RAINBOW WAHINE BASKETBALL
Wahine want to get even with NMSU, LaTech
The Hawaii Rainbow Wahine will attempt to increase their modest winning streak on the third Western Athletic Conference road trip of the season.
This is the league's southern swing that has Hawaii playing at New Mexico State tomorrow and at Louisiana Tech on Saturday. It is an opportunity for the Wahine (9-12, 3-6) to even the season series with both teams.
UH began the WAC campaign at home against New Mexico State (9-12, 4-5) on Jan. 4 and lost 58-51 after being tied (49-49) with 3:07 to play. Two nights later the Wahine led LaTech at the half, but went down by 14 points midway through the second half in a 64-53 loss.
The same situation existed last year when the Wahine went to Las Cruces, N.M., and beat the Aggies. However, they have never won at LaTech.
"We have to continue to do what coach (Jim Bolla) has taught them all year," said associate head coach Pat Charity, who is running the team while Bolla is on medical leave.
Bolla has maintained all season that the Wahine can play with anyone in the conference as long as they execute and, above all else, cut down on their turnovers.
They still struggled with that aspect in the win over Nevada last Saturday with 29 miscues, but compensated by connecting on 63 percent of their field-goal attempts.
A shooting percentage like that is rare on the road. The UH coaches want the defense to be tougher.
"We need to step up the defense. We have to move our feet better and quicker in the post and on the perimeter. We've been working on drills for this," Charity said.
"We feel we have enough athleticism to pressure them. We aren't the fastest team in the league, but we move better than some people give us credit for."
The Aggies get two-thirds of their points from junior forwards Sherell Neal (15.1 points a game) and Anika Jawara (13.9) and senior guard Cecilia Russell-Nava (11.7).
UH contained Russell-Nava in the game here, but Neal and Jawara combined for 32 points, including eight of the last 11.
The Wahine starting lineup will be the same as the last two games, both wins.
Freshman Megan Tinnin (3.0) and junior Amy Kotani (1.6) will be the guards. Senior Pam Tambini (13.0) and junior Tanya Smith (10.9) are the forwards, with senior Brittany Grice (8.2) at the post.
UH leads the series with NMSU 11-7 while LaTech has dominated the Wahine 17-1.