Saturday, February 20, 1999

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

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
Wahine forward Hedy Liu put in many hours of
rehab to be ready to play this season, often spending
her time on a stationary bike while her teammates were
on the court. Still, Liu has played this season in pain.

Wahine have gained
as Liu, Evers
play with pain

By Al Chase


Hedy Liu and Kyla Evers earned starting positions with the Hawaii women's basketball team this season. There was no way a little physical pain would keep them off the hardwood.

This season they have played with pain and found ways to ignore it.

Liu, in her fourth season with the Wahine, has had ACL surgery on both knees since starting her college career. Prior to this season, she barely averaged seven minutes of playing time per game.

At present, she is playing with a slight tear of the lateral meniscus of her right knee. The injury should heal with rest after the season.

Liu also has been plagued by plantar fascitis, an inflammation of the tissue on the bottom of her left foot. This condition has improved as she adjusted to the use of arch supports.

Evers had arthroscopic surgery on her left knee in high school and in her first two years at UH. She faces the possibility of arthroscopic surgery on her right knee at season's end to repair a slightly torn lateral meniscus. Her left knee now swells up, which may be the result of her compensating for the right knee.

"I hate it when you work so hard, then hurt yourself," said Evers, a 5-foot-8 junior guard. "Personally it bothers me, but I never use it as an excuse for the way I play. It's just annoying to run on two swollen knees."

"I've been dealing with pain since I've been here. You learn how to deal with it," said Liu, a 5-11 junior forward.

"What works best is I take the focus off myself by thinking of the team and what I can do to contribute to the team," she said. "We always emphasize there is no 'I' in team. If you look at it from that point, I think you can apply that to pain as well.

"If I focus on my injuries and what it does to my performance then that doesn't do good for the team. It's being selfish. There really is no option."

"Neither had a high tolerance for pain, but they've learned that this year. They've learned no excuses. They are hanging very tough," UH head coach Vince Goo said.

Evers enjoys those days off where she is able to lay in bed with her feet propped up to ease the pain. And there is the relief that comes from the ice packs that are taped to her knees after each practice and game.

Just playing this season has been a positive for Liu. She is averaging 28 minutes a game and is happy to be a part of a lot of Wahine good times.

"I'm enjoying that experience," she said. "It's the last time I'll get to play with BJ (Itoman) and I want to enjoy the time I have left with her. I've never seen anyone with her work ethic and that's reason enough to ignore the injuries and be out there with her."

Liu and Itoman are the only members of the 1995-96 Wahine freshmen class, arriving from University High and Iolani, respectively.

Evers joined the program a year later, and it wasn't until this past summer that she committed herself to the effort necessary to challenge for a starting job -- at the position formerly held by Nani Cockett.

"Those were really big shoes to fill, but I knew I couldn't be someone I wasn't. I could only do what I could do," said Evers, who hails from Port Orchard, Wash.

"I think I started the year off strong, but in the WAC I'll have a good game, then a a bad game and I get annoyed with myself."

Case in point was last week's games against Brigham Young and Utah. Evers had 10 points and a crucial bucket and steal in the last minute against BYU.

"Against Utah I had one job to do on defense and I didn't do it. That girl (Erin Gibbons) made four straight 3-pointers in my face," Evers said.

A forward playing center, Liu averages 7.3 points and 4.9 rebounds a game.

Evers scores 8.5 points a game and is third on the team in steals with 28.

Each player wants to work with youngsters after graduation. Liu, a family resources major, plans to go into counseling and guidance. Evers, a physical education major, wants to teach and coach.

"I already have my list of what not to do as a coach," Evers said.

Liu will graduate in December, Evers in May of 2001.

BJ Itoman plays
final home game

BJ Itoman, Hawaii's 5-foot-5 senior point guard, plays her final home game tonight.

In four seasons she has missed just one of 109 Wahine games and neither she nor the coaches can remember why.

She has been the starting point guard the past three years and has excelled academically.

Itoman will leave her mark on the Wahine record book in several career categories:

Assists: The leader with 466.

Steals: No. 3 with 244, needs 11 to move into second place.

3-point field goals made: No. 3 with 73.

3-point field goals attempted: No. 3 with 241.

Free throw percentage: No. 3 at .807.

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