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Dominant force in Laie


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POSTED: Friday, March 06, 2009

Starting from scratch, it was important for the Brigham Young-Hawaii women's basketball team to build on the right foundation.

Latoya Wily, the team's co-captain, has served as a cornerstone for the fledgling program since it began in 2006.

               

     

 

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“;I am grateful that they brought women's basketball to the school,”; said Wily, a 2004 Kahuku High School graduate. “;It is good to have the PacWest Conference, because now a lot of girls can stay home and their families can enjoy watching them.”;

The 6-foot forward from Laie has had a successful career and senior campaign. She leads the PacWest in scoring (25.4), rebounding (13.6) and field-goal percentage (.594). She has also been named PacWest player of the week five times.

BYUH coach Wendy Anae said Wily is a natural leader.

“;She never negates the contribution others have to bring,”; Anae said. “;She rallies players and gets them to work hard and to believe in themselves and each other.”;

A 2004 Star-Bulletin All-State performer, Wily drew interest from several Division I schools but accepted a scholarship offer from Alcorn State in Lorman, Miss.

In two seasons at the Division I program, Wily saw limited playing time.

During Wily's freshman year, Alcorn State won the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship and went to the 2005 NCAA tournament, losing to Michigan State in the first round. Michigan State lost to Baylor in the national championship game.

After her second season, Wily transferred to BYUH and became part of the Lady Seasiders' first women's basketball team.

“;I was prompted to be here,”; Wily said. “;I wasn't homesick. But I felt like I needed to be here.”;

Anae coached Kahuku High from 2003 to '05. She left Kahuku in 2006 to become BYUH's first women's basketball coach.

“;Her being here made it easier to come home,”; Wily said. “;I know she expects more because she knows I have already been through her style of coaching.”;

Anae said Wily improved her game and matured since high school.

“;She has come into her own,”; Anae said. “;Maturity-wise she is very secure with herself. She's always had that confidence, but there is more peace in her ability.”;

Wily made an impact upon arrival. She led the PacWest Conference in scoring (20.5 ppg), and rebounds (14.2 rpg) in 2006-07.

Shoulder surgery caused Wily to miss all of 2007-08, but gave her a stronger passion for the game.

“;It was hard,”; said Wily. “;I never knew I could love basketball more than I already did.”;

Felisita Ika, who also serves as co-captain, said teammates respect and follow Wily because of her unselfishness and the way she encourages others.

“;I don't know anybody who has more passion than her,”; said Ika. “;She comes ready to play. On the court, you would be scared of her. But off the court, she's, like, the sweetest girl.”;

Wily is majoring in exercise sports science and plans to pursue a master's degree in communications and would like to become a radio or television broadcaster.

Wily's father, Aisa, is a construction worker, and her mother, Karen, works the front desk at Turtle Bay. Wily said her family attends her games and is her inspiration.

“;This is all my parents ever asked from us,”; Wily said. “;That we would further our education. Basketball was the only way I knew how to pay for my education. My parents work so hard, but I knew they could not afford it. Playing in front of my family is the biggest thing for me.”;