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Wahine eager to start WAC play

By Brian McInnis

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 01:49 a.m. HST, Jan 05, 2011



Record-wise, Dana Takahara-Dias' second go-round in nonconference play was identical to the first.

The true measure of success or failure for the 6-7 Rainbow Wahine this season, however, will be decided over the next 16 games and then, the team hopes, a few more in the Western Athletic Conference tournament and beyond.

UH gets its first WAC test tomorrow when it plays New Mexico State (6-8) at 5 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center.

The Aggies were projected just above the Wahine, in the middle of the WAC pack, but have lost five straight games coming in. It's a much more ideal start to league play this time for the Wahine, who were blasted in a school-record 41-point WAC loss at Fresno State to start last year.

Takahara-Dias' crew never really recovered, going 4-12 in the league (10-20 overall). They failed to win a WAC road game.

"We're excited to start WAC play, more importantly at home," Takahara-Dias said. "It didn't happen like that last year. We had a rude awakening. ... But we've responded to the year-round conditioning we implemented (after last season) ... and it's really paying off now that we're able to sustain long minutes for consecutive days."

UH follows against Louisiana Tech (8-5) on Saturday, then plays its next five on the road.

Senior guard Megan Tinnin, who has 26 of the team's 48 3-pointers, has a wish list of WAC foes she'd like to beat on her way out. They also happen to be some of the league's best teams: Nevada (11-2), Louisiana Tech, three-time defending champ Fresno State (9-5) and New Mexico State.

"It'd be good to end on a good note if we can beat them," Tinnin said.

A lack of bench production, 3-pointer dry spells and too many turnovers (20.3 per game) are the Wahine's biggest concerns.

But the emergence of freshman forward Kamilah Jackson, the only player in the WAC averaging a double-double (13.9 points, 11.9 rebounds) has been nothing short of amazing. Her 25 rebounds against Cal State Bakersfield tied the WAC record and is the most by any player in the country this season. She is sixth nationally in rebounding overall.

 

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WAC CAPSULES

Boise State Broncos (9-5)
Coach: Gordy Presnell (sixth year)

Series: BSU leads 11-9

Top players: G Kati Isham (15.6 ppg, 38 3PTM), F Lauren Lenhardt (11.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg)

Notes: The Broncos roll deep, with nine players averaging 10 or more minutes in all 14 games this season. ... Isham, a JUCO transfer, leads the WAC in 3-point percentage at 45.8.

Fresno State Bulldogs (9-5)
Coach: Adrian Wiggins (seventh year)

Series: UH leads 25-21

Top players: G Jaleesa Ross (15.7 ppg, 4.1 apg, 43 3PTM), F Hayley Munro (12.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg), F Rosie Moult (12.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg)

Notes: Behind Ross, the preseason WAC player of the year, the defending conference champs are averaging 9.4 3-pointers a game. That's tops in the nation.

Hawaii Rainbow Wahine (6-7)
Coach: Dana Takahara-Dias (second year)

Top players: F Kamilah Jackson (13.9 ppg, 11.9 rpg, 54.6 FG%), G Keisha Kanekoa (12.5 ppg, 3.4 apg), G Megan Tinnin (9.5 ppg, 26 3PTM)

Notes: Worst free-throw shooting team (62.9 percent) in WAC. ... Shawna Kuehu's 43 assists is one behind Kanekoa for the team lead. ... Jackson's offensive rebounding per game (5.4) is over two more than the next-closest WAC player.

Idaho Vandals (7-5)
Coach: Jon Lewlee (third year)

Series: UH leads 9-3

Top players: F Yinka Olorunnife (13.6 ppg, 9.8 rpg), G Rachele Kloke (12.9 ppg, 50.4 FG%)

Notes: Top WAC team in field-goal defense (37.1 percent), free-throw percentage (75.0) and blocks (5.3 per game). Junior guard Shaena Kuehu is the twin sister of UH's Shawna Kuehu, and Newlee and assistant Gavin Petersen were former UH assistants under Vince Goo.

Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters (8-5)
Coach: Teresa Weatherspoon (third year)

Series: LT leads 20-3

Top players: F Adrienne Johnson (21.5 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 2.2 spg)

Notes: Do-it-all Johnson is shooting 54.9 percent from the field, 45.5 percent on 3-pointers and 84.8 percent at the free-throw line. ... Weatherspoon, a LaTech alum and WNBA legend, was inducted to the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame over the summer.

Nevada Wolf Pack (11-2)
Coach: Jane Albright (third year)

Series: UH leads 22-13

Top players: G Tahnee Robinson (22.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 40.5 3PT%, 83.9 FT%), F Shavon Moore (16.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg), F Kayla Williams (9.4 ppg, 9.2 rpg)

Notes: Robinson is the sixth-leading scorer in the country. ... Nevada is WAC's best rebounding team at plus-7.9 per game.

New Mexico State Aggies (6-8)
Coach: Darin Spence (eighth year)

Series: NMSU leads 14-13

Top players: G Madison Spence (14.1 ppg, 37.0 3PT%), G Jasmine Lowe (13.9 ppg, 3.2 spg), F Tabytha Wampler (13.5 ppg, 9.1 rpg)

Notes: Four players averaging double-figure scoring, most in the WAC. ... Lowe's 45 steals is seven more than any other WAC player. ... Madison Spence is the daughter of Darin Spence.

San Jose State Spartans (0-13)
Coach: Pam DeCosta (fourth year)

Series: UH leads 40-13

Top players: G AJ Newton (10.9 ppg), F Brittany Johnson (10.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg)

Notes: Spartans are one of seven winless Division I teams. The main reason why? SJSU scores 48.7 points per game, lowest in the league by nearly 15 ppg.

Utah State Aggies (6-7)
Coach: Raegan Pebley (eighth year)

Series: UH leads 7-6

Top players: F Ashlee Brown (14.0 ppg, 8.5 rpg)

Notes: Aggies are the only WAC team with just one double-digit scorer. ... Danyelle Snelgro, an Aggies player as recently as 2009, is now an assistant coach.






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