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


Tuesday, March 7, 2000



UH ready for
WAC tourney

The University of Hawaii women's basketball team opens Western Athletic Conference tournament action against the Texas-El Paso Miners tomorrow in Fresno, Calif.

The Wahine want to break their 2-year-old habit of losing in the first round. Hawaii head coach Vince Goo doesn't think history will play a role as the Wahine are a different team and won't be playing the "home" team like last year when they lost to UNLV in Las Vegas.

Goo says there is no special difficulty in playing UTEP, a team the Wahine defeated twice easily during the regular season. "I'd rather play a team we beat twice than a team that beat us twice," Goo said.

UH assistant coach Serenda Valdez mentioned the Heidi Walker factor. The freshman center was leading the WAC in scoring before being sidelined with injuries prior to the league season opener.

"She has the potential to score and we don't have much film on her," Valdez said.

"The thing is, they have nothing to lose. They will come to play," said Goo. We need to challenge that.

"And, they have Amy Pack, the WAC Freshman of the Year. We voted for her."

Getting ready

Hawaii left for Fresno early yesterday morning and held a practice at FSU's campus gym at 8:30 last night. Today they get to practice in Selland Arena for 55 minutes, the same as all the women's team's. The venue will be new since Fresno State plays its women's game in North Gym.

"Flying to Fresno is a piece of cake vs. going to Tulsa or the Texas schools," Goo said.

Game plan modification

For much of the 1999-2000 season, Hawaii has run a half-court offense. When opposing teams apply pressure, full court or even just to slow the Wahine advance down, Hawaii has found itself with precious little time on the shot clock.

This was definitely a factor in the one-sided losses at Tulsa and Rice on the last regular-season road trip.

Practice the last two weeks has seen an emphasis on the running game. Practices were shorter, but more intense and described as very good by Goo.

"We needed to work on our quickness on the offensive and defensive ends. We needed to put pressure on defense and the kids came out and did a very good job," he said. "We didn't abandon the half court offense, but we wanted to try and get more easy baskets."

"Practice has been fun and we've added a few new things," said UH junior forward Kylie Galloway. "It was intense because we wanted to be there. We wanted to work hard. There was a lot of energy that hasn't always been there all season. I hope it stays there no matter how far we go."

Other first-round games

No. 1 seed and regular-season champion SMU should have no trouble with No. 8 seed San Jose State.

Rice, the No. 3 seed, has to rebound against No. 6 Fresno State after losing its regular-season finale to TCU, 63-62. The Owls have the talent to win. The Bulldogs will have the home crowd. It's doubtful Tiffany Lewis and company can pull off the upset.

The winner between No. 4 Tulsa and No. 5 TCU can expect to play SMU in the semifinal round. Both teams won convincingly at home, but the third game is on a neutral court.

By Al Chase, Star-Bulletin

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