Wahine Whip Miners

HONOLULU - Hawaii built a comfortable lead early and never looked back in a 74-63 win over UTEP Thursday night at the Stan Sheriff Center. The Rainbow Wahine improved to 7-6 overall and 3-3 in the WAC.

UH played without one of its top players, but it certainly didn't look that way. Starting guard Janevia Taylor sat out after suffering a sprained right ankle during the team's shoot-around earlier in the day. Sophomore post Alofa Toiaivao got her first career start in place of Taylor and responded with a season-high 20 points and 11 rebounds, while Amy Sanders pitched in her first career double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Hawaii burst out of the gates and led from wire-to-wire. The Rainbow Wahine scored the first six points of the game, built a double-digit lead less than five minutes in and never let up. UH shot a season-high 56 percent from the floor and executed its offense to near perfection in the first half. Milia Macfarlane (14 points, six assists) and Jade Abele (season-high eight assists) stepped up in Taylor's absence, most of the time setting up Sanders and Toiaivao. The pair combined for 28 of team's 40 first-half points and the UH defense held the Miners to just 22 percent shooting, to enjoy a 21-point halftime lead. The lead ballooned to as many as 25 points in the second half before UTEP came alive with a barrage of 3-pointers. The Miners buried eight of their season-high 11 3-pointers in the second frame but couldn't mange to get within a single-digit deficit until the game's final minute. UH complimented one of its best offensive performances of the year with some solid defense. The Rainbow Wahine held the Miners to just 31 percent shooting and set a new school-record with 12 block shots, eight of which came from sophomore post Brittany Grice. Grice's eight blocks tied a school-record held by former center Christen Roper. UH looks to make it two in a row when they host Boise State on Saturday, January 22. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center.

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