RAINBOW WAHINE BASKETBALL
Final 4 team, All-Americans on slate for Wahine tournaments
Visits by a final four team and two returning All-Americans highlight the Hawaii women's basketball team's nonconference schedule next season.
UH released its 2006-07 schedule yesterday with Oklahoma and North Carolina among the biggest names coming to town for early-season tournaments.
Oklahoma center Courtney Paris leads the Sooners into the season-opening Waikiki Beach Marriott Classic Nov. 17-18. North Carolina, led by guard Ivory Latta, arrives in town the next week (Nov. 24-26) to play in the Hawaiian Airlines Rainbow Wahine Classic.
Paris posted 33 double-doubles last season to become the first freshman selected to the Associated Press All-America team. Latta averaged 18.4 points to lead North Carolina to a No. 1 ranking and the final four last season.
The Rainbow Wahine open the season Nov. 17 against Georgetown in the opening round of the Waikiki Beach Marriott Classic and could face Oklahoma, which opens with Eastern Kentucky, the following day.
UH faces Big 12 power Texas Tech in the first round of the Rainbow Wahine Classic, which also features Arkansas, Denver, UCLA, Gonzaga, UNC and Sacramento State.
"We think this will be good for us to play good competition early and we play them at home," UH coach Jim Bolla said. "It's going to be a challenge but we feel that with the players we have returning and with the new players coming in to the program we'll be able to be successful."
UH hosts four nonconference tournaments and plays at Cal State Northridge and Loyola Marymount on the road.
The Wahine open the Western Athletic Conference season with a homestand on Jan. 4 against New Mexico State and Jan. 6 against defending league champion Louisiana Tech.
UH also announced the signing of Iwona Zagroblena, a 6-foot-4 center from Poland, to a scholarship agreement.
Zagroblena played at Weatherford College in Texas the last two seasons, where she earned all-conference honors both years. She averaged 17.1 points and 10.8 rebounds as a freshman, and posted 12.3 points and 6.4 rebounds per game last season.
Zagroblena, a member of the Polish junior national team in 2004, joins a UH front court that returns senior Brittany Grice and junior Tanya Smith.
"Iwona definitely fills a need for us," Bolla said. "She's got the size, but she's also mobile and can step out and hit the 3."
The Wahine return eight players and have signed four incoming recruits -- Zagroblena, guard Leilani Galdones of Kamehameha-Hawaii, and forwards Dita Liepkalne and Megan Tinnin.