Monday, February 15, 1999
Wallace and BowsBy Pat Bigold
endure tough times
If the Hawaii men's basketball team needed any inspiration to hang in there despite being all but statistically eliminated from a postseason tournament berth, Riley Wallace might have provided it Saturday night at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City.
Stricken with the flu, Wallace had plenty of reason not to venture into the frigid Utah night. But he insisted upon defying the malady and the elements to endure Hawaii's 82-55 defeat the hands of the No. 14 Utes.
''I was feeling like I might throw up but they put a bucket out there for me," he said. ''It's my job and I've got to do it. I didn't go to practice (Saturday) and I feel bad about that.''
The Rainbows returned from their latest road trip 5-18 overall and 2-9 in the WAC Pacific Division. They're is mired in seventh place in the division while San Jose State occupies the sixth and last WAC tournament berth position with a 4-6 conference record (11-12 overall).
The Rainbows travel to San Diego State (2-21, 0-11) for a Saturday game. Aztecs head coach Fred Trenkle announced last week that he will step down at the end of the season.
Hawaii then returns to the Stan Sheriff Center to finish the season with San Jose State (Feb. 25) and Fresno State (Feb. 27).
Now Wallace said his main concern is recruiting.
''We're looking for a good point guard," said Wallace. ''If we can't get a really good one from junior college, then we'll try to get a good high school player."
Wallace is also looking for an outstanding big man -- or a big man with outstanding potential. The Rainbows have not had one of those since the era of Tony Maroney (1993-94).
Junior Marquette Alexander, a 6-foot-8 center, led the team in scoring for the ninth time this season in Saturday night's loss with 17 points.
''He was dominating in the first half," said Wallace.
Wahine gave everythingBy Al Chase
they had in loss to Utes
The Hawaii women's basketball team left the Stan Sheriff Center Saturday night knowing they had expended every ounce of energy and every drop of sweat in an emotional encounter with Western Athletic Conference Pacific Division leader Utah.
The Wahine (14-9, 6-5 WAC) knew they had three chances to tie or win in the last 29.6 seconds and couldn't get the ball to go through the hoop despite the support of 4,098 fans.
The Utes (18-4, 9-1 WAC) know they escaped with a 46-44 victory to hold onto first place by a half-game over New Mexico. They did it despite a season-high 25 turnovers caused by 40 minutes of defensive harassment by the Wahine.
Hawaii head coach Vince Goo says the home court is worth between 10 and 15 points. UH lost by 31 points in Salt Lake City so Saturday's turnaround was significant.
"It doesn't matter if you lose by two or 40 points, a loss is a loss," UH forward Crystal Lee said. "But, we feel better about how we played against them here."
The Wahine had an early lead but that dissipated under a barrage of five consecutive Utah 3-pointers. At the same time, the Wahine failed to cash in on numerous Ute turnovers (14 in the first half) with points at the other end.
"Maybe we put too much pressure on ourselves, I'm not sure, but we didn't hit our clutch shots," said Raylene Howard who scored 17 points to lead Hawaii.
Despite trailing, 29-18, at halftime and dealing with Utah coach Elaine Elliott's luxury of rotating nine players into the game, the Wahine intensity never waned.
They fought back, battled the taller Utes almost even on the boards (15-16) and held Utah to two 3-pointers in the second half. The defense held the Utes to four points in the final eight minutes.
Hedy Liu's baseline jumper with 2:02 left tied the score at 44.
With 29.6 seconds to go, Kyla Evers' jumper in the lane bounced twice and missed. Liu's jumper hit iron and bounced out. With :00.5 left, UH's Ki'i Spencer-Vasconcellos got a shot off in time, but, again, one bounce and out.
"I think we gained a lot of respect from Utah. We played with heart and intensity for 40 minutes," Goo said.