Wahine sporting new look
Hawaii women's basketball coach Jim Bolla has reduced his roster to 13, down six from a year ago, and has a full complement of assistants for the upcoming season.
Matthew Paton joined the staff earlier this week. He is from Australia, has coached in the women's pro league there and is knowledgeable about the Australia Institute of Sport.
"We started talking over a year ago, met at the final four last year and he was one of three finalists for the position," Bolla said. "After telephone interviews with the search committee, he was the one I recommended. I thought it would be a bonus for our program to have someone with direct ties to Australia. There are a lot of good players there and we are the nearest (American) institution to that country."
The Rainbow Wahine will have an intrasquad scrimmage for the first time in the "Twilight Ohana" festivities tonight at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Not every Wahine will be able to participate.
"We're going through the typical preseason thing where you have players with bumps and bruises. Three of our four centers have some kind of medical situation," Bolla said.
"Once we get into real practice, suddenly things start to heal up real quick, but we're a M*A*S*H unit right now. The individual workouts have been OK. We are probably where we should be at this time. We just have to get healthy."
Although Bolla will suit up 13 players, he has told the walk-ons that, if he keeps them, they will be on a practice squad, similar to a taxi squad in football.
"We will have them come to practice only when we need a scout squad. But if we have an injury, they may have a chance to dress," Bolla said.
The Wahine lost seniors Jade Abele and Milia Macfarlane, sophomore guard Bryony Crouch, who transferred, and junior guard Trisha Nishimoto, who gave birth to a daughter on Sept. 7.
Bolla doesn't put much stock in the preseason polls that picked Hawaii to finish fifth in the conference.
"It's a whole new look in the WAC. It's a brand new league for everyone with new offensive and defensive styles. You either feel pressure from the polls or you use them as motivation," Bolla said.
"It's interesting that we went from eight female and two males coaches to six male and three female coaches. And seven of the schools have coaches with less than two years' experience in the league."