Confidence helps UH’s
Spooner improve

Callie Spooner is shooting more this season and doing it with increased confidence.

Both she and Hawaii Rainbow Wahine basketball coach Jim Bolla cite that as one important reason for her improved performance this season, although her statistics are similar to last year.

Tulsa at Hawaii

When: Today, 7 p.m.

Where: Stan Sheriff Center

Radio/TV: None

Tickets: All seats general admission. $7 adults, $6 seniors. UH students with valid ID and children age 4-18 free

Parking: $3

Spooner has not been in the starting lineup, but has appeared in 17 of the 21 Wahine games. Her time on the court is determined, in part, by the opponent. She and Bolla have discussed why this is the case.

"Some teams have girls that I can play against, where I can use my size and ability," said Spooner. "Other teams have girls that are quicker and more athletic. He (Bolla) was honest and that lets me know where I stand."

Bolla said, "Callie knows her limitations and she stays within her limits. She knows why she can play in certain games and not others. She doesn't try to do what she can't do."

Spooner's two best games this season were Jan. 20 against Texas-El Paso and two nights later when she scored a career-high 14 points and pulled down a career-best six rebounds against Boise State.

She likes Bolla's offensive philosophy.

"It suits everyone individually and brings us together as a team," said Spooner. "Our first option is to score, but in our system there are so many different options. If we do what we are supposed to, then we score."

Spooner has the most minutes (158) of the players coming off the bench other than Alofa Toiaivao. The 6-foot-3 center gets her minutes, almost 10 a game, because Bolla plays those who have made the most adjustments to his system.

She knew she wanted to play for the Wahine after making her recruiting visit nine days after 9/11.

"I was scared to fly, but on the way back to the airport. I told my high school teammate and a UH recruit (Breann Sitton) that Hawaii was where I wanted to play."

Her parents encouraged her to take three more planned recruiting trips to Nevada, San Diego State and UC Riverside just to make sure. She did, then signed with the Wahine.

"I really liked the coaching staff. I clicked best with the UH players and felt I would fit in best with them," said Spooner, who has never been bothered by homesickness.

She spent her freshman year behind Christen Roper, watching how the college game was played. As a sophomore she learned to be more aggressive and assertive in the game. Those two years are paying off.

"Callie works hard, is there every day. I think she is having fun this year," said Bolla.

Her biggest adjustment to college was realizing there was a job to do.

"Basically, you have to put your personal life and fun behind and focus on basketball and school," said Spooner, who is majoring in human resource management and would like to run her own business some day.

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