Rainbow Wahine get ready to run on road
The Hawaii women's basketball team plays its first mainland games prior to the Western Athletic Conference season for the first time in 14 years this weekend.
The Rainbow Wahine have had a week to add and fine-tune their game since finishing third with a stirring win over Texas A&M in the Hawaiian Airlines Rainbow Wahine Classic Thanksgiving weekend.
"We've put in some new offensive sets," said Hawaii coach Jim Bolla, who added a total of 13 different options to two different series.
"We worked a lot on transition, pushing the ball more with Amy (Kotani) and Cassidy (Chretien) at the point."
Hawaii (3-2 overall) plays against the San Francisco Dons (2-5) tomorrow night and meets the Santa Clara Broncos at noon (Hawaii time) Saturday.
The Dons are coming off a 58-52 overtime loss to Long Beach State, a game in which they committed a season-high 27 turnovers.
"I think the Dons are a young team. They rotate 11 players who average four points or more a game," said Bolla.
Mary Hile-Nepfel, in her 19th season as head coach at USF, was an assistant Wahine coach in 1985-86, the second of husband Bill's three years as Wahine head coach.
Against Santa Clara, the Wahine will play a team that averages 82.3 points per game but gives up 81 a game. The Broncos also shoot better from 3-point land (.512) than they do from inside the arc (.482). And, they unleash an average of 21 3-pointers a game.
"Santa Clara is shooting the heck out of the ball and makes almost 11 3s a game. It means we're going to have to get up on them or they will light us up," said Bolla. "The Broncos are quick shooters. They take very little time catching and shooting. They haven't met a shot they don't like."
Santa Clara is led by Michelle Cozad, a 5-foot-10 senior guard, who averages 21.0 points a game and was named the West Coast Conference player of the week Monday.
The Wahine have junior guard Janevia Taylor back from a one-game suspension after she made amends with the coaches and her teammates.
"We will stay with our starting group," said Bolla.
That would be Brittany Grice and Callie Spooner up front, Sanders and Pam Tambini at the wings and Taylor at the point.
"This will allow the bench to see what's going on and kick it into the next gear after the first timeout. We'll try to catch an opponent with a change of pace and tired legs," said Bolla who is taking 12 players.
Kotani is on the trip roster and forward Alofa Toiaivao is not.
"Alofa is not working hard in practice. I have two criteria, go to class and work hard. She is doing one of the two," Bolla said. "We'll have 10 players in our rotation with no problem."