Star-Bulletin Sports

Saturday, January 26, 2002


Lane makes switch to
college ball easily

The Aiea graduate is having a blast
in her freshman year at Fresno State

By Grace Wen

Collegiate basketball is not what freshman Aritta Lane expected.

It's better.

And that can be tough to imagine, considering the peak that Lane descended from when she started college.

The 6-foot forward helped lead Aiea High School to its first state championship in girls basketball in May. She was named the Star-Bulletin's Co-Ms. Basketball after having a stellar senior season.

Six months after leaving Hawaii, Lane finds herself coming back but nestled in a different basketball cocoon with seven other freshmen in the Fresno State program. The group has tabbed itself the "Great Eight" and Lane is one of the team's freshman phenoms.

Fresno State coach Britt King says the group is not a clique but close on and off the court. They're part of the reason Lane is enjoying basketball and college so much.

"We don't go anywhere alone," Lane said. "If one goes, we all go everywhere.

"I see us going far. We're sticking together now and I see us still sticking together. We're just going to make each other better."

Fresno State plays Hawaii today at 7 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center.

The Aiea native is one of two rookies who has played her way into the starting lineup.

Lane averages 10 points a game and leads the Bulldogs in rebounding with 8.5 a game. She is second in the WAC in double-doubles with five. She's had nine double-figure scoring games. The freshman has led the team in scoring four times and rebounding 10 times. Twice she led in both categories.

She scored a career-high 20 points in the Bulldogs' rout of Texas-El Paso a week ago.

Lane is making the jump from high school to college look easy with hard work.

"Aritta's been playing very well," King said. "She's been working hard in practice, working hard in the games. The transition from high school to college is quite a big transition and she's adjusted to it pretty well. She's somebody that works very hard everyday.

"(By) her work ethic alone, I knew she was going to make a big contribution. From day one, she set the tone early. It was quite evident the first day at practice. She works almost effortlessly on that court. She's always giving a lot of second and third and fourth efforts."

In practice maybe. In games, the agile Lane doesn't need to give as many efforts because she usually gets it on the first try. When she's not busy attacking the boards, she's the first to get downcourt in the Bulldogs' fast-break offense. King says there is no doubt that Lane makes Fresno State a much quicker team.

She'll likely earn a spot on the conference newcomer honor roll. Adjusting to the up-tempo college game didn't seem to be a problem. In Lane's debut against Delaware State, she poured in 19 points and grabbed 15 rebounds.

"I was pretty comfortable (playing collegiate basketball)," Lane said. "I knew there were probably some challenges, things I had to change to get better. It hasn't really bothered me."

In fact, nothing seems to bother Lane. And if it did, you wouldn't know it. She just doesn't get flustered or mad. In practice, Lane has taken a pounding and been hacked often as King has tried to toughen her up. But King says that nothing fazes Lane.

"Aritta's very competitive," King said. "She's a happy-go-lucky type of person. Nothing really fazes her or shakes her. Everyday she's happy. Everyday she's smiling.

"She just told me yesterday she never gets mad and I believe her. I've never seen her mad. No matter how much you push her, she's going to keep coming back. She's not going to back down and she's not going to give up."

Lane never gave up on playing collegiate basketball either. She wasn't being recruited for basketball when Wahine volleyball coach Dave Shoji offered her the opportunity to play volleyball. She said no, because basketball is her sport of choice, and now she's hoping to prove herself today.

"I'm not so much excited to come home to Hawaii," Lane said. "I'm just excited to play. I was told my whole life that I was going to play for them (the Wahine). And now I'm being told to beat them. I think that's so much sweeter."


When: Today, 7 p.m.
Where: Stan Sheriff Center
TV: Live, KFVE (Ch. 5)
Radio: Live, KCCN (1420-AM)
Tickets: All seats general admission. $7 adults, $3 seniors, $4 for children (age 4-17) and UH students.
Parking: $3


Hawaii (12-4 overall, 5-2 WAC)

Ht. Pts. Reb. Ast.

G Janka Gabrielova (Sr.) 5-6 10.9 2.9 4.7

G April Atuaia (Soph.) 5-10 8.2 7.1 3.8

F Natasja Allen (Jr.) 6-2 12.9 5.8 1.2

F Karena Greeny (Sr.) 5-11 8.0 5.4 1.8

C Christen Roper (Jr.) 6-5 10.9 8.3 0.6

FRESNO state (8-10, 3-5)

Ht. Pts. Reb. Ast.

G Lindsay Logan (Jr.) 5-6 16.2 2.4 4.6

G Veronica Mack (Fr.) 5-6 7.8 2.2 2.2

G Tiffany Simon (Jr.) 5-9 6.7 3.8 1.9

F Aritta Lane (Fr.) 6-0 9.9 8.5 1.8

F Omelogo Udeze (Jr.) 6-1 11.7 7.2 1.2

Notes: Tonight is Senior Night. All fans age 55 and older will get tickets at half price. ... Hawaii leads the series 20-6 and has a 12-game winning streak against FSU. In the last meeting, Feb. 9, 2001, the Wahine won 84-65 at the Stan Sheriff Center. ... UH head coach Vince Goo's career record is 299-128 (.700). ... The Wahine are 106-35 (.752) in all games at the Stan Sheriff Center and 47-12 (.796) in WAC home games in the arena. ... FSU freshman forward Aritta Lane leads the WAC in field goal percentage (.518) while junior point guard Lindsay Logan has canned the most 3-point shots (48).

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