard missed both foul shots, though, and the Wahine would not score again.
Myrrah Joseph was called for a charge after UH rebounded Tago’s second miss from the line. Tago and Courtney Middap missed desperation 3s in the final minute.
Leah Salanoa led the Wahine with 11 points and four rebounds. Kanoa and Joseph scored eight apiece, while Kanoa also dished eight assists.
USD (1-1) dominated the backboards 38-24 with the Wahine playing a decidedly smaller lineup than the Toreros. Sophomore center Lauren Rewers, who appeared to hurt a knee in Friday’s 58-57 loss at San Diego State, did not play Sunday. UH’s other primary post player, Kenna Woodfolk, struggled to two points and four fouls in 19 minutes.
Beeman chalked up USD’s rebounding advantage to her team’s lack of effort more than a height disadvantage.
“Guards can put bodies on people and pursue balls just like post players can,” Beeman said. “That definitely affected us; we did not rebound well. But they also went to the free-throw line 28 times to our 11.”
Wings Lahni Salanoa and Amy Atwell have not been available yet this season with injuries. Beeman wasn’t sure when the three hurt players will return.
“Not having Lauren on the floor definitely hurt our rotation and our depth,” Beeman said. “We’re going into the game with only two post players, having to play Leah and Makenna a ton of minutes. I thought Myrrah Joseph was the bright spot today, playing great minutes and being very, very effective. But we gotta get healthy and we have to find some consistency whether or not we’re going to show up and play.”
Patricia Brossman led USD with 12 points and six rebounds. For UH, guard Savannah Reier scored her first five career points.
UH continues play at home against Portland on Friday.