Pilots get commanding win over Hawaii 76-47 to open regular season
The Pilots routed the University of Hawai’i 76-47 in their first game of the season on Friday night at the Chiles Center. The Pilots showed a ton of upside in their commanding win and it was thanks to sharing the ball and a big game from the bench, as well as many Pilots scoring in double digits.
Defense was the name of the game for both teams as early season rust showed. The first scoring didn’t occur until nearly three minutes into the game when redshirt senior Pilot guard Rachelle Owens scored.
The Pilot's first quarter was highlighted by their shooting in which they shot eight of 14 from the field. The Pilots also capitalized on their trips to the line on their way to building a 22-8 first quarter lead. The Pilots had a scare in the first quarter when junior guard Darian Slaga came off the court with an apparent knee injury. Slaga would return to the bench with ice on her knee after a trip to the locker room. This would be a big loss for the Pilots moving forward.
The Pilots continued to shoot well from the floor in the second quarter as sophomore guard Kate Anderson continued to control the court, making tough shots and finding open players. The Pilots also felt a surge off the bench from senior Ashley Gray and freshman Maddie Muhlheim, who played extended minutes due to the injury of Slaga. Muhlheim looked more comfortable as the game went on, stepping up big after Slaga’s absence.
“My teammates make the transition more fun and make me feel more relaxed, I know they have my back and that allows me to play how I play and not get caught up in my own head,” Muhlheim said.
The Pilots continued to work the ball down low to get high percentage shots or draw fouls, capitalizing at the free throw line. The strong bench play and good defense led the Pilots to a commanding 20 point halftime lead of 43-23.
The Pilots kept attacking the basket in the third period as they grew their lead to 24 points. Freshman Pilot Josie Matz was a big help with six points in the closing minutes of the quarter as she continually attacked the basket.
The Pilots also displayed hustle for every loose ball and created turnovers that lead to points.
Diving for balls and tipping passes are some of the things that really gave the Pilots the edge.
“We tried to get three stops as many times as we could tonight and we really focused in on that and did a great job,” said senior Pilot Ashley Gray after the game.
The fourth quarter was no different as the Pilots kept pounding the ball down low and shooting a high percentage from the field. The Pilots scored 34 points in the paint and won the rebound battle 41-26. The bench provided a massive help as the Pilots bench produced 48 points including big numbers from freshman Josie Matz and junior Lisa-Marie Kaempf.
The win tonight was a solid team win and gives the Pilots momentum moving forward. With one game down the Pilots look to make winning a trend as they take on Willamette University on Sunday Nov. 12.