The Fresno state womenâ€™s basketball team combined for a season-high 15 steals in their win against the physical Hawaii Rainbows.
Point guard Amy Kotani did not dictate Hawaiiâ€™s offense. The full court press of freshman guard Emma Anderson dictated the Rainbowsâ€™ play. Anderson closely stalked Kotaniâ€™s movements not giving her an inch of space.
â€œShe guarded the point guard really well in the second half and I thought I created a lot of mistakes for Hawaii, it disrupted them,â€ coach Adrian Wiggins said.
The Rainbows ended the game with 25 turnovers, compared to the â€˜Dogs 15.
After a making first half adjustments, tight man defense lead to a Hawaiian scoring drought that lasted well over five minutes.
Despite never gaining a lead, the Rainbows fought back continuously, releasing emotional outbursts after many of their baskets. Forward Saundra Cariaga not only led the team in points with 17, but also led her team emotionally, by continually yelling at teammates in an attempt to fire them up.
â€œHawaii was just being aggressive, I donâ€™t think there was any malice meant,â€ Wiggins said. â€œI just liked our composure, I felt like we played well, we didnâ€™t get frustrated.â€
During the second half the level of physical play from both teams began to rise. Tension hit its peak when Anderson and forward Ebony Jones both grabbed the ball on Hawaiiâ€™s baseline. The refereess called the change of possession, and then Jones threw Anderson to the ground.
â€œI just remember I was going after the ball, next thing, I just remember I was on the ground,â€ Anderson said. â€œIt fired me up. You get hit, you want to get out there and sort of hit back.â€
â€œWhenever it gets physical I get fired up, and then she knocked the point guard down,â€ freshman guard Jalessa Ross said. â€œIâ€™m not gonna take that.â€
After the technical foul from the play, the â€˜Dogs would go on a run that would eventually widen the gap too far for the Rainbows to close, leading to the 20-point blowout win.
Wilson and Ross provided their team with career-high nights against the Rainbows. Ross started out the first half with 16 points, and finished with a career-high 20 points and 6 steals. Wilson, who finished with 16, also finished with a career-high 8 assists.
The team is on a seven game winning streak just two wins away from tying a school record of nine wins. This is the same team that not too long ago went six games straight without a win.
â€œPeople counted us out a 0-6,â€ Wilson said. â€œWeâ€™re not just going to stop, get big headed about it. Weâ€™re gonna keep playing, keep practicing the way weâ€™ve been practicing and hopefully good things come out.”
The teamâ€™s next two games are against San Jose, a team that has a 0-2 conference record, and a 1-14 combined record. Wiggins said that the team is just taking it one game at a time.