UH's Hewitt settling in nicely


POSTED: Thursday, September 17, 2009

That she's having weird dreams should come as no surprise. Brittany Hewitt's classes this semester include “;Monsters and Freaks,”; the study of corporeal otherness in literature, film, art and the fairground.

But the on-court reality for the Hawaii freshman middle is more like another one of her classes, which discusses fairy tales for adults. After redshirting last season, Hewitt has settled into a starting role for the fourth-ranked Rainbow Wahine.

“;Redshirting was hard but I needed that year to get better,”; Hewitt said. “;I'm happy to be playing on a team with so many amazing players on the court.”;

The 6-foot-3 Hewitt doesn't hit the heaviest of balls among Hawaii's four middles, nor does she have the explosiveness of starting senior middle Amber Kaufman. Wahine coach Dave Shoji has compared the two to pitchers in baseball, where Kaufman throws the heat at 100 mph and Hewitt tosses a 72-mph changeup.

What is keeping Hewitt in the lineup ahead of sophomore transfer Lex Forsythe is her overall game and her production on both offense and defense.




NO. 25 PEPPERDINE (7-3) AT NO. 4 HAWAII (7-2)

        » Tomorrow and Saturday, 7 p.m., Stan Sheriff Center

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» TV: KFVE (Ch. 5)


» Tickets: $5 to $17


» Series: Hawaii leads 24-3




In the second match of this season, the Eagle High (Idaho) product recorded her first career double-double with 10 kills and 11 blocks against then-No. 25 Santa Clara. Hewitt had two hitting errors combined in her last three matches and leads the team in blocks with 38 (1.52 bps).

“;I think for the amount of game experience she's had, she has done a remarkable job,”; Shoji said. “;We brought her in as a player that we thought we could—hopefully—develop and she's progressing nicely.

“;She's giving us offense, blocking really well, making good decisions on the net and finishing the off plays. I wasn't sure she'd be where she is at this point of her career, but she's gotten better once the games have started.”;

Hewitt is used to standing out, literally. She was 5-11 in seventh grade and “;it was hard being that tall then,”; she said, “;but I got used to it and enjoy it now. It's something that makes me stand out.”;

There was no question that Hewitt did just that in high school. She was the two-time state player of the year and helped the Mustangs to three conference championships and two state titles.

“;For three years, she has been the most dominating player in the state of Idaho,”; Mustang coach Pau Schwager said after Hewitt was named the state's Gatorade Player of the Year for a second time. “;She was a game-changer.”;

Despite her credentials, Hewitt's college choices were fairly limited. New Mexico State came in hard, but when Hawaii called, she answered with a commitment.

“;Hawaii was at the top of my list but I was a little surprised, because I had a (knee) injury when the recruiting started,”; she said. “;I prayed on the decision and, when Dave mentioned the team had chapel before every game, that helped make my decision.

“;I love it here. And I'm connecting better with Dani (setter Mafua). We're having more reps together and I'm having fun in the games.”;

Said Mafua: “;She's gotten better in her execution, knowing where she is supposed to be, knowing the plays by heart. I trust her and that helps her confidence.

“;Physically, she has really good body control. I'm not surprised by what she can do. For the most part, we're connecting. She's easy to set.”;

Hewitt said the transition from Idaho to Hawaii has been fairly easy, but she does miss potatoes, a staple of her high school years. It's no surprise that her nickname is “;Spud.”;

Hawaii is coming off a big win over Stanford last Saturday and the key for the Wahine is to continue building on that heading into Western Athletic Conference play next week. The final preconference test is No. 25 Pepperdine tomorrow and Saturday.

“;They're another good team and another good challenge,”; she said. “;We just have to play our game.”;