Atwell leads Hawaii to first Power 5 win since 2017

On a massive Thanksgiving weekend for the Aussie women in college, Hawaii certainly had reason to be thankful for Amy Atwell’s three-point shooting in a 73-60 win over a Texas side featuring Aussie freshman Isabel Palmer.

The junior buried 6 of 7 from deep on her way to a season-high 24 points in just 26 minutes as the Rainbow Wahine stormed home after falling in an early hole.

Atwell’s first three of the game also formed the first scoring play of the contest, with another following shortly after as Hawaii jumped out to a 13-6 lead early in the piece. However, after putting up 13 points in the first three minutes, the Rainbow Wahine could add just three more points throughout the rest of the opening term. With Hawaii’s offence struggling, Texas put together an 18-3 run to end the quarter, with a three from Palmer seeing the Longhorns take a 24-16 lead into the second term.

The second quarter would start much like the first for Atwell, with two early threes setting Hawaii on their way once again. Holding Texas to just six points for the term was impressive enough on its own, but combined with a 15-point quarter at the other end, Hawaii took a 31-30 lead into halftime.

Hawaii may have held the halftime lead, but if there was one predictable thing about this game, it was that no lead was safe. That was evident as much in the early stages of the third quarter as ever as each team held the advantage before Texas jumped out to a six-point lead with just 90 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Up stepped Atwell once again, splashing home her fifth three of the day to draw Hawaii within three as the term ended with Texas’ lead cut to 48-45.

A 6-0 run fuelled by a couple of jumpers from Atwell re-established Hawaii’s advantage, and with Texas struggling to match Hawaii at either end, the Rainbow Wahine looked primed to finish the upset. Five more points from the Western Australian, including a sixth and final three of the day, put Hawaii up nine with just over three minutes to play. With the margin still sitting at 10 points heading into the final minute, Hawaii were able to pad their lead as Texas were forced to foul late in the piece. As the Rainbow Wahine went a perfect 8 from 8 at the line in the final stages, the margin ballooned to 75-60 for their first win over a Power 5 team since defeating Arizona in December of 2017.

Atwell would finish the game as the leading scorer, with her baskets coming at clutch moments throughout the contest, building momentum for Hawaii at crucial times. The 24-point outing was the junior’s fifth double-figure scoring effort in eight games this season, and just one point shy of her career high of 25, set last year against Cal State Fullerton.

  • Sam Simons also put on a three-point shooting clinic, leading Saint Mary’s to an overtime victory against Western Kentucky. All bar one of the Simon’s 25 points came from beyond the arc as the South Australian hit 8 of her 13 attempts from deep. A failure to score a point for the last four minutes of regulation saw Western Kentucky force the game to overtime with the scores tied at 67-67, but the Gaels regrouped to secure an 80-73 victory.

  • Abbey Ellis continues to cement her spot among the top Aussie freshmen with two more solid performances. After delivering 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 8 assists for Cal Poly in a 61-55 loss to Old Dominion, Ellis was the saviour for the Mustangs in their 57-56 win over Lamar. The freshman led all scorers with 20 points on 8 of 16 shooting, but the last 2 were by far the most important. With her team down by 2 in the final 10 seconds, Ellis drove to the hoop and managed to get a spectacular lay-up to drop for the game-winning basket, a fitting way for the Victorian to end her afternoon.

  • Tia Hay continued to lead the way for Santa Clara as the Broncos picked up a win over Montana before falling to Delaware in overtime at Cal State Fullerton’s Titan Classic. Montana were simply unable to stop the dynamic point guard as Hay poured in 25 points in a 68-58 victory, connecting on 3 of 3 from deep and 6 of 6 at the charity stripe in the process. The Broncos may have fallen 81-80 to Delaware in overtime the next day, but they wouldn’t have even made it that far if not for Hay. The former JUCO star finished with 17 points and 6 assists to lead the Broncos in both categories, tallying 3 of those dimes in the extra five minutes.

