COURTESY OF UH ATHLETICS
Pam Tambini missed 26 games in her first two seasons with the Rainbow Wahine.
Tambini leaves stress behind
Pam Tambini is ready for her basketball luck to undergo a positive change. She wants to play her junior season with the Hawaii women's team without stress.
Waikiki Beach Marriott Classic
Schedule: Tomorrow, Hawaii vs. USC, 7 p.m.; Sunday, USC vs. Eastern Illinois, 5 p.m.; Monday, Hawaii vs. Eastern Illinois, 6 p.m.
Radio: The USC game will be carried live and the Eastern Illinois game will be joined in progress on KKEA, 1420-AM.
Tickets: All seats general admission. $8 adults, $6 seniors. UH students with valid ID and children age 4-18 free.
The Rainbow Wahine wing player has been sidelined parts of each of her first two seasons with a stress fracture in her right foot. Both injuries occurred in practice and caused her to miss 11 games as a freshman and 15 last year.
Yes, there were moments of frustration for the 5-foot-10 forward, but she dealt with it and is excited about the upcoming season.
"I just stayed optimistic knowing that I had four years to play. My family was the strongest support. They gave me inspiration as they always have done," said Tambini. "I'm healthy so far this year. I should knock on wood."
She averaged 4.1 points and played 25 minutes per game as a freshman, but saw those numbers drop to 1.5 points and 9 minutes a game last year.
Last summer, Tambini traveled with her boyfriend (UH golfer Pierre-Henri Soero) to watch him participate in the U.S. Open and the French Open.
"When the fun was over, I went home and started running with my dog (a 1-year old golden retriever) and lifting some weights," said Tambini, who has two seasons of college basketball left.
"I think she struggled with buying in (to a new system) last year," said UH coach Jim Bolla. "Now there is a clear opportunity for her to get a lot of playing time and she has responded to our coaching a lot better."
Tambini thought she handled the transition from retired coach Vince Goo's system to Bolla's with ease.
"I played on three different teams while in high school so it was easy to adjust," Tambini said.
She averaged 25.2 points per game as a senior at Piedmont Hills High School in San Jose, Calif., but concedes she has been a little timid on the offensive end as a Wahine.
"I try to be balanced, but in high school, I was better offensively. Here I'm better defensively. I don't know why. I get yelled at for not taking the open shot," said Tambini. "This year I'm a lot more comfortable."
That is good news for Bolla, who projects Tambini to be one of his five starters tonight against Southern California.
"We have to have to get Pam shooting more. If she doesn't, then the defense won't play you," said Bolla.
"She has done very well physically and on the court. She has done everything we asked her to do. Pam has size, is strong, can rebound and we don't have to correct a lot about where she should be on the court."
Tambini knows some game stats are important, but not to the point of being consuming.
"I don't feel the need to make more stress than needed," she said. "I know I always have something to work on after every game."
She approaches her academic goals with a straight-forward philosophy.
"I always try to do my best, to achieve the best and don't settle for anything less. That's the way I was brought up," said Tambini who has a double major (psychology and family resources).
"I got a bit lazy my freshman year and had a 3.5 grade-point average, but I realized I had to start thinking about my future."
Her goal is to attend medical school. She wants to do that at UH and become a pediatrician.
Tambini considered several schools before signing with UH.
"I liked the laid-back environment. The coaches treated me well and everyone was super nice," she said.
However, her freshman year was difficult.
"I got sick, got injured and was out here alone. I wanted to go home really bad, but my parents (Margaret Brown and Mark Tambini) told me to stick it out," said Tambini.
"Then I met Pierre and things started to fall in place. It's good. I'm glad I stayed."