The University of Hawai'i women's basketball team (9-12, 2-6 Big West) is heading into the week coming off a victory for the first time in four games, looking to carry its momentum back to southern California, opening a two-game stretch in Thursday's face-off with Cal Poly (11-8, 5-2 Big West). Tip-off is slated for 5:00 p.m. between the Rainbow Wahine and Mustangs at the Robert A. Mott Athletics Center.
The Rainbow Wahine have grown more aggressive defensively lately and it paid off on Saturday, as Hawai'i rushed UC Riverside's shooting and forced 14 turnovers. UH has also seen crucial growth at the free throw line, shooting 78.2 percent (61-of-78) over the past three outings. The leadership has been clear, as senior guard Sarah Toeaina averages a Big West fourth-best 15.1 points and 5.4 rebounds, while sophomore forward Makenna Woodfolk continues a stellar month with 8.9 PPG and a team-high 6.2 RPG. However, the duo have also seen growing support from multiple sources. For starters, junior point guard Tia Kanoa is averaging nearly five assists per game, while putting up 8.3 PPG over the past three. Lineup changes have produced more time for new players, with freshman Amy Atwell averaging nine points the past three games and junior Rachel Odumu grabbing a team-high six boards against UCR.
Sitting second in the Big West standings, the Mustangs have seen an offensive boon since starting conference play, averaging over 77 points in January. The CP twins, Dynn and Lynn Leaupepe provide specific challenges, both big scorers with an attacking approach on the glass. Dynn leads the Mustangs with a BWC second-best 19.6 PPG, logging team highs of 5.5 RPG and 2.1 SPG. Still working back from an early injury, Lynn puts up 11.3 PPG with 5.4 boards. In addition, the Mustangs spread their minutes and scoring around, with 10 players averaging over 15 minutes, as well as seven players chipping in at leads four points on average. As a team, CP is shooting 40.3 percent from the floor, but allowing opponents 42.3 percent shooting and a 74.3 PPH average.
Although Cal Poly holds a slight lead in the series at 8-7, Hawai'i hopes to keep recent trends alive, earning wins in the last six meetings, including a 21-point victory last March at the Big West Tournament.
Hawai'i wraps up the two-game road stretch on Saturday at UC Santa Barbara, scheduled for a 12:00 p.m. HT tip-off.
Who: Hawai'i (9-12, 2-6 Big West) at Cal Poly (11-8, 5-2 Big West)
When: Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018 (12:00 p.m. HT)
Where: Robert A. Mott Athletics Center (San Luis Obispo, Calif.)
Live Stream: BigWest.TV
Live Stats: CalPolyMustangs.com