Cold Start Dooms Vulcans Against St. Martin’s
The University of Hawai`i at Hilo women’s basketball team arguably played its worst stretch of basketball all season to open Friday’s non-conference game against St. Martin’s of Lacey, Wash.
Five turnovers and two missed shots in the game’s first four minutes and five seconds set the Vulcans back. Despite tying the game three times in the first half, cold shooting and rebounding kept UH-Hilo playing from behind all game. The Saints picked up the 59-45 road victory in front of 233 fans at the UH-Hilo Gymnasium.
St. Martin’s (6-3) capitalized on each of the Vulcans’ first three turnovers, turning them into a pair of points each in the game’s first minute and 43 seconds. Waiakea graduate Kamie Imai got UH-Hilo on the board moments after the under-16 minute media timeout by grabbing a rebound off of a missed shot and taking it coast-to-coast for a layup.
UH-Hilo (2-4) struggled to score against the Saints’ combination defenses. Various zone defenses, full court pressure, and a disciplined man-to-man combined to hold the Vulcans to 25.8 percent (16-for-62) shooting from the field.
“In the first half, I thought it was how we attacked the zone. We didn’t do a good job so consequently, we didn’t get good shots,” Kaneshiro said after the game. “It wasn’t necessarily a thing of bad shooting, per se. It was just not getting quality shots that we would get if we were doing what we were supposed to.”
Danielle Kooyman hit a jump shot to tie the game at 19 with under six minutes remaining in the first half, but it would be the last time UH-Hilo would be that close with the Saints. St. Martin’s embarked on a 9-1 run over the next three minutes, led by Brooke Paulson, who scored the last six points in that stretch.
Paulson came off of the bench to score 15 points on 6-of-14 shooting. She also grabbed seven rebounds in 26 minutes.
The Vulcans trailed by 10 at halftime and stayed in that range over the next five minutes before St. Martin’s pulled away with a 7-0 run that spanned a a stretch of a minute and 18 seconds. Paulson book-ended the run with a pair of field goals while Liz Mills added a trey off of the bench.
The Saints’ lead swelled to 20 points before the Vulcans struggled to make one final push, led by Imai. The senior’s made jump shot started an 8-0 run with 6:12 to play that eventually cut St. Martin’s lead down to 12 points with 4:20 to play. Imai had a hand in each point of that run as she was credited with assists on three pointers made by Whitney Edens and Kirstie Williams.
“The execution in the last ten minutes of the game was better, but by then, even when we got good shots, we didn’t necessarily knock them down” Kaneshiro said.
St. Martin’s used a timeout to stop the run, and the Vulcans emerged from that break with Imai and Williams sitting on the bench. That ended the home team’s momentum as Chelsea Haskey, the Saints’ leading scorer, came out with a basket to push the advantage back to 57-43 with 3:43 remaining.
Haskey led St. Martin’s with 18 points on 8-of-16 shooting. She also grabbed seven rebounds, helping the Saints win a 47-41 rebounding edge.
“They killed us on the boards,” Kaneshiro explained. “In the zone, we’re gonna have a hard time boxing out.”
MacKenzie Mangino led the Vulcans with eight points in 22 minutes. She also grabbed seven rebounds. Imai, Williams, and Edens added seven points.
Along with the poor field goal shooting, UH-Hilo shot 4-for-16 from beyond the arc.
Saint Martin’s shot over 40 percent from the field and hit six treys. On the opposite end, the Saints shot just 3-for-11 from the free throw line.
Both teams will square off again Saturday afternoon at 5:00 p.m. on the UH-Hilo campus. The game can be heard on ESPN Radio and ESPNHawaii.com.