Thursday, November 26, 2015         


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Wahine's WAC tourney dream begins on road

By Brian McInnis


Three teams are hungry for wins. Two seats remain at the table.

In order to pull up a coveted chair at next month's Western Athletic Conference women's basketball tournament in Las Vegas, Hawaii would do well to play the role of unruly guest at the dinner party.

A difficult three-game road trip stands between the Rainbow Wahine (8-15, 2-8 WAC) and a three-game homestand to close out the regular season.

Entering tomorrow's game at Nevada (16-7, 5-5), UH is tied for seventh place with San Jose State and Boise State. In all likelihood, one of those three will finish last among nine teams and be left home from the WAC tournament in Las Vegas.


Western Athletic Conference

» Who: Hawaii (8-15, 2-8 WAC) at Nevada (16-7, 5-5)

» When: 4 p.m. tomorrow

» Streaming video:

» Radio: None

"For our seniors there's no looking back," senior point guard Keisha Kanekoa said. "You give your all on the court ... I think everybody has that sense of feeling. There's five of us seniors. We play for each other. Hopefully we can get some wins and make it into postseason."

UH follows at New Mexico State (10-12, 4-4) on Tuesday and Louisiana Tech (17-5, 9-0) on Thursday.

"It seems we saved the most difficult leg of all road trips for the last one," UH coach Dana Takahara-Dias said. "This one's going to be brutal for us as we travel the thousand miles we need to get to every venue. But that's what every team does in the WAC; you're going to have to travel to play.

"For us to meet our goal of postseason and to extend our season by qualifying for the WAC tournament, we really, really need to win on the road."

The Wahine have lost 17 straight WAC road games dating back to 2008-09 but do have an advantage this time: They've remembered how to win.

After losing all eight WAC games during the first half of league play, UH defeated Boise State (69-53) and Idaho (72-60) at the Stan Sheriff Center last week.

"I think it was just effort and having pride," senior guard Megan Tinnin said. "We kind of lost that for a little bit there. We kind of got used to losing, and that's what hurt us."

To make it a three-game winning streak, the Wahine will have to guard Nevada's Tahnee Robinson much more effectively than they did in Honolulu. The WAC's second-leading scorer (about 21 points per game) erupted for 21 of her 27 points in the first half, burying the Wahine early in a 75-62 loss. Robinson went for 26 last night against San Jose State on 9-for-16 shooting.

Nevada, New Mexico State and Louisiana Tech are all on Tinnin's hit list of schools to beat before she finishes her career.

"One last chance," she said.

Freshman forward Kamilah Jackson has been quieter of late for UH, but still leads the Wahine in scoring at 12.2 points per game. She is fourth in the country in rebounding with a 12.2 average.

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