Junior guard Courtney Middap overcame seven turnovers, knocking down a career-high five 3-pointers to help Hawaiʻi avoid a season sweep.
Middap’s game-high 17 points led the Rainbow Wahine (11-13, 7-4 BWC) to a 63-49 home victory over Long Beach State on Saturday night at the Stan Sheriff Center.
“It’s nice to go out again and play with some freedom,” Middap said of her performance. “I know that my teammates have my back out there.”
After winning the tip-off, sophomore center Lauren Rewers went up strong with a layup after a nice pass into the paint from Middap. Middap’s 3-pointer on the next possession made it 5-0 within the first minute of the game. Hawaiʻi held the lead for the remainder of the quarter as both teams traded shots.
An 8-0 run by Long Beach State in the second quarter gave the 49ers their first lead of the game. Hawaiʻi quickly retook the lead on a Middap 3-pointer at 4:22. The teams traded the lead over the next two minutes. LBSU made two free throws on two separate possessions to take a 23-21 lead with 25 seconds left to play in the half. Middap converted a 3-point buzzer beater to give UH a 24-23 lead at halftime.
The Rainbow Wahine had no trouble getting into the paint against LBSU’s zone defense in the first half, as excellent ball movement created high-percentage looks. Unfortunately, the team wasn’t able to capitalize as they finished the half shooting below 40 percent. LBSU claimed a 7-2 advantage over Hawaiʻi on offensive rebounds. The 49ers finished the half with 18 total rebounds, while UH trailed with 11.
Back-to-back strong driving layups by Middap and redshirt senior guard Tia Kanoa broke a 31-31 tie to give UH the lead with three minutes left to play in the third quarter. The Rainbow Wahine held the lead for the rest of the third quarter.
At 5:56 in the fourth quarter, LBSU guard Shanaijah Davidson converted a jumper to tie the game at 44-44. Over the last six minutes of the game, Hawaiʻi went on a 19-5 run to finish the day with a bang.
Some pushing and shoving broke out after a nice chase-down block by junior forward Makenna Woodfolk. Technical fouls by both teams canceled each other out. An additional unsportsmanlike foul was assessed on LBSU, and Woodfolk converted both of her free throws.
“I’m a shot blocker,” Woodfolk said of her block. “It was nothing new.”
It was the only block from either team throughout the game.
“It wasn’t the prettiest game,” head coach Laura Beeman said of the team’s performance.
Both offenses were sloppy all night, as the teams combined for a whopping 33 turnovers in the game. Including Middap’s 7 turnovers, the Rainbow Wahine committed a total of 20 turnovers.
Middap was one of three UH players to finish with double-digit points on the game. Woodfolk finished with 12 points, while senior forward Leah Salanoa finished with ten points. Ten of Woodfolk’s twelve points came in the fourth quarter, as she knocked down 8-of-8 crunch-time free throws.
Late in the fourth quarter, Middap took a hard fall on the court. Visibly shaken, she was able to walk off the court under her own power. She headed into the tunnel to receive further evaluation. She returned to the bench soon after, but did not reenter the game as she cheered on her teammates.
“I’m a little sore, but I’ll be fine,” Middap said of her injury. “It’s nothing I can’t handle.”
The win moves UH into second place in the conference.
Next up for the Rainbow Wahine is UC Irvine on Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center.