Rainbow Wahine Basketball Runs Away From HPU in Friendly Tune-Up

By: Paul Brecht

MANOA – Though it may not have been exactly the debut she was looking for, new HPU women’s head basketball coach Katie Novak had to have been pleased with how her team competed with in-state rival UH on Tuesday.

The Rainbow Wahine, the Division I Big West defending champion, started the game off a step slow defensively. The Sharks, helped by the outside shooting of the team’s guards, capitalized on the late rotations with four early triples to keep neck-and-neck with UH after one quarter.

Despite a large run to open a big lead from the ‘Bows that spanned between the first two quarters, the Sharks continued to fight into the final period. HPU won the final quarter, 18-9, to end the scrimmage on a high note.

Graduate transfer Abby Spurgin proved herself to be a key addition to the roster for the 2022-23 season. While chipping in a quiet double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds, Spurgin also altered shots in the paint by UH and helped the Sharks compete on the glass against the bigger ‘Bows.

Returning junior guard Haley Masaki also showed her ability to contribute to the team’s success. The shifty guard knocked down three triples Tuesday and consistently had a two-man game working with Spurgin.

The aggression in the second half trying to score the ball by Jordyn Jensen was a welcome sight to the Sharks. The sophomore wing chipped in 13 points on Tuesday. Her length defensively will also be an asset for Novak and the Sharks.

Other encouraging takeaways from the tune-up with UH included:

  • Competing well on the defensive glass against bigger UH
  • Ball movement from outside-to-inside and inside-to-outside created open, good looks
  • Early defensive success against Rainbow Wahine starters
  • Effort and buy-in to the concept of a team was also apparent, with the bench staying engaged with play (even as the deficit increased)

The Sharks will take on the Hawaiian National Team on Saturday, November 5th at 4:30 PM HST for the team’s second scrimmage. It’ll be the “Shark Tank” debut for coach Novak, the first time the new leader of the HPU women’s basketball program will coach game-like action at home.

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