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Idaho coach taking Wahine's fouls to WAC official

By Brian McInnis and Ferd Lewis


University of Idaho coach Jon Newlee said he plans to talk to the Western Athletic Conference supervisor of officials at length about a series of fouls involving the University of Hawaii women's basketball team.

Newlee held an animated, finger-pointing conversation with UH coach Dana Takahara-Dias while shaking hands following the Vandals' 72-60 loss to the Rainbow Wahine on Saturday night.

He was aggravated about a play with 13:53 left in the second half, when UH point guard Keisha Kanekoa got tangled with UI guard Rachele Kloke going for a loose ball. While Kanekoa came away relatively unscathed, Kloke hit the Stan Sheriff Center court hard on her back. Kanekoa was whistled for the intentional, the third called on UH during its three-game homestand last week.

Newlee said yesterday, "Yeah, I certainly wasn't happy about that (Kloke being knocked down) and basically told (Takahara-Dias) so.

"The same thing happened in their Nevada game. They put a kid (Johnna Ward) out with an intentional flagrant foul. And I told her that, too. We knew that coming in."

Newlee said he has heard from other coaches in the conference and will meet with Kaye Garms, the WAC supervisor of officials. "I talked to the supervisor of officials. We're going to meet on Thursday about it just like the Nevada coach (Jane Albright), and I talked to her about the same thing. She (Garms) is coming to our Utah State game," Newlee said.

Takahara-Dias said yesterday she disagreed with the intentional foul calls in all three games last week.

"I'll tell you the reason why. I have watched every game film, especially the (plays) that were blown intentional, and to me, if I'm not mistaken, an intentional foul is a malicious attempt at the ball," she said. "I didn't think any of those were malicious. I thought we were going for the ball, we were trying our best to secure possession without having any harm or foul to our opponent.

"I understand officiating is judgment, and they work very hard, no doubt about it," she added. "I respect the fact that they make the calls that they do. However, there's times where I'm going to beg to differ."

Of the Kanekoa-Kloke play, Newlee said, "I took from it exactly what was called, an intentional flagrant foul. When you grab somebody around the neck and throw them to the ground, it is (an) intentional flagrant foul."

A replay of KFVE footage of the game appeared to show Kanekoa's arm was caught under the arm of Kloke while the shorter UH guard jumped for the airborne ball, causing the taller player's legs to go out from under her.

KFVE commentators Jim Leahey and Lori Santi remarked that there didn't appear to be anything malicious on the play. Kanekoa walked over to the Idaho players and patted Kloke while trainers examined her. Kloke left the game for nearly 4 minutes, but returned and scored a game-high 25 points.

"After viewing that segment and that particular play in a very hard-fought game, I did not feel it was intentional," Takahara-Dias said. "I really felt that Keisha was going for the ball, and nobody had possession over it. Both players were going for the loose ball in the air."

Newlee said the foul was his only bone of contention with UH. "It (talking to Takahara-Dias) was all about that, nothing else. I'm the coach, and you hate to see any players get hurt, especially in that manner, and so I felt like I had to stand up for our players."

"We do not teach that kind of style of play," contended Takahara-Dias. "That is not something what we practice nor do we preach. We like to think of ourselves as a very scrappy team, but unfortunately when we do go for loose balls, it could be construed as something possibly that an official might call an intentional foul. But that's something we don't preach as a coaching staff."

Newlee served as an assistant coach for three years at UH (1999-2002). "I have great memories of UH," Newlee said. "I had a great three years with Vince (Goo). He's a great guy and I certainly had a great experience out there."

UH (8-15, 2-8 WAC) heads to the road for its next three league games, starting Saturday at Nevada.

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