Wahine hold off Aggies for 'team' victory


POSTED: Saturday, February 21, 2009

Pat Charity is pacing herself.

By the end of the Hawaii women's basketball team's 54-51 victory over New Mexico State last night at the Stan Sheriff Center, there was a reason the Rainbow Wahine's acting head coach let assistant Matthew Paton call the offensive shots.

“;It was a total team effort,”; Charity said. “;Coach Paton, because I get so hoarse, I asked him to ... call the offense for me. If I try to call it ... back-to-back on a Friday and again on a Sunday, it's too hard on my voice - I'm already raspy.”;

Before a gathering of 272, Charity won her season debut at home for the Wahine (6-19, 3-9 Western Athletic Conference), who dominated the boards (35-24) and points in the paint (34-12). UH stayed composed despite a near-comeback by the Aggies (8-18, 4-8) in the final minute.

It was the first home game this season without head coach Jim Bolla, who has been placed on paid leave by UH. School officials are investigating an alleged physical incident between the coach and a player last fall. Sources said Bolla made a kicking motion at a player during a team practice, though it is unclear whether he made contact. There is no timetable for his return.

The Wahine lost their previous two on the road without Bolla last week, including a 69-57 decision to the Aggies on Sunday.

UH will go for its first winning streak of the season tomorrow against Louisiana Tech.

Sophomore Allie Patterson led the Wahine off the bench with a game-high 16 points on 6-for-10 shooting, while Keisha Kanekoa added 12 points.

Patterson, a reserve who played 26 minutes, voiced confidence in Charity's coaching.

“;Yeah, we're pumped,”; she said. “;Ready to go, we got La-Tech on Sunday, so we gotta stay focused. She's got us under control.”;

Kanekoa was glad to help hand Charity her first win of the season. In the 2006-07 season, Charity led the team to a 6-2 record while Bolla was out with an infected lung.

“;Definitely feels good to get her first win at home,”; Kanekoa said. “;Hopefully we can keep this momentum going and capture these next few games.”;

The Wahine pulled to within a game of seventh-place NMSU in the WAC standings. If UH can overtake the Aggies in the final four conference games of the regular season, the Wahine will avoid the dreaded WAC tournament play-in game for the league's bottom two teams.

It started last night with a concerted effort to pound the ball inside. Kanekoa and Patterson looked to slash to the basket at every opportunity, helping to negate the team's 0-for-9 performance on 3-point shooting.

A defensive tweak from assistant Dallas Bolla (Jim Bolla's wife) helped.

“;The first time we played them, we really sagged back defensively and we thought maybe we could pack it in,”; Charity said. “;This time, Coach Dallas looked at the defense and said, 'We gotta get up and play (on the perimeter).' That's what we did.”;

UH's defense held up in the final minute, when the Aggies surged to within 51-49 on a Madison Spence 3-pointer. Catherine Cho hit one of two free throws to make it a three-point game, and UH's defense against Spence was superb as NMSU's best player looked for a 3-point opening. Her shot hit the front iron just before the buzzer.



WAC standings

Fresno State93.750-187
Louisiana Tech84.66711511
Boise State75.58321412
Utah State65.54521/21212
New Mexico State48.3335818
San Jose State112.0778224

Hawaii 54, New Mexico State 51
Louisiana Tech 87, San Jose State 69
Utah State 65, Boise State 61

Louisiana Tech at Hawaii, 5 p.m., Stan Sheriff Center
Idaho at Utah State
Nevada at Boise State
New Mexico State at San Jose State



Hawaii 54, New Mexico St. 51

Aggies (8-18, 4-8)

Team  0

Rainbow Wahine (6-19, 3-9)

Team  1

Key - fg-a: field goals made-attempted; ft-a: free throws made-attempted; rb: rebounds; pf: personal fouls; pts: total points; a: assists; to: turnovers; min: minutes played.

Halftime - Hawaii 25, New Mexico State 23

3-point goals - New Mexico State 2-7 (Palmer 1-1, Spence 1-4, Walton 0-1, Sanchez 0-1, Hawaii 0-9 (Tinnin 0-1, Patterson 0-1, Cho 0-2, Liepkalne 0-2, Kanekoa 0-3.

Steals - New Mexico State 3 (Walton 2, Spence), Hawaii 8 (Linton 2, Hittle, Liepkalne, Tinnin, Kanekoa, Linton, Patterson). Blocked shots - New Mexico State 3 (Sanchez 2, Palerm).

Officials - Michael Price, Peter Contreras, Kent Johnson. Attendance - 272.