RAINBOW WAHINE BASKETBALL
Hawaii women trying to break out of slump
The Hawaii Rainbow Wahine are still searching for their first Western Athletic Conference basketball victory this week after coming up empty in two home games last week.
The Wahine have lost three of their last four games. They have fallen into the habit of playing a decent first half, but coming flat in the second half.
"The positive is we get up on people. The negative is we can't hold on," said Hawaii coach Jim Bolla.
Hawaii (6-8, 0-2 WAC) begins the two-game road trip in Reno, Nev., tomorrow night against the Nevada Wolf Pack, then play an afternoon game at Fresno State on Saturday.
The coaches, in their preseason poll, picked FSU to finish second and Nevada third.
Nevada opened its league season at home last Saturday with a 78-68 win over Idaho behind senior point guard Traci Graham's career-high 26 points.
The Wolf Pack (7-8, 1-1) then lost a tough 68-65 decision Monday night at Boise State when guard Dellena Criner's desperation 3-pointer that went in was nullified after officials watched television replays and ruled the basket was after the buzzer.
"We are playing two very good teams. I have a lot of respect for Kim (Gervasoni, UN coach) and what she does. Fresno is coming off a loss, so they will be mad," Bolla said.
Basketball coaches like to say that the game is a series of offensive spurts. The Wahine have produced their own spurts, but have been victimized by opponents creating longer runs.
"When a team goes on a run, good teams have an answer. They can either stop the run or they can match the other team basket for basket, maybe even get two for one and increase the lead," Bolla said.
"We need to play the way we did against San Francisco (the only win in the last four games). We need to concentrate on getting the ball inside, not only to the post people, but to post everyone up."
Junior center Tanya Smith and senior forward Pam Tambini were the only consistent scorers on the front line in the two home defeats.
In both games, the Wahine had to play catch up in the second half. They even took a brief lead against New Mexico State, but couldn't finish.
"We know we can score early and we know we can come back. Now we have to learn how to finish. It seems like we make one bad play and we lose the momentum. Then we expend a lot of energy coming back, but can't seem to finish," said Bolla.
UH leads the Nevada series 21-6, including 9-4 in Reno. The Wahine are 11-7 at Fresno and 24-12 overall vs. the Bulldogs.
Note: Bolla is taking 11 players on the trip. One not going is senior forward Dalia Solia, suspended indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team. She was sent by the coaches to the locker room with 5 minutes left in the Louisiana Tech game last Saturday.