Hawai’i Pacific’s Olivia West is instantly impacting the #2 Sharks after having to redshirt last season

Sports

Olivia West leads HPU in scoring, averaging 20.2 PTS/GM this year

Hawai’i Pacific Women’s Basketball team continues to make history. The winning streak is at a new program record 34 games after beating Chaminade for the 4th time in eight days last night. It all started last season when the Sharks rolled off 29 straight wins after losing to the University of Hawai’i Rainbow Wahine in a exhibition game to open the season.

HPU did it all without highly touted DI Utah State transfer Olivia West who had to sit out after being informed some of her credits didn’t carryover. Instead the senior would had to redshirt to get the academics in line.

“Having that year to sit out, practice every day, and learn the offense. I came in this year and I already learned the offense. I already knew how Coach Reid coached,” West told KHON2 sports reporter, Alan Hoshida, “It was definitely a blessing and made it easier in some ways to step into that role and be able to thrive in some ways because I already had that year under my belt. I knew all the aspects of the team.”

After more than 600 days since playing her last college basketball game, West made her debut for the Sharks on a historic night in December.

“Definitely mix emotions. I was so excited to play but obviously very nervous. Personally, I hadn’t play a game in nearly over a year and half which is quite a long time to not play a serious basketball game. It was awesome. We have a great team this year. We knocked off U.H. for the 1st time in history, so it went fairly well I guess.”

Olivia scored 22 points with five 3-pointers in the opening night upset of the Wahine. It was a sign of things to come. She leads HPU averaging 20.2 points-per-game this year to go with over 7 rebounds. Last week, the Aussie registered three straight double-doubles on her way to a third PacWest Hawai’i POD Player of the Week award.

“That’s just completely my teammates and how brilliant they are at what they do. Amy [Baum] consistently finds the ball in my hands when I’m open. I think we play really well together. We have so much depth at each position that it honestly makes it easy for me. It’s such a fun style of play. Coach continuously says to let the ball fly. You don’t have that many coaches that who will consistently tell you ‘if you’re open shoot it every single time.’ It’s obviously a lot of fun.”

Coach Reid Takatsuka’s trust continues to pay off in the record books. Earlier this season, the veteran head coach registered his 200th career win. The Sharks are up to #2 in the D2SIDA polls and the Hawai’i PacWest POD auto bid to the DII NCAA Regionals is nearly locked up. However, the real goal ends in Columbus, Ohio on March 26th.

“We have the longest winning streak in the country. That’s pretty impressive, but I don’t think we’re thinking about it going into each game. We want to sweep this Hawai’i POD, so that we get that automatic bid to Regionals, then just continue to take one game at a time. Hopefully, make it as far as can. Obviously, the goal is a National Championship, so we have to keep winning for that.”

West and the rest of the HPU women are off this week before heading to the Big Island to take on Hilo for a two game set on February 24th and 25th. Tip-off for both of those games is set for 1:30 pm on Friday and noon on Saturday.

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