Wahine finally win at tourney


POSTED: Wednesday, March 11, 2009

RENO, Nev. » With a long-awaited tourney win behind it, Hawaii could focus on trying to play spoiler today.




WAC Women

        At Nevada, all times Hawaii time




        Hawaii 70, San Jose State 57



        » Idaho (4) vs. Utah State (5), 9 a.m.

        Fresno State (1) vs. Hawaii (8), 11:30 a.m.

        Nevada (3) vs. Boise State (6), 3 p.m.

        Louisiana Tech (2) vs. New Mexico State (7), 5:30 p.m.



        Semifinals, 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.



        Championship, 10 a.m.

The Rainbow Wahine broke a six-year winless drought in the Western Athletic Conference women's basketball tournament, getting a game-high 18 points from Keisha Kanekoa in a 70-57 win over San Jose State last night at the Lawlor Events Center.

That gave UH a date with No. 1 seed Fresno State in today's quarterfinals, starting at 11:30 a.m. Hawaii time.

“;The last couple of years we've lost the first game so it was really important for us to try to win this play-in game so we can get on a roll,”; acting head coach Pat Charity said.

Dita Liepkalne added 12 points on 5-for-6 shooting and Allie Patterson converted all four field-goal attempts and chipped in 10 off the bench.

Eleven Wahine played at least 9 minutes as UH saw its lead grow to as big as 24 with 7 minutes remaining.

A 3-pointer by Shaunna Ridge sparked a 15-2 Spartans run as San Jose State closed to within 11 with 2 minutes remaining, forcing Charity to put her starters back into the game.

“;We didn't do exactly what we wanted to do as far as keeping the lead,”; Charity said.

Kanekoa then put the game away with a free throw and a layup to put Hawaii back up 14.

“;We took what they gave us and just kept on attacking them,”; Kanekoa said. “;We hit our shots, boxed out, and did all the little things.”;

Hawaii started the game making its first three shots, all from 3-point range.

Kanekoa had eight quick points in less than 3 minutes, and a 3-pointer by Dita Liepkalne gave Hawaii a 21-11 advantage.

The Spartans pulled to 27-22 on two free throws by Sayja Sumler. With their shots not falling, the Rainbow Wahine started running more of their offense, resulting in easy layups as they finished the half on a 12-2 run to take a 39-24 lead into the break.

“;We wanted to see what we could get from the outside, because usually we can hit those shots,”; Charity said. “;Then we went to our 5-out and started taking it to the basket.”;

Hawaii's 39 first-half points were the most it scored against any WAC team this season. It had 19 assists on 24 made field goals, and shot 50 percent (24-for-48) from the field and 41 percent (7-for-17) from the 3-point line.

“;They're laughing at me because I think sometimes we get it in the paint and we pass too much,”; Charity said. “;They're so generous. I wish I played with them.”;

Favorites against a 2-28 Spartans club, the Rainbow Wahine find themselves as a big underdog against the Bulldogs, who entered today 21-8 and beat the Wahine by 26 and 28 points earlier this year.

“;I think we're just excited to get the win today,”; Liepkalne said. “;Fresno State is a better team and it's going to take a lot to play against them, but I think we're more than capable.”;

Hawaii 70, San Jose State 57

Spartans (2-28, 1-15)


Rainbow Wahine (8-22, 4-12)


Key — fg-a: field goals made-attempted; ft-a: free throws made-attempted; rb: rebounds; pf: personal fouls; pts: total points; a: assists; to: turnovers; min: minutes played.

Halftime — Hawaii 39, San Jose State 24

3-point goals — San Jose State 3-18 (Ridge 2-7, Sumler 1-1, White 0-4, Shavers 0-6), Hawaii 7-17 (Kanekoa 3-4, Cho 1-2, Liepkalne 1-2, Galdones 1-3, Tinnin 1-6).

Steals — San Jose State 12 (Brown 6, Ridge 3, Shavers, Sumler, Broaden), Hawaii 5 (Cho, Liepkalne, Linton, Hamilton, Dew). Blocked shots — San Jose State 2 (Sumler, Ridge), Hawaii 3 (Arbuckle 2, Jones).

Officials — Melissa Barlow, Lisa Jones, Brenda Pantoja. Attendance — N/A.