Takahara-Dias endures team's first drubbing


POSTED: Friday, November 20, 2009

LOS ANGELES » Even a 46-point rout by one of the Pacific-10 Conference's traditional contenders did not defuse the enthusiasm from Hawaii's coach and leading scorer.

UCLA dominated from the start to earn a 98-52 victory in its home opener last night at Pauley Pavilion.

Hawaii coach Dana Takahara-Dias described the Bruins as “;very poised, fundamentally sound, big, quick and strong,”; she said. “;They really exploit your weaknesses.”;

But experiencing such exploitation could prove beneficial, Takahara-Dias believes.

“;I make no bones about it; I love this game,”; she said. “;It showed what our weaknesses are and what we need to work on so we can prepare for our WAC schedule.

“;It was hard to take. The final score was hard to swallow. Nonetheless, we can be a better team by taking a look at the game film. I will not shy away from these games.”;

Where do the Rainbow Wahine (1-1) need to improve?

“;Control of the ball, unforced turnovers, more execution on the defensive end, on the offensive end—the whole game,”; Takahara-Dias said with a hearty laugh.

Former Punahou star Shawna Kuehu made her first collegiate start and finished with 15 points. But UCLA overwhelmed the Rainbow Wahine (1-1) in every statistic.

The Bruins (2-1) tied a school record with 12 baskets from 3-point range. UCLA shot 52.5 percent, forced 24 turnovers and outrebounded Hawaii, 42-25.

Three Bruins surpassed their season or career bests in scoring. Erica Tukiainen made six of eight shots from 3-point range to finish with a season-high 24 points, one less than her career best.

Darxia Morris added a season-best 18 points and Rebekah Garner set a career standard with 15 points. Markel Walker contributed 12 points, 12 rebounds and eight steals.

The 5-foot-10 Kuehu, who scored 10 points off the bench Tuesday in the Wahine's 63-58 victory at UC Riverside, added four rebounds and a block. The freshman is averaging 12.5 points to lead Hawaii.

“;She earned her starting position, and it couldn't be in a bigger arena than Pauley Pavilion,”; Takahara-Dias said. “;She played very tough tonight. We expect great things out of her.”;

Kuehu viewed her first collegiate start with excitement and perspective.

“;It's pretty amazing with the history behind it,”; Kuehu said of Pauley Pavilion. “;I have a lot of work to do, but I'm taking steps to getting better.”;

Two minutes into the game, UCLA employed a trapping full-court press that enabled the Bruins to build a 28-11 lead with 10:28 left in the first half. Tukiainen scored 12 points during the surge.

Kuehu scored six points during an 8-0 burst that narrowed the deficit to 28-19 with 8:04 remaining. But Hawaii scored just seven points in the half's final 6 minutes, as UCLA extended its advantage to 49-28 at halftime.

The offensive collapse extended to the second half. Hawaii missed 19 of 27 field-goal attempts and scored only six points in the final 10 minutes. Four came from free throws.

“;There are going to be those days when we have our ups and downs,”; Kuehu said. “;It's just a matter of uniting as a team and staying together.

“;We have a lot to work on, but we're going to keep our heads up and keep going on.”;



The UH women's basketball team signed Harvard-Westlake (Calif.) High School guard Sydney Haydel to a national letter of intent for the 2010-11 season during the recent early signing period.

Haydel averaged 10.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game as a junior in helping guide her team to the state Division 4A quarterfinals.

Haydel is familiar with UH freshman Kuehu, as the two shared a summer club team (California Storm Team Taurasi).