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Friday, January 3, 2003


[ WAHINE BASKETBALL ]



HAWAII 75, UTEP 57

art
GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii's Christen Roper went up against UTEP's Vaida Zagurskyte last night.




UH adjusts
in second half
to win WAC opener

The Wahine solve the Miners'
defense for an 18-point victory


By Al Chase
achase@starbulletin.com

The Hawaii Rainbow Wahine had to hold off a resurgent Texas-El Paso Miner team to win the opening game of the Western Athletic Conference season at the Stan Sheriff Center last night before 903 fans.

The Wahine (7-3, 1-0) shook off a bit of rust and figured out how to attack the UTEP zone in the second half, which led to a 75-57 victory.

"They started with a man defense and our post people were killing them," said April Atuaia, who did not start after being sick last week, but ended up playing 30 quality minutes.

"They went to a zone and we struggled. Coach (Vince Goo) stressed defense at halftime and our posts did a good job of shutting down their posts in the second half."

The Hawaii coaches were concerned about UTEP's transition game, their ability to hit the 3-point shot and the way they penetrated to the basket. The Miners' switch to a zone took away the Wahine's inside game, but sacrificed on the perimeter, but UH had limited luck there in the first half.

"We talked mostly about offense at halftime and what we wanted to do against their zone," said Goo. "We executed better on offense in the second half by making better passes, by recognizing who was open. By scoring, we made them take the ball out of bounds and kept them from their transition game."

The Wahine began the second half by outscoring UTEP 18-6 and holding the Miners to 1-for-12 shooting from the field to take a 52-39 lead. Atuaia and Amy Sanders each scored five points while Natasja Allen had four in the spurt.

Hawaii maintained a double-digit lead much of the time. Kim Willoughby, making her first appearance of the season, had several key rebounds and scored five points during a five-minute span three quarters of the way through the second half.

A 3-pointer from the left corner, followed by a running jumper from the right side as the shot clock ticked down to zero by Atuaia gave UH a 69-53 lead with a minute to go.

Willoughby finished with 13 points and seven rebounds in 17 minutes.

"I was really sore after the second day of practice, but I just sucked it up," said Willoughby.

"My teammates are really patient with me. They talk to me a lot and let me know what's happening. I felt really, really comfortable tonight. It helps me that I know all the girls outside of basketball. That plays a big role in it."

Goo said, "I thought Kim was exceptional, especially coming back and touching a basketball for the first time last Friday."

Christen Roper led the Wahine with 16 points and Atuaia finished with 15. Allen had a game-high nine rebounds.

The Wahine controlled the opening tip and dominated the first 4:17 by forcing the Miners to turn the ball over five times. UH built a 10-0 lead during the early minutes on a layup by Roper, a 4-foot jumper by Roper, Allen's layup off a feed underneath from Jade Abele on the left wing, another Roper layup off a fast break and Abele's two free throws.

UTEP's first points came at 15:18 on two free throws by Dragana Zoric. The Miners' first basket went down at 13:28 on a 3-pointer by Romie DeAnda. That ignited a 10-0 run that cut the UH lead to 14-12 with 11:12 left in the half.

The remainder of the half was an even battle, with the Wahine never leading by more than five points, but failing to score in the final three minutes. The Miners pulled within a point, 34-33, on buckets by Angie McGee and Kia Dowell in the final minute and a half before intermission.

UTEP's comeback was the result of the Miners getting their transition game in gear combined with decent shooting (4-for-7) from beyond the arc. In the final 15 minutes of the half, the Miners were successful on 13 of 20 field goal attempts for a .650 shooting percentage.

After starting the half making four of their first six shots from the field, the Wahine were 10 for 25 the remainder of the half and finished with a .452 (14 for 31) percentage from the field.

Roper, who had 10 first-half points on 5-for-6 shooting, was on the bench for the last 7:42 with two fouls.

Hawaii hosts Boise State tomorrow at 7 p.m.

MINERS (5-6, 0-1)


fg fga ft fta min reb a tp

Ramirez 0 1 0 0 5 1 0 0

Zagurskyte 3 9 6 6 34 4 2 13

Zoric 2 9 0 0 29 6 5 4

Wharemate 0 2 1 2 22 0 1 1

Valtierra 1 1 1 1 9 0 0 3

Dowell 4 10 0 0 4 0 0 0

Sutton, S. 0 0 0 0 8 3 0 0

DeAnda 7 12 2 4 34 7 2 20

Sutton, G. 0 1 0 0 8 3 0 0

Goslin 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0

McGee 3 9 0 0 24 3 3 7

Team 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0

Totals 20 54 10 13 200 31 16 57


WAHINE (7-3, 1-0)


fg fga ft fta min reb a tp

Willoughby 5 9 3 6 17 7 0 13

Abele 2 8 4 4 31 4 9 9

Macfarlane 0 2 0 0 5 0 1 0

Roper 7 12 2 3 23 7 1 16

Jones 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0

Gabriel 2 5 2 2 38 1 4 7

Sanders 3 8 0 0 17 4 1 7

Atuaia 6 11 0 0 30 4 5 15

Allen 4 8 0 2 35 9 3 8

Spooner 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 0

Team 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0

Totals 29 64 11 17 200 37 24 75

Key - fg: field goals; fga: field goals attempted; ft: free throws; fta: free throws attempted; min: minutes; reb: rebounds; a: assists; tp: total points.
Halftime - Hawaii 34, UTEP 33.
3-point goals - Hawaii 6-19 (Atuaia 3-6, Sanders 1-4, Gabriel 1-4, Abele 1-5), UTEP 7-18 (DeAnda 4-6, Zagurskyte 1-2, McGee 1-2, Dowell 1-4, Wharemate 0-1, Zoric 0-3). Personal fouls - Hawaii 12, UTEP 16. Technical fouls - none. Steals- Hawaii 8 (Abele 2, Gabriel 2, Atuaia 2, Allen 2); UTEP 5 (Zoric 3, Wharemate, Dowell). Blocked shots - Hawaii 5 (Roper 4, Gabriel); UTEP 0; Turnovers - Hawaii 11 (Allen 5, Abele 3, Macfarlane, Roper, Sanders); UTEP 17 (Zoric 5, Ramirez 3, Zagurskyte 3, Dowell 3, DeAnda, TEAM). Officials - Lewis, Fujimoto, Larson. A - 1,681.



UH Athletics



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