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Star-Bulletin Sports

Monday, March 12, 2001

W A H I N E _ B A S K E T B A L L

UH logo

for Wahine

They miss out on the NCAA,
but will host Santa Clara in the
WNIT opener Thursday

By Al Chase

LOS ANGELES -- The disappointment of not being included in the 64-team NCAA Tournament field was somewhat assuaged last night when the University of Hawaii women's basketball team was invited to the 32-team Women's National Invitation Tournament.

The Wahine will host the University of Santa Clara Broncos Thursday at the Stan Sheriff Center. Game time and ticket information is expected to be released later today.

This is the first time the Wahine will host a post-season tournament game.

The Broncos (20-7) finished second in the West Coast Conference with an 11-3 record.

The winner of Thursday's game will face the winner of the Brigham Young-Oregon State game in the second round.

Women's NIT


First Round
Tuesday, March 14; Wednesday, March 15 or Thursday, March 16
Times to be announced

Brigham Young at Oregon State
Santa Clara at Hawaii
UNLV at Loyola Marymount
North Texas at Oklahoma State
Memphis at Alabama
Florida International at Alabama-Birmingham
Pepperdine at Arizona
Houston at New Mexico
Georgetown at George Mason
Temple at James Madison
Georgia Tech at Mississippi State
Wisconsin-Green Bay at Illinois
Mississippi at Western Kentucky
Middle Tennessee at Indiana
Northern Iowa at DePaul
Cincinnati at Ohio State

"First, we're disappointed. We should have been in the NCAA Tournament," UH head coach Vince Goo said. "Second, we have to be thankful to our administration for putting in a bid to host Thursday's game."

Hawaii bid the minimum $6,000 for the first and second rounds and the minimum $7,000 for a quarterfinal game, according to Marilyn Moniz-Kaho'ohanohano, UH assistant athletic director.

The Wahine have made four round trips to the mainland in the past 40 days. They learned during a layover in Los Angeles yesterday afternoon that they were shut out by the NCAA, then got the news about the WNIT at Honolulu International Airport.

"I knew we were on the bubble and heard our RPI dropped after the TCU game. I thought it would stay the same," Goo said. "Last year, the WAC hired Bill Foster as a consultant for basketball. He came to Hawaii in November for two practice sessions, watching one for 10 minutes and the other for 20 minutes. We conversed a bit.

"In Tulsa, we never talked all week. He's a consultant and I think one of his duties is to promote basketball. How in hell do we get one WAC team in the NCAA Tournament?

"I think we did what we had to do getting to the championship game against TCU. For the position he is in, it's an embarrassment the WAC only gets one team in the tournament."

This is the second consecutive season, and third under Goo, the Wahine have gone to the WNIT. It is the eighth postseason bid Hawaii has received in Goo's 14 seasons at the helm.

Last year, Hawaii lost in the first round at St. Mary's (Calif.). In 1992 they finished second, losing the championship game to Georgia Tech. The tournament then was an eight-team affair with all games in Amarillo, Texas.

The Wahine also participated in the WNIT in 1983 under then-head coach Jerry Busone. That was the first time the Wahine went to a national postseason tournament.

Wahine assistant coach Jon Newlee was afraid UH's performance against Texas Christian would hurt the team's NCAA chances.

"That game was on national television and the NCAA selection committee was watching," Newlee said during halftime of the men's championship game Saturday night. "(I felt then) we were out.''

Although the Wahine rallied late, they were as unimpressive as they have been all season in the first 30 minutes of the TCU game.

Anyone watching yesterday's selection show on ESPN should have received a major hint regarding the strength of the WAC in the eyes of the NCAA selection committee. TCU only managed a No. 11 seed and was sent to the East Regional to play Penn State.

The Lady Horned Frogs won the WAC regular-season and tournament titles, compiling a 24-7 record.

The Wahine (23-7) were second in both cases, but that was not good enough.

In the unofficial RPI, updated after the quarterfinal round of the WAC tournament, Hawaii had the lowest strength of schedule mark among conference teams.

Although the RPI rating is just one factor the NCAA selection committee considers, the strength of schedule component in UH's RPI did not help.

Neither did it help that the Wahine were 0-5 against teams with an RPI rating in the top 50. They were 23-2 against teams rated between 51 and 316 (the number of NCAA Division I schools with women's basketball teams). The WAC was No. 10 in the unofficial RPI ratings, but conference teams were 0-11 against top 25 opponents and 1-9 against opponents ranked 26 to 50.

There will be schools in the 64-team NCAA tournament field with lower RPI ratings than Hawaii, but they won conference championships. UH did not.

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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