Wahine seek more than moral victory vs. NMSU


POSTED: Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sometimes, apparently, there are moral victories.

The Hawaii women's basketball team is riding high—after a loss—entering today's game against New Mexico State at 7 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center.

First-place Fresno State outlasted the Rainbow Wahine 78-69 on Saturday, a game that instilled more faith than doubt in the sixth-place Wahine (9-13, 3-6 Western Athletic Conference).

“;I do believe the feeling and mood of the team is in a good place. Despite the fact that we did lose,”; first-year coach Dana Takahara-Dias said with a laugh. “;Sounds kind of odd, but I do believe the team has really jelled together. We're moving forward, and hopefully (tonight) will be great production again, offensively and defensively. But it looks good. We're moving forward, and we'd like to of course get the W, but more importantly make sure that we play well, execute, take care of the details. Have fun and put a whole game together.”;

Case in point: The 10 active Wahine stayed a bit longer than necessary after yesterday's practice. Their coach had to threaten them with more drills to make some players flee.





        WHO: New Mexico State Aggies (15-8, 5-4) at Hawaii Rainbow Wahine (9-13, 3-6)

        WHERE: Stan Sheriff Center

        WHEN: Today, 7 p.m.

        TV: KFVE, Ch 5

        RADIO: KKEA, 1420-AM



The team's lone senior, Dita Liepkalne, senses the newfound belief in one another has a direct correlation in on-court performance. Fresno won by 41 in their first meeting on Jan. 6, but needed a late run to pull away last week.

“;Team chemistry, we are coming together, we're working together as a team, communicating better,”; said Liepkalne, a co-captain. “;Just all of that, falling in the right places now. I think it was a good reflection of where we're standing. Because it easily could have gone either way, the last couple minutes of the game. So I think it's just a good perspective of where we're standing in the WAC, because all the teams are beatable, and all the teams are very, very similar, and anyone can play anyone.”;

They'll need to continue that philosophy against NMSU, a talented offensive team. The Aggies (15-8, 5-4) boast four players averaging double-figure scoring, led by Jasmine Lowe's 15.1 per game. As a team, the Aggies shoot 36.2 percent on 3-pointers.

NMSU beat UH 73-51 in Las Cruces, N.M., on Jan. 9, part of a nightmarish first WAC road trip for Takahara-Dias. The Wahine were admittedly reeling from Fresno's blistering performance three days earlier and fell behind from the start. They played the Aggies relatively even in the second half, but by then it was too late.

Junior point guard Keisha Kanekoa leads UH with 10.7 points per game.