Star-Bulletin Sports

Sunday, December 16, 2001



Tests begin for Wahine

By Al Chase

Three teams making their first trip to the 50th state join Hawaii in the 10th annual Ala Moana Hotel Paradise Classic tomorrow and Tuesday nights at the Stan Sheriff Center.

This is the final test for the Wahine before they begin league play in the Western Athletic Conference.

Appropriately, the tournament begins the same day first-semester final exams start in the upper-campus classrooms.

One area Hawaii has shown improvement over a year ago is turnovers. The Wahine are averaging three fewer turnovers per game than last year.

"We've been very good in the first half. We would like to be more consistent over the whole 40 minutes, but, with a lot of players rotating in during the second half, sometimes continuity is lost," Hawaii coach Vince Goo said.

"We addressed falling behind early like we did against Stanford and Baylor in our last game. It's important to get a good start, but we know we can't spurt for 40 minutes."

The Wahine worked on sinking free throws this past week. They didn't shoot any more than usual, but if they missed, they ran. This was to simulate game conditions, when players are tired and under pressure.

Ala Moana Hotel Paradise Classic

Who: North Carolina-Charlotte, Cleveland State, Tennessee State, Hawaii
When: Starts tomorrow
Where: Stan Sheriff Center

Hawaii plays North Carolina-Charlotte in the first round tomorrow at 8 p.m.

The 49ers took their final exams last week and have not played since Dec. 6, when they suffered a disappointing loss to Davidson, 61-59. The 49ers (5-3) held a 17-point lead early in the second half, but couldn't stop the Davidson comeback.

However, earlier this year, the 49ers won the Texas A&M Tournament with a 54-50 win over the host Aggies in the championship game. The 49ers' 3-1 road record is a factor in their best start since the 1994-95 season.

Alicia Abernathy has recorded double doubles the last three games to help pick up the slack when guard and leading scorer Peaches Harris (stress fracture) and Quidara Russell (anterior cruciate ligament) were sidelined with injuries. Abernathy has averaged 15.5 points per game the last four games.

"The 49ers are very athletic and they have the highest RPI rating of the three teams coming in here. They have played some good teams," Goo said.

UH enters the tournament with four starters, Natasja Allen (15.1), Christen Roper (11.4), Janka Gabrielova (10.6) and April Atuaia (10.6) scoring in double figures. The Wahine haven't enjoyed this kind of balanced offensive production for some time.

In the first game at 6 p.m. tomorrow, the Cleveland State Vikings (3-3) meet the Tennessee State Lady Tigers (1-5).

The Vikings' season has revolved around two streaks. The Vikings (3-3) opened by losing to Duquesne, Western Illinois and then-No. 20 Wisconsin. That was followed by victories over Western Michigan, Akron and Indiana U.-Purdue U. Indianapolis.

In the IUPUI game, Cleveland State rallied from 20 points down with 17 minutes to play to win 85-83. The Vikings are 44-4 under seven-year coach Duffy Burns when they score 80 or more points.

Junior guard Erika Roudebush leads Cleveland State in scoring with a 17.7 average.

The Lady Tigers have struggled to find a winning combination. Their last game before leaving for the islands was an 87-67 loss to visiting Tennessee-Chattanooga despite a game-high 30 points from senior forward LaRissa Thomas.

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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