RAINBOW WARRIOR BASKETBALL
'Bows hit the road for another tough test
Hawaii, 0-2 on the road this season, faces a long and difficult trip to LaTech and New Mexico State
As the Hawaii basketball team searches for the formula to winning on the road, there are a few keys the Rainbow Warriors need to follow off the court to endure the arduous road trips they'll face this season.
While the team focuses on shooting and rebounding on the court in this week's games at Louisiana Tech and New Mexico State, hydration and proper sleep become mantras away from the gym.
"You try to get as much sleep as you can before you go on the trip," UH junior Matt Lojeski said. "Once we get there, we have to practice, get to bed early, wake up at a reasonable time, eat well, and be strong mentally."
The Rainbows (8-4, 2-0 Western Athletic Conference) embarked on their longest trip of the WAC season yesterday. They were to fly directly to Dallas, then make their way to Ruston, La., today.
After playing the Bulldogs on Thursday, they'll spend most of Friday getting to Las Cruces, N.M., for Saturday's game against the Aggies.
Despite the mileage and the hours spent on airplanes and buses, the Rainbows will try to maintain their energy level as they try to build on a fast start at home in league play.
"Being 2-0 (in the WAC)
should give them motivation to fight through fatigue and jet lag and everything that goes with those long trips," UH coach Riley Wallace said.
UH trainer Melody Toth, who is in her fifth season with the basketball team and has been associated with UH since 1977, said fluid intake is a must for players during long flights to the mainland, such as yesterday's journey to Dallas.
"They get four bottles of water and they get two bottles of Gatorade for the flight," Toth said.
"They have got to drink plenty of fluids. I was told ... you could lose 10 pounds of water weight on a long flight like that."
Toth also tries to get the players to sleep on the flights to help them adjust to the time-zone changes, although getting comfortable on a 7-plus hour flight can be tricky for guys like Chris Botez (7-foot), Matthew Gipson (6-9), Julian Sensley (6-9) and Ahmet Gueye (6-7).
"To be on a long flight in coach seats really sucks (for the taller players)," she said. "If there's a disadvantage for us, it's to have to fly with your legs jammed in for 8 hours. ... That sometimes can cause some fatigue."
The team's departure yesterday means they'll have three days to acclimate before having to play on Thursday. The 'Bows left for a game at Wisconsin-Milwaukee earlier this season two days prior to the contest and were hung up by weather-related delays, leaving them little time to adjust to local time.
"The nice thing, unlike Wisconsin where we only had one day, we do have that extra day," Toth said. "So by Thursday, physiologically they should be on Louisiana time."
UH is 0-2 on the road this year, with losses at UNLV and UWM, and has lost 16 of its last 18 away from home.
Sensley nearing milestone: Sensley's next rebound will put him in select company in the history of the UH program. He enters Thursday's game needing one board to become the 10th player to grab 500.
He also needs 72 points to join the program's 1,000-point club.
Honor for Millsap: LaTech forward Paul Millsap was named the WAC player of the week yesterday. The junior averaged 19.5 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Bulldogs to road wins over Boise State and Idaho. He hit a 3-pointer in the final seconds to lift LaTech to a 75-72 win over Boise State. He shot 68 percent from the field in the two games.