The Western Athletic Conference women's basketball race has boiled down to a battle for second place with four weeks left in the regular season. Teams can forget about catching 11-0 Louisiana Tech.
for first road win
By Al Chase
Tulsa (7-3), Rice (7-4), Hawaii (6-5), Fresno State (6-5) and Southern Methodist (6-5) have a legitimate chance to finish second. The consolation prize is that team is placed in the bracket opposite Louisiana Tech at the WAC tournament.
The Rainbow Wahine are on the mainland for three games in seven days. The trek starts with today's contest against host San Jose State. They also play at Nevada on Thursday and at Fresno State on Saturday.
The Wahine realize that, in all probability, they must win the WAC tournament and earn the automatic bid if they are to participate in the NCAA tournament. They don't even like to mention the Women's National Invitational, a tournament UH has gone to the last three seasons.
"We don't think about either one," Wahine coach Vince Goo said. "We set our goals at the beginning of the year and we know what steps we have to take to achieve those goals and the next step is to beat San Jose State."
The Wahine are an uncharacteristic 0-4 on the road this year. They defeated all three opponents on this trip at home earlier this season.
Goo liked how his players responded to a new tactic, a more energized game, he employed against Southern Methodist last Saturday.
"We're in the second half of the season. We want to make sure people see a different look from us, not just on offense and defense, but we want to get up-tempo," Goo said.
"I know our opponents will look at the first-round game film and prepare for that. What we're doing is a little more freelance. At the defensive end we look for more steals, get the ball and go. We're probably last in the conference in steals (true), but we're very good at everything else defensively. This makes it more exciting and maybe the offense will flow from that."
The Spartans (4-7 WAC) have won seven of eight at home, with the only loss being to Louisiana Tech by a mere seven points; this after San Jose State raced to a 20-7 lead, then got sloppy.
"We don't expect anything different from them," UH assistant Da Houl said. "San Jose State just plays very good at home."
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