Friday, November 13, 1998
By Craig T. Kojima, Star-Bulletin
Erin Galloway, left, and BJ Itoman are two reasons the
UH men's and women's basketball teams have great
expectations for this season.
The Wahine: With no dominantBy Al Chase
inside player, they will rely on aggressive
defense and outside shooting
There's no telling who will be the center of attention on this season's Hawaii women's basketball team.
That's because coach Vince Goo will go with an offense composed of a point guard and four forwards.
With just three of 14 players on the UH roster 6-feet or taller, Goo knew outside shooting would have to be Hawaii's strength. If the Wahine are to enjoy success inside, opponents will have to respect and defend their perimeter game.
Forward Kylie Page was an integral part of the scheme but her 18.4 points and six rebounds per game and deadly 3-point shooting were wiped out by injury Tuesday. She will probably miss the season with a compound dislocation of her right ankle.
Goo held a 25-minute closed meeting with the Wahine before Wednesday's practice to talk about the loss of Page.
"I said I was hopeful they all realize what Kylie meant to the team, not just the points and rebounds, but the way she played the game, how determined she was in practice," Goo said.
"Kylie's first question when she was on the floor (after injuring the ankle) was how soon would she be back, that she didn't want to let the team down."
Goo went on to say the Wahine were not as good a team now as they were before Page's injury. He emphasized that no one person would fill her spot, that it would be a group effort.
"I told them they need to play for today because sometimes tomorrow doesn't come," he said.
"I asked them to evaluate their character individually and would they be willing to give a little extra. I told them we have people now who are proven, who weren't last year, but are now.
"I challenged everyone to make the sacrifice to be better and that extra applies to academics."
The offensive plan remains intact, but the emphasis will be different.
"Obviously, who we look for to score may change," Goo said.
GuardsThe offense starts with the point guard position and the Wahine have one of the best in the country in BJ Itoman.
There is depth with Maj Forsberg, Kate McMeeken-Ruscoe and Ki'i Spencer-Vasconcellos.
BJ Itoman: She is running the offense for the fourth season and does it very well. Itoman expects to play the perfect game every time she takes the floor.
"She thinks she won't miss a shot, have a turnover or make a bad decision," Goo said. "This used to be a weakness, but I think she realizes now the perfect game doesn't come around too often."
A leader by example, Itoman knows the people around her and knows what offense is set for what position player. She has learned to get a certain player involved who might have the hot hand. The Iolani graduate should become the all-time UH assist leader this season.
Itoman also keys the defense with indefatigable harassment of opposing point guards.
Kate McMeeken-Ruscoe: The freshman arrived on campus in excellent condition and has demonstrated very sound basketball fundamentals. Presently the only healthy backup to Itoman, she has worked at point guard, but can play other positions.
"I think she's picked up our system faster than any other freshman we've had for a long time, maybe since BJ was a freshman," Goo said. "Once she has experience and gets into the flow, she will play by instinct instead of having to think all the time."
Maj Forsberg: She has recovered from shoulder surgery and is back practicing. Forsberg, in her third season, knows the offense.
Ki'i Spencer-Vasconcellos: The Punahou graduate is still out because of off-season leg surgery.
Post playersThe only true post player (center) on the roster is Sarah Petersen. Hedy Liu and Aina Kohler also can play in the middle, but will have to rely on skills rather than height to get the job done.
Defensively, this will pose problems against teams with established, taller post players.
Sarah Petersen: She has to develop the post player mentality of wanting to rule the inside at both ends of the court. Goo says she is working toward becoming a dominating force.
Hedy Liu: A tough rebounder, she gives the Wahine strength and inside scoring ability with a selection of moves to the basket. Liu benefited from a good off-season conditioning program.
"Hedy is 5-11, not 6-4, so she'll have to play with 5-11 speed and quickness," Goo said.
Aina Kohler: The freshman from Maui made major improvement during the third week of practice. She has quickness and uses it to her advantage.
"She is playing under control a lot more now, doing the little things we ask," Goo said.
ForwardsWith the pool of forwards reduced by one, Raylene Howard is the only returning starter. Returnees Kyla Evers, Crystal Lee and redshirt freshman Karina Greeny will be called upon to help fill the void.
Walk-ons Karyn Fitisemanu and Kim Taylor need time and experience.
Raylene Howard: Goo calls her the most consistent player at both ends of the court.
"She doesn't look to have a lot of speed and quickness, but has great anticipation and rarely gets beat on the dribble defensively. She does little things like boxing out, contesting shots and offensively, she has a good inside game.
Howard isn't outwardly as emotional as Page, but has that inner fire. She can put in on the floor and go to the basket and score from different spots on the floor.
Kyla Evers: After a good summer, she has sprained her right ankle twice and her left once since practice started. Evers is a rugged player who doesn't mind contact, but has to stay healthy.
She shoots the 3-pointer well and crashes the boards.
Crystal Lee: Has been exceptional from 3-point land in scrimmages and may start.
"Her defense is 100 percent improved from last year," Goo said. "She still has a ways to go, but is so much further ahead because of foot speed and lateral quickness."
Karina Greeny: Goo says Greeny gained a lot during her redshirt year and expects her to provide some quality minutes this year.
"She'll do anything we ask and give it her best shot," he said.
Wahine rosterNo Player Pos. Ht. Cl. Hometown 32 Kyla Evers F-G 5-8 Jr. Port Orchard, Wash. 4 Maj Forsberg G 5-4 Sr. Horsholm, Denmark 22 Karena Greeny F 5-11 Fr. Port Angeles, Wash. 40 Karyn Fitisemanu F-G 5-9 Fr. Kahaluu 44 Raylene Howard F 5-11 Jr. Goulburn, Australia 21 BJ Itoman G 5-5 Sr. Honolulu 13 Aina Kohler F 6-1 Fr. Lahaina 23 Crystal Lee F-G 5-10 So. Veradale, Wash. 30 Hedy Liu F 5-11 Jr. Waianae 5 Kate McMeeken-Ruscoe F-G 5-9 Fr. Strathmore, New Zealand 11 Kii Spencer-Vasconcellos G 5-5 Fr. Honolulu 3 Kylie Page F-G 6-0 Jr. Elwood, Australia 25 Sarah Petersen C 6-3 So. Ashland, Ore. 33 Kim Taylor F-G 5-9 Fr. Kaneohe
Coaching staffHead coach: Vince Goo (12th year, 224-97)
Associate coach: George Wolfe
Assistant coaches: Da Houl, Serenda Valdez
Administrative assistant: Dana Dias
Manager: Tiffany Fujimoto