(Hawaii Athletics) - The University of Hawai'i women's basketball team started off the month of December in winning fashion, taking down Idaho 69-61 on Wednesday night at the Stan Sheriff Center.
"Tonight was a nice win for us, and one we really needed," said head coach Laura Beeman. "I saw so many things tonight that get me excited to coach this team and what we can do. Now, we need to take this win and build off of it."
The Rainbow Wahine (2-7) put an end to a three-game losing streak and move to 1-0 in the month of December with Hawai'i Pacific paying a visit on Sunday. The Vandals (3-4) have dropped three of their last four games and are now 2-8 all-time when they visit the island O'ahu to play UH.
UH jumped out to an early lead riding the momentum set from an 18-2 run in the first quarter extending into the second frame for a 35-27 lead at the half. Junior forward Makenna Woodfolk controlled the offensive pace with 12 points in the first 20 minutes of action, hitting 7-of-7 from the free throw line.
Idaho would not stay down for long though outscoring UH 18-3 to start the third quarter for a 45-40 lead, but the 'Bows turned to a familiar name from the previous three seasons. Senior forward Lahni Salanoa made her season debut with seven points, but none of her points were more significant than the three-point bucket she hit in the latter seconds of the third frame to pull UH within one at 47-46.
The fourth stanza was all UH as the 'Bows put together a 13-3 run through the first four minutes of action. Senior guard Tia Kanoa led the second half surge and fourth quarter attack, dropping a season-high 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including 2-for-3 from beyond the arc while adding four assists and three rebounds.
UH leaned on Kanoa's explosive play, along with Woodfolk's durability for the eventual final, as Idaho only pulled as close as six points, till the eventual final.
Woodfolk led the way with a season-high 21 points and a team-high six rebounds. She finished her night at the free throw line by going 9-of-11 and hitting twice from three-point territory. She has now scored in double-digit for four consecutive games and seven of the first nine games this season.
UH will now look ahead to Sunday with HPU visiting the SSC for a 2:30 p.m. HT tipoff, and will mark the third youth game of the season. Visiting youth will not have to register before the game, but will enter through Gate A of the Stan Sheriff Center to receive their free ticket. Parents will still need to purchase a game ticket at regular price, and students will be asked to present a student I.D. upon entering.