Wahine schedule
gets even tougher

By Al Chase

The 2002-03 Hawaii women's basketball team's 27-game schedule features four teams that were ranked in the top 12 in the final coaches poll last season.

Heading that list is the undefeated defending national champion Connecticut Huskies (39-0), followed by national runner-up Oklahoma (32-4), both entered in the eight-team Hawaiian Airlines Rainbow Wahine Classic, set to begin Nov. 29

The Huskies and the Sooners are in opposite brackets and would face each other if they advance to the tournament title game.

The Wahine play Gonzaga in the first round. Should UH win, the Wahine could meet UConn in the second round, should the Huskies defeat Denver in the opening round.

Also in the Classic field are North Carolina (26-9), which finished ranked No. 11, Sun Belt Conference semifinalist Denver (16-13), Women's National Invitation Tournament participant DePaul (15-14), Fordham (6-23), and Gonzaga (8-18).

"We're very happy with the caliber of teams coming in, but we have to go out and win some of these games," UH coach Vince Goo said. "The schedule is pretty tough."

The Wahine open the season with the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort Classic on Nov. 23 against UCLA and play Sacramento State two nights later. Drake, another top-25 team, withdrew from the event, making it a round-robin tournament.

Both the Bruins (9-20) and the Hornets (0-27) are coming off seasons they want to forget.

"UCLA will be back," said Goo, who acknowledged the Bruins' visit was scheduled long before they stumbled last season.

After a break to prepare for final exams, the Wahine host the Hawaii Invitational on Dec. 14-15. Joining Hawaii in the tournament are Nevada-Las Vegas (23-8), Long Island (18-12) and Kentucky (9-20). Hawaii plays Kentucky in the first round.

The final preseason tournament, the Ala Moana Paradise Classic on Dec. 20-21, brings Texas Tech (20-12), ranked No. 12 at the end of last season, Tennessee-Chattanooga (23-8), and Loyola Marymount (15-13) to the Stan Sheriff Center.

The Wahine open with the Loyola Marymount. The Lions are coming off consecutive winning seasons and are picked to finish fourth in the West Coast Conference coach's preseason poll.

Note: All-Star Girls Report ranked UConn's recruiting class second behind Duke. Western Athletic Conference champion Louisiana Tech was third and Oklahoma was ranked seventh best in the nation.


Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort Classic

Nov. 23-25

Nov. 23: Hawaii vs. UCLA, 1 p.m.
Nov. 24: UCLA vs. Sacramento St., 2 p.m.
Nov. 25: Hawaii vs. Sacramento St., 7 p.m.

Rainbow Wahine Classic

Nov. 29-Dec. 1

Nov. 29: First round, North Carolina vs. DePaul, 12:30 p.m.; Oklahoma vs. Fordham, 2:40 p.m.; Hawaii vs. Gonzaga, 4:50 p.m.; Connecticut vs. Denver, 7 p.m.
Nov. 30: Semifinal round, Hawaii-Gonzaga winner vs. Connecticut-Denver winner, 11 a.m.; North Carolina-DePaul loser vs. Oklahoma-Fordham loser, 1:10 p.m.; Hawaii-Gonzaga loser vs. Connecticut-Denver loser, 3:20 p.m.; North Carolina-DePaul winner vs. Oklahoma-Fordham winner, 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 1: Seventh place, 11 a.m.; Fifth place, 1:10 p.m.; Third place, 3:20 p.m.; Championship, 5:30 p.m.

Hawaii Invitational

Dec. 14-15

Dec. 14: First round, Nevada-Las Vegas vs. Long Island, 5 p.m.; Hawaii vs. Kentucky, 7 p.m.
Dec. 15: Third place, UNLV-Long Island loser vs. Hawaii-Kentucky loser, 3 p.m.; Championship, Hawaii-Kentucky winner vs. UNLV-Long Island winner, 5 p.m.

Ala Moana Hotel Paradise Classic

Dec. 20-21

Dec. 20: First round, Texas Tech vs. Tennessee-Chattanooga, 1 p.m.; Hawaii vs. Loyola Marymount, 3 p.m.
Dec. 21: Third place, Texas Tech-Tennessee-Chattanooga loser vs. Hawaii-Loyola Marymount loser, 1 p.m.; Hawaii-Loyola Marymount winner vs. Texas Tech-Tennessee-Chattanooga winner, 3 p.m.

WAC games

Jan. 2: Texas-El Paso, 7 p.m.
Jan. 4: Boise State, 7 p.m.
Jan. 9: at Southern Methodist
Jan. 11: at Louisiana Tech
Jan. 18: San Jose State, 7 p.m.
Jan. 23: Fresno State, 7 p.m.
Jan. 25: Nevada, 7 p.m.
Jan. 30: at Rice
Feb. 1: at Tulsa
Feb. 6: Louisiana Tech, 7 p.m.
Feb. 8: Southern Methodist, 7 p.m.
Feb. 16: at San Jose State
Feb. 20: at Nevada
Feb. 22: at Fresno State
Feb. 27: Tulsa, 7 p.m.
March 1: Rice, 7 p.m.
March 6: at Boise State
March 8: at Texas-El Paso
March 11-15: WAC Tournament at Tulsa, Okla.

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