RAINBOW WAHINE BASKETBALL
Wahine plagued by turnovers
The Hawaii women's basketball team needs to take better care of the ball on its road trip this week for Western Athletic Conference games at San Jose State and Utah State.
Just once in the last seven games did the Rainbow Wahine (7-11 overall, 1-5 WAC) turn the ball over less than their opponent. In the WAC, they average seven more turnovers a game than their league foes.
Every Hawaii turnover can result in a four-point turnaround if the other team scores. That is critical when one considers the Wahine's five conference losses have been by an average of 8.6 points.
"It is not like we're getting blown out with all these turnovers. We're still in these games. That is what's so frustrating," said UH coach Jim Bolla. "The thing we're really struggling with is the unforced turnovers. If we can eliminate five turnovers a game, we should be in the plus column."
A review of game videos show that when a Wahine with the ball sees a teammate open, she passes to that spot, not the spot the teammate will be when the ball arrives.
Hawaii's opponent tomorrow, San Jose State (1-19, 0-6), also turns the ball over more, but the Spartans have compensated to some extent by averaging 10 steals a game.
"San Jose State has nothing to lose and they could be real dangerous," Bolla said. "They haven't packed it in. They are playing hard with enthusiasm.
"We can't take anyone for granted if we want to come home with two wins and get some momentum going."
Brittany Hale (14.8), Natalie White (12.6) and Brittany Powell (10.1) are the top scorers for the Spartans, who have been outscored by an average of 13 points a game this season.
Saturday, the Wahine play the Utah State Aggies, a team that has improved over last year when they finished 3-24 and won just two conference games.
The Aggies (7-10, 3-2), picked to finish last in both the coaches and media preseason polls, play an uptempo game and have some size to match up well with UH.
Utah State coach Raegan Pebley challenged her team before the season started to win three games against teams in the top half of the WAC polls. They have one so far with an overtime win over Fresno State.
Taylor Richards and Brittany Phillips are the Aggies leading scorers, averaging 12.0 and 10.4 points a game, respectively.
In comparative scores, the Aggies beat Idaho by eight points and lost to Boise State by 10 points at home. The Wahine defeated Idaho by 10 and lost to Boise State by nine at home.
Before leaving on a red-eye flight Monday night, each Wahine shot 100 free throws in practice that afternoon.
"We are only shooting about 50 or 60 percent from the free-throw line and that has come back to haunt us at times," Bolla said.