Leah Salanoa’s 14 lead Wahine to win

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SANTA BARBARA, Calif.— The University of Hawai’i women’s basketball team notched it’s second consecutive Big West Conference win with a 47-35 victory over UC Santa Barbara on Saturday afternoon inside the Thunderdome.
The Rainbow Wahine (7-11, 3-2) notched back-to-back road wins for the first in over a year when they accomplished the feat at Seattle on Nov. 12, 2017, followed by a win at Arizona a month later on Dec. 17, 2017. Saturday’s win is also the first time UH had notched back-to-back conference road wins since the 2016-17 season, when the ‘Bows knocked off UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 23 and Feb. 25. In terms conference feats, it’s only the second time in the last seven seasons UH has swept the trip to Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara.
The Gauchos (4-14, 1-5) have now lost five of their last six contests, with the lone win during the stretch coming against Long Beach State on Jan. 19.
“A few weeks ago I don’t know if we could get a win like this with how we struggled offensively,” said head coach Laura Beeman. “But this goes to show the grit this team has, and how well we can play defensively. Our defense won the game for us. It also shows our ability to overcome. When we have a road trip like this, where we fly into Los Angeles, bus to Cal Poly, then bus to Santa Barbara, it’s tough on us. But this team can overcome a lot, and they did this week.”
Defensive spoke volumes for both squads, but the ‘Bows spoke the loudest holding the Gauchos to single-digits in three of four quarters, while also keeping them to a season-low in scoring. It was also the first time UH held an opponent to 35 points or less on the road in over 30 years. The last time was on Nov. 25, 1985, when head coach Bill Nepfel led the team to a 68-34 victory at Sonoma State.
UH held the home squad to just 12-of-51 from the floor for 24 percent, and 0-for-16 from beyond the three-point line. The UH defense caused 16 turnovers, recording six steals, resulting in 16 points off turnovers.
During the first and second quarters, the two teams traded off with struggling offensive performances, as UCSB turned the ball over eight times in the opening frame, resulting in a 14-7 advantage for UH.
The second quarter proved to be a tough quarter for the ‘Bows as they scored a season-low of five points, leading a 21-19 deficit at the halfway point.
As both squads wrestled for the lead in the third quarter, it was a 9-2 run by UH to the end the frame with a 32-27 lead. Led by the scoring of senior guard Leah Salanoa with 14 points, UH held off the Gauchos’ attack in the final 10 minutes for the eventual final.
Joining Salanoa with double-digits points was Makenna Woodfolk as she added 10 points and six rebounds. In the final three minutes of the game, Woodfolk hit five of her six free throws on the day to seal the game for UH. Woodfolk has scored double-digits in 12 games this season to lead the ‘Bows.
UH will look to continue its winning ways going for a third straight win on Wednesday, Jan. 30 against UC Riverside at the Stan Sheriff Center,  tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. HT.

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