Thursday, March 6, 2003


Hawaii's Jade Abele went to the hoop against UTEP in a game earlier this year. UH travels to UTEP on Saturday.

Wahine need victories
to avoid play-in game

By Al Chase

The Hawaii women's basketball team has played its own brand of brinkmanship ever since it began the Western Athletic Conference season with convincing wins over Texas-El Paso and Boise State.

The Rainbow Wahine have gone 5-9 since then and been involved in 10 league games decided by eight points or fewer. Unfortunately for UH, seven of those games were defeats, one of the reasons the team is tied with San Jose State for sixth place (7-9).

This puts UH on the brink of having to play a WAC tournament first-round game for the first time next week in Tulsa, Okla.

Hawaii and San Jose State conclude the regular season on the road against the same opponents. The Wahine play at Boise State (9-17, 6-10) tonight, while the Spartans are at UTEP (10-16, 5-11). They swap venues Saturday.

Obviously, the first order of business for the Wahine is to win both games. They can control their own destiny up to that point. However, Hawaii has yet to discover a way to close out away games and is 0-7 in WAC road games this season.

And, with two victories at home this weekend, the Broncos also could elevate themselves high enough in the standings to avoid a first-round tournament game.

"We will explain to our players what the scenario is and what we have to get done this week," said Hawaii coach Vince Goo.

The Wahine arrived in Boise on Tuesday and have two practice sessions to fine-tune their game.

"The first thing we will look at is what we need to get better in, then we work on our opponent," said Goo. "And, the first thing we will work on is our free throws."

Normally a good shooting team from the charity stripe, the Wahine made just 15 of 26 in losing to Rice last Saturday. This came after UH made 13 of 17 two days earlier against Tulsa.

"That's another reason why we need everyone to come in and play consistent basketball," said Goo. "If we can do that, then I think we'll be pretty good. "They girls have shown that they can do it."

Notes: April Atuaia has scored in double figures the last three games. ... Christen Roper needs eight more rebounds to pass Raylene Howard for fourth on the career list. ... The Wahine are 11-1 in games they led at halftime. They have managed to come back just twice (2-11) after trailing at the half. ... Rebounding is another telltale statistic. Hawaii is 12-1 when outrebounding an opponent and 0-11 when the opponent controls the board. ... Both games will be broadcast live on KKEA (1420 AM).

UH Athletics

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