#7 Alaska Anchorage Dominates Rematch With UH-Hilo
For a second straight night, Alaska Anchorage put on an all-around clinic against the University of Hawai’i at Hilo, using a stifling defense and a disciplined offense to dominate the Vulcans by the score of 80-33 at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium.
A night earlier, Alaska Anchorage, ranked seventh in the nation, defeated UH-Hilo 92-39.
“It’s easy to get worn down on back-to-back nights, but we physically competed with them, and then especially when the score gets out of hand, it’s easy to get discouraged, so I was happy that we played hard all the way through,” said UH-Hilo head coach David Kaneshiro after the game.
For a second consecutive night, turnovers plagued the relativelynew UH-Hilo squad, playing without junior guard Alexa Jacobs for a second straight game because of a knee injury. After committing 27 turnovers a day earlier, the Vulcans committed 25 on Friday night.
Alaska Anchorage (10-0) also struggled to hold on to the basketball, committing 18 giveaways on the night, but while both teams struggled early, the Seawolves were still able to put the ball through the hoop and keep pressure on the Vulcans. Megan Mullings scored the first six points for the visitors to open up an early lead.
UH-Hilo (0-2) hung around throughout much of the first half, held up by freshman Kim Schmelz’ seven second quarter points. The newcomer from Rancho Murrieta, Calif. led the Vulcans with 14 points on 6-for-11 shooting and a pair of three-pointers.
“For a freshman, she plays with a lot of poise, and obviously can knock down shots, too,” said Kaneshiro. “We’ll need that tomorrow in a short turnaround, but I thought she played well for her first two games.”
The problem was that consistent offense was hard to find for UH-Hilo, thanks to a stifling full-court defense from Alaska Anchorage and an inability to work the ball towards the paint. The Seawolves scored the final 15 points of the first half, aided by a pair of late Vulcan turnovers that led to layups on the other end, leading to a 25-point halftime lead for Alaska Anchorage.
From there, Alaska Anchorage coasted the rest of the way and even found a rhythm from outside the arc. A night after joining the Seawolves’ 1,000-point club, Jessica Madison became a frequent visitor to the three-point line, draining five threes to score a game-high 20 points. Alaska Anchorage sank nine shots from long distance in the game.
Mullings scored 19 points on 7-for-10 shooting. Keighanna Engel, a transfer guard from Boise State University, scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds, while Jenna Buchanan added 10 points and five boards. Mid-Pacific Institute graduate Kiki Robertson scored four points and added five steals.
UH-Hilo shot just 26 percent (13-for-50) from the field and only went to the free throw line twice (2-for-2). The Vulcans were out-rebounded 40-24.
Kaneshiro’s squad will take on the University of Alaska Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m., also at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium. The game can be heard on ESPN Radio, AM 850 in Hilo and AM 790 in Kona.
Alaska Anchorage 18 22 18 21 – 80
Hawai’i-Hilo 7 9 13 4 – 33