  • Sophia Locandro produced another efficient performance for UC Irvine, despite the Anteaters falling to an 83-75 loss to Denver. The freshman shot an impressive 7 of 8 from the field to lead her team with 16 points, but Denver would just edge away on the back of a 12-5 run to finish the game as 8-point victors.

  • Mississippi State travelled to Canada for the Greater Victoria Invitational, giving Chloe Bibby another stage on which to showcase her talents. The junior started the weekend with 10 points in 23 minutes as the Bulldogs dismantled San Francisco 73-38, setting up a clash with Green Bay. In an 83-58 rout, Bibby was outstanding, burying 4 of 7 from deep on her way to 18 points and 6 rebounds as Mississippi State moved onto a championship game against #3 Stanford. In a low-scoring affair, Bibby tallied 8 points as the Bulldogs fell to their first loss of a season in a 67-62 defeat to the now-#1 Cardinal.

  • Courtney Woods hadn’t quite found her range from deep prior to this week, hitting just 10 of 37 three-point attempts before Northern Illinois’ game against Tennessee Tech. However, the redshirt senior buried 4 of 7 from beyond the arc on her way to a team-high 23 points as well as 6 rebounds in an 82-74 victory, something that will have excited Northern Illinois fans and also struck fear into the hearts of the Huskies’ conference foes.

  • Monique Andriuolo obliterated her career-high for points in Pepperdine’s demolition of Division II side Cal State Los Angeles. Coming into the game with a career-best scoring effort of 14 points, Andriuolo was dominant off the bench in pouring in 22 points in a 79-56 win. The Victorian followed that up with another solid performance, and a far more important one, notching 9 points and 10 rebounds as Pepperdine eked out a 53-52 win over Eastern Washington in a thriller. That game also saw Brittany Klaman tally 8 points and 6 assists for Eastern Washington, whilst Jessica McDowell-White added 6 points and 9 rebounds.

  • Callie Bourne also posted a new career-high in points as Idaho dismantled Montana Tech 83-57. Having improved her career best to 14 points against Oklahoma State just two games prior, Bourne put up 20 points and 8 rebounds, shooting 9 of 9 from inside the arc in the process as the Bengals rolled to victory.

  • Emma Clarke came agonisingly close to putting her up second double-double of the season, leading Colorado to a 59-46 victory over Indiana State. The sophomore was in just about everything for the Buffaloes, burying 3 of 6 from deep on her way to 14 points and 9 rebounds, leading her team in both categories. The win moved Colorado to an impressive 6-0 start to the season as they look to improve on last season’s 12-18 record.

  • Eve Braslis impressed against the much-vaunted Boise State frontcourt, even as Utah Valley fell to a 77-69 defeat to the Broncos. Playing all 40 minutes, the sophomore tallied exactly 16 points for the third time in five appearances this season. Braslis shot 7 of 13 from the field, leading the Wolverines’ scoring in a valiant effort against a highly rated Broncos side.

  • Alex Sharp continues to be one of the most reliable rebounders around, demolishing opponents on the glass to help Wake Forest garner a pair of victories against in-state foes. The senior led the Demon Deacons in both points and rebounds in a 69-57 win over Elon, posting 17 and 13 respectively as Wake Forest won the rebound count 49-28. Somehow, Sharp outdid that rebounding performance in a 76-53 win over East Carolina five days later. The Demon Deacons monstered the Pirates on the glass, winning the rebound count 49-20, with Sharp collecting 15 of those boards alongside 7 points in 30 minutes on court. The win moved Wake Forest to 4-3, and also avenged last year’s 70-61 loss to East Carolina.

  • In an otherwise tough week for Portland, Alex Fowler stood out as one of the bright spots for the Pilots. With Haylee Andrews still out, Portland found things tough against Abliene Christian, falling to a narrow 76-69 defeat. However, Fowler finished with 14 points and 8 rebounds as her emergence as a leader continues apace. That effort was followed by an 18-point, 9-rebound outing against Loyola Chicago, but a fourth-quarter collapse from the Pilots allowed their opponents to force overtime before securing a 78-64 victory.