Wahine get revenge on Cougars


POSTED: Tuesday, December 23, 2008

In the end, a positive outcome was stronger than a plethora of negatives.

The Hawaii women's basketball team can celebrate the holidays with clear minds after holding off Washington State, 65-59, before a gathering of 133 yesterday at the Stan Sheriff Center.

The Rainbow Wahine (3-8) overcame a season-high 29 turnovers and the absence of their leading scorer and distributor, Keisha Kanekoa, who was out with an ankle injury suffered at the end of Sunday's practice.

But their composure remained after a 17-point lead was erased by the Pac-10 Cougars (7-3), who defeated the Wahine 66-48 on Friday.

Megan Tinnin bounced back from a scoreless night in that game to post 20 points, eight rebounds and several critical free throws to help seal the win for UH. Sarah Ilic regained her starting role at center and added 15 points.

“;I think as a team, confidence-wise, beating a Pac-10 team is big-time,”; said Tinnin, who like many teammates is flying home for Christmas. “;To win like we did is good, too. No one gave up and everyone hung in there. Everyone had fun.”;

The Wahine did a much better job of rebounding (47-35 advantage) and closing out on 3-point shooters after WSU set a school record for long-range attempts in the first meeting.

“;It'd be a real downer for everybody if we didn't hold on in the end, but I think it's something for us to build on,”; UH coach Jim Bolla said. “;We got a couple of stops, turnovers (21 forced) when we had to. Without Keisha that's kind of a bonus.”;

The Cougars looked like they had taken a crash course in masonry over the weekend with a bricklaying 16-point first half on 17.9 percent shooting. Hawaii didn't play particularly well, either, but still nearly doubled up WSU at halftime.

Washington State's wretched first half almost put it on pace for the lowest point total scored against UH in a game (31), but the Cougars gradually shot themselves back into the contest in the second period.

Jazmine Perkins led WSU with 14 points - albeit on 5-for-20 shooting - and seven steals. April Cook added 11 and Rosie Tarnowski 10 for the Cougars. All three fouled out as they were forced to put the Wahine at the line to extend the game.

Washington State went on runs of 9-2 and 16-7 in the second half, capped by guard Katie Appleton's three straight 3-pointers to tie the game at 51 with 3 minutes, 16 seconds left.

Tinnin, who went inside for her offense all night, went right back in the paint for the go-ahead basket. She followed that by hitting the first of two free throws for a 56-54 lead with 15.8 seconds to play. When she missed the second, Ilic hustled for the rebound and hit two free throws for a four-point lead.

“;We had to have heart, and we played with heart from the get-go,”; Ilic said. “;It came down to the end, and it showed that we wanted it more than them.”;