Sunday, January 7, 2001
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Posted on: Sunday, January 7, 2001

Second-half collapses leave Wahine at a loss

By Ann Miller
Advertiser Staff Writer

Wahine basketball went into its Western Athletic Conference season Friday with a feel-good attitude fueled by hard work and a five-game winning streak. It goes into tonight’s game against Southern Methodist drenched in doubt.

What a difference an overtime loss to Texas Christian can create.

Hawaii closed Friday’s game with Kylie Galloway too ill to play, its offense in disarray and its proud defense burned late for the second straight game.

Galloway’s health is the primary concern. She asked to come out in the final minutes Friday because she felt so badly and suffered from blurred vision. She underwent tests yesterday and doctors told UH coach Vince Goo that Galloway was probably dehydrated. She practiced a short time and could play today, pending results of a final test.

"Kylie doesn’t need come out very often," Goo said. "I had to ask her if she needed to come out and she said yeah so I knew it was something pretty serious."

Galloway’s absence and Texas Christian’s zone defense collaborated to stifle Hawaii’s offense in the second half. Point guard Janka Gabrielova characterized the attack as too slow and the Frogs faithfully kept to their game plan of keeping the Wahine off the foul line; UH came into the game averaging 20 points off free throws, but got just nine Friday.

One brilliantly executed offensive play that forced overtime, and Crystal Lee’s astonishing long-distance shooting in the final minutes, couldn’t salvage the game. A suddenly-vulnerable defense saw to that.

More than two weeks ago, the Wahine won that fifth consecutive game despite allowing Houston to score 51 points in the second half. Friday, TCU had 49 in the final 25 minutes - against a team that had been allowing just 59 a game. Kati Safaritova, a 6-foot-2 post player, scored 21 second-half points for TCU, most on lonely jumpers from the top of the key.

"On the defensive end, we really did good things against their guards," Goo said. "We played them close to perfection. It was not the same with the post people. We knew Safaritova could shoot it. We knew where we wanted to be and we didn’t get there. We switched four people on her and they all took turns not getting it done."

Safaritova is gone now, but SMU brings All-American guard D-dra Rucker, who was responsible for more than half the Mustang offense (30 points, 8 assists) in Friday’s 74-57 victory at San Jose State.

Another loss tonight, to the defending WAC regular-season champions, would multiply Hawaii’s Friday failing exponentially. Losing two games at home, in a conference with such radical travel, could cost the Wahine a shot at the title in the first week.

TCU coach Jeff Mittie predicted the WAC’s balance will turn 13-3 into a No. 1 tournament seed, with maybe "three of four" chasers finishing 12-4. That leaves Hawaii minimal margin for error.

"We’ve given up a lot of points in the second half lately," Goo admitted. "I don’t think it’s conditioning. We’ve got to find out what the problem is."

OVER AND BACK: Wahine basketball alumnae interested in playing in the annual alumnae game on Sunday, Jan. 21 (3 p.m.) should call assistant coach Da Houl (956-4507). UH plays San Jose State following the alumnae exhibition. ... TCU got its first-ever victory over the Wahine in its last WAC game in Hawaii. The Horned Frogs leave the conference at the end of this school year. ... The Wahine play WAC games at UTEP next Sunday and Tulsa Jan. 16. It is their first road trip of the season.

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