Star-Bulletin Sports

Monday, January 25, 1999

W A H I N E _ B A S K E T B A L L

Switch helps
Wahine bust
losing streak

By Al Chase


One important ingredient for the Hawaii women's basketball team in Saturday's Western Athletic Conference victory at San Diego State was Raylene Howard and Crystal Lee switching positions.

There is only an inch difference in height -- Howard is 5-foot-11 and Lee 5-10 -- but the move had another purpose besides putting Howard on the wing.

"The key to that move is Howard is handling the ball more. She doesn't have to wait for two passes before she gets involved in the offense," UH coach Vince Goo said. "At least we know we can interchange them depending on the opponent's zone and how they match up."

Howard hit 50 percent of her field goal attempts and led the Wahine (10-7 overall, 2-3 WAC) with 19 points. Lee had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, her second game this season with double-digit rebounds.

That switch is one twist Fresno State (Thursday) and San Jose State (Saturday) have to be concerned about as UH returns to the Stan Sheriff Center this week.

The Wahine have been good at getting early leads at home and finally discovered how to do it on the road against the Aztecs. But what pleased Goo was the Wahine reaction when SDSU rallied.

"They cut the lead to three points with 10:41 to play, but we kept our composure and played hard," Goo said. "That was the most outstanding thing about the game, the way we answered their spurts. We played like we wanted to win, not like we had to win."

BJ Itoman bounced back from substandard performances in Utah a week ago to score 15 points and hand out five assists.

The win halted a three-game UH losing streak, but, perhaps more important, gave the Wahine a confidence boost.

All of the above are necessities for the Wahine if they want to start a winning streak and begin climbing in the Pacific Division standings. They have nine games left -- five at home and four away.

And, this is the week that the top of the Pacific Division has a shakedown engagement as New Mexico (5-0) visits Brigham Young (4-1) and Utah (4-1).

NOTE: The crowd of 1,280 was SDSU's largest of the year, but Goo estimates a third were Hawaii fans.

"Judy Mosley-McAfee (the Wahine's all-time scoring leader) and her family, (former Wahine) Michelle Mcintyre and her high school team and a huge group from Hedy Liu's family were there," Goo said.

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