[ WAHINE BASKETBALL ]
FLMORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Junior Amy Sanders is getting more than 10 more minutes per game this year under new coach Jim Bolla.
Sanders pulls out
all the stops
When the opposing top gun is a big guard or wing player, there is a good chance she will be guarded by Amy Sanders.
The Hawaii Rainbow Wahine junior has drawn that important assignment in most games this season.
Janevia Taylor gets the job when the opponent's top scorer is a small guard
Sanders limited Louisiana Tech's Tasha Crain, averaging 16 points a game, to 12 in last Saturday's loss. UH associate coach Pat Charity remembers the effort Sanders turned in against Wake Forest's top scorer, Porsche Jones, who managed seven points in 40 minutes in UH's overtime win.
"Amy shut that girl out," said Charity. "She does an excellent job of keeping people in front of her and giving them just one shot."
"Amy has improved and is very coachable. She listens and tries to do whatever I ask her to do. From a coaching standpoint, she makes my job enjoyable. Amy asks questions, and I like that."
Sanders, who has started every game this year after moving into a starting role at the end of her sophomore season, says she finds it a lot easier to play tough defense when she is right on top of an opponent.
"I like pressuring opponents. It is a different system from last year. I know I have to play defense if I want to stay in the game, especially if I'm not shooting well at the other end," said Sanders. "I don't take it that I'm going to be starting the whole year and I know I can't get overconfident."
The 5-foot-10 resident of Huntington Beach, Calif., has a knack for playing tough defense without fouling. In 12 games, she has committed 11 fouls. Sanders has gone four games without fouling once and has never been called for more than two fouls in a game.
She derives a lot of satisfaction from playing good defense, doesn't want to be just the fifth player on the court, but wants to contribute to the team, a team she declares plays really hard.
"With our defense, the habits of an opponent are not as important this year. I think the pressure defense gives you an advantage. It puts the other person on their heels and make it hard for them to catch the ball," said Sanders. "Playing good defense bring the energy level up for the whole team."
Sanders struggled with her offense early this season. That was a source of frustration.
"I would miss three of four shots and it drove me crazy," said Sanders. "I would be in a bad mood when I got back home, but things have gotten better the last few games."
She scored a career-high 25 points against Nevada and was in double figures the final two games of the recent road trip. She is second on the team in 3-point shots made with 16.
Sanders, like every other Wahine, did not know what to expect from the new coaching staff, so she focused on basketball last summer while working on her speed and quickness with a personal trainer.
"I'm still slow," she said, laughing. "I played pickup twice a week at LMU (Loyola Marymount) and went one-on-one with my dad (Gary), who still plays in two leagues. I did a lot of running, came back in good shape and felt a lot stronger."
Sanders is majoring in family resources and plans to go to graduate school to become certified at a personal trainer.
Texas-El Paso at Hawaii
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Where: Stan Sheriff Center
TV: Live, KFVE, Channel 5
Radio: Live, KKEA, 1420-AM
Tickets: All seats general admission. $7 adults, $6 seniors. UH students with valid ID, children age 4-18 free.
Notes: The Wahine lead the series 13-1. In the last meeting, the Broncos knocked UH out of the Western Athletic Conference postseason tournament with a 59-56 win, March 9, 2004. ... Milia Macfarlane entered the season with a .256 field goal shooting percentage. The senior point guard is connecting at a .470 clip this year. ... Janevia Taylor, a 5-foot-5 guard, has led the Wahine in rebounding in a team-high six games.