Williams Successful in Home Debut for UHH in Win over BYUH
by Josh Pacheco
Nagging injuries sidelined University of Hawai`i at Hilo transfer Kristie Williams for the team’s first two games of the season, which were both played at home.
After two standout performances on Oahu, Williams got to show the Hilo crowd what she is capable of accomplishing. The Sierra College transfer struck three times from beyond the arc and scored a team-high 13 points in UH-Hilo’s 80-53 victory over Brigham Young University-Hawai`i in a Pacific West Conference matchup.
“She’s a good shooter,” said UH-Hilo head coach David Kaneshiro after the game. “She’s got a quick release. When she’s hot, she’s capable of hitting a number of shots in a row. She does add a dimension, you have to account for her, which kinda opens up the floor.”
Williams hit a pair of three pointers in the first half while Thea Hanato-Smith and Alexa Jacobs each added another. The Vulcans finished the game shooting 6-for-12 from behind the three-point arc.
UH-Hilo (2-3 overall, 1-2 PacWest) did some of its best work on the defensive end, holding down a team that missed one of its best players, Brydgette Tatupu-Leopoldo, who is currently playing on the BYU-Hawai`i women’s volleyball team in the NCAA tournament. The Seasiders were held to just 27.3 percent shooting (6-for-27) in the first half and 28.8 percent shooting for the game.
“I thought we did some good things defensively in the first half. We didn’t handle the ball screens very well but we talked about it at halftime and our players did a good job adjusting so I was happy to see that,” said Kaneshiro.
All four of UH-Hilo’s double-digit scorers, including Williams, came off of the bench. Thea Hanato-Smith scored 12 points on 4-of-4 shooting from the floor. Backup point guard Alexa Jacobs added 11 points and a team-high six assists while also grabbing five rebounds. Hayley Reynolds scored 10 points and led her team with six boards.
“Certainly, we’ve got things to work on, but I think we’re getting better, so I feel good about that,” Kaneshiro said in his postgame radio interview.
The Seasiders were led by Danna Lynn Hooper, a graduate of Molokai High School, who scored a game-high 19 points while draining three shots from beyond the arc. Marquessa Gilson added 12 points, which were all scored in the second half.
BYU-Hawai`i fell to 0-6 on the season and 0-1 in conference play.
BYU-Hawai`i 19 34 – 53
UH-Hilo 42 38 – 80
Vulcan Men Run Out of Gas in Loss to BYU-Hawai`i
The University of Hawai`i at Hilo men’s basketball team executed a first-half strategy that eliminated its opponent’s biggest strength: size.
The Vulcans were unable to duplicate that plan in the second half and were worn down by Brigham Young University-Hawai`i’s size and shooting. The Seasiders handed the Vulcans their fifth consecutive loss, an 80-62 defeat Saturday in front of a season-high crowd of 558 at the UH-Hilo Gymnasium.
BYU-Hawaii (3-3 overall, 2-0 PacWest) defeated the Vulcans for the second time in a week. Last Saturday in Laie, the Seasiders pulled away to win 99-79.
“I thought our starters did very well. We were lacking some punch once we had to go to the bench,” said UH-Hilo head coach GE Coleman after the game.
UH-Hilo (3-7, 0-4) was playing shorthanded for a third consecutive game. Backup guard Jamario Clayton, a transfer from New Jersey’s Ocean County College, suffered an injury in the first half of last Saturday’s loss at BYU-Hawai`i. His scoring punch was missed by the Vulcans, whose bench was outscored 23-9 Saturday.
Coleman’s Vulcans were successful in shortening a Seasider lineup that features 6-foot-10 All-PacWest Preseason selection DeAndre Medlock. The Seasiders’ center was held to just six minutes in the first half because of foul trouble. Fellow forwards Jordan Ngatai and Tyler Tuliau were also held to a combined 16 minutes because of foul issues.
Pablo Coro picked up the slack for BYU-Hawai`i. The Chilean-born Junior cranked out six three-pointers and scored a game-high 18 points to carry the offsnsive load.
In the second half, the Vulcans couldn’t keep Medlock off of the court, and the senior center played his part in wearing them out. He scored 15 points and grabbed six rebounds while not missing a single minute of the second half as BYU-Hawai`i pulled away.
Where Medlock and his front line teammates made their mark was in gobbling up offensive rebounds. The Seasiders picked up 21 offensive boards in the game and finished with a total rebounding advantage of 44-28.
UH-Hilo forward Brandon Thomas battled through foul trouble to lead the Vulcans with 15 points and five rebounds. Darnell Williams added 13 points while Derek Owens scored 12 points, grabbed five rebounds, and hit two treys.
BYU-Hawai`i point guard Robbie Mitchell added 16 points and nine rebounds while Luke Aston came off of the bench to score 10 points, grab eight rebounds, and hit two three-pointers.
The Vulcans, who were also without forward Kevin Dancer for undisclosed reasons, don’t play another game until Jan. 2 when Dixie State travels to Hilo for a PacWest Conference matchup.
BYU-Hawai`i 38 42 – 80
UH-Hilo 35 27 – 62