H A W A I I _ S P O R T S


Wednesday, November 10, 1999



Evers looks like
point guard

Senior Kyla Evers is still the leading candidate for the starting point guard position with seven more preseason practice sessions left before the Hawaii women's basketball team opens its 1999-2000 season Nov. 19.

The 5-foot-8 Evers was a point guard her whole life before enrolling at UH as a freshman.

When Evers arrived here, she couldn't keep up with BJ (Itoman) so UH head coach Vince Goo said she was a 2 (shooting guard). Now, Evers is adjusting to being back at the point.

"It's going OK. It's different," she said. "Sometimes I forget I need to get the ball and call a play. And, I really have to talk more than I ever did as a 2."

Last week Evers caught a knee on her right calf in practice which caused a deep bruise. She missed three days of workouts, but was back on the court Saturday.

"The injury is getting better. It's just a little tight," Evers said. "I may have come back to practice too early, but I was dying on the sideline. I knew the longer I sat out, the worse condition I would be in."

Battling for the No. 2 point guard are senior Maj Forsberg and freshman Michelle Gabriel.

"They're very close right now," Goo said.

Injury update

Several players have suffered minor injuries. At one point last week only nine healthy bodies (of 16 on the roster) were available for practice.

Freshman forward Natasja Allen sprained her right ankle but was cleared to practice last night.

Junior center Dainora Puida had her right knee (injured in high school) drained last Friday and was able to practice Monday. She is doing special exercises to strengthen the leg and will wear a knee brace until the leg is back at full strength.

Sophomore guard Ki'i Spencer-Vasconcellos has nerve palsy of the peroneal nerve in her left leg but is able to play. The disfunction (in layman's terms, the nerve shorts out) causes weakness in the muscles and numbness in the foot, but will improve the more she plays.

Offensive sets

The offense is in except for the press offense, which the coaches introduced in last night's practice. The Wahine haven't really needed to have a set press offense in recent years because of the play of two outstanding point guards.

"It's been the Mel (Melanie Azama) press and the BJ press. That's eight years worth," Goo said.

Defensively, senior Raylene Howard and junior Kylie Galloway are solid. Sophomore Kate McMeeken-Ruscoe is one of the quickest players on the team.

"We've still got some work to do. We need to refine some things and make adjustments," Goo said.

"We're introducing new things especially with our match up and our man defenses. But the basic are in and we'll go to options from that."

With Galloway back and Howard and junior Crystal Lee not having to play inside this season, the 3-pointer should return to the Wahine arsenal. The team shot 44 percent from beyond the arc in a scrimmage last Saturday.

Overall, Goo is pleased with the team's progress.

"We're getting better every week. We've gone since Oct. 16 and only had one not-very-good practice," he said. "We've been getting better every practice and some of the people who struggled early are getting better."

Season opener

The Hawaiian Regent Wahine Basketball Classic opens the season Nov. 19-21 with UH playing Tennessee Tech, Oklahoma and Arizona.

"We've got four seniors and a lot of veterans, so we should be able to jump into the first game and, if they've got the jitters, they should be gone pretty quick," Goo said.

He still hopes to get video tape of Tennessee Tech and Oklahoma from last year's NCAA tournament, but notes the only tapes the visitors might get on the Wahine are from last December, since conference teams aren't allowed to share tapes with nonconference opponents.

By Al Chase, Star-Bulletin

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