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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, November 24, 2001

Hawai'i, No. 7 Stanford to meet in tourney semis

By Catherine E. Toth
Advertiser Staff Writer

The University of Hawai'i Wahine take aim at No. 7 Stanford today after a 69-61 win over Wyoming last night.

Three Wahine posted double-double performances in points and rebounds as UH (3-0) beat the young-but-tough Cowgirls to reach the semifinals of the Panda Travel Rainbow Wahine Classic before 1,298 fans at Stan Sheriff Center.

A sluggish start, which resulted in the Wahine nursing a 39-31 at the half, isn't in the game plan for today's 1:20 p.m. matchup with the Cardinal.

"They're very talented, very good on both ends of the court," said Hawai'i coach Vince Goo. "It'll be a challenge for us. But I made the brackets ahead of time, and I wanted them in ours."

Defense played a big part in the Wahine's win. Hawai'i grabbed 56 rebounds, compared to Wyoming's 37. Though the Cowgirls recorded more steals (10 to 3), the Wahine blocked more shots (6 to 2).

"We got out-manned on rebounds," admitted Wyoming coach Cindy Fisher. "You can't win a game when they've got 20 more rebounds."

Hawai'i took control of the game early, with leads of 7-0 and 18-10 in the first six minutes of the first half. But the Cowgirls closed the lead behind back-to-back 3-pointers and a quick jumper by sophomore guard Carly Stucky, who led her team with 16 points, 11 in the first half.

Wyoming's scrappy defense gave the Wahine some problems; Hawai'i turned over the ball 18 times.

"They're very physical; they get on the line and stop you in your path," Goo said. "Because of that defensive pressure, we didn't hold our composure at times."

The Cowgirls held 6-foot-5 center Christen Roper to just eight points, on 4-of-11 shooting. In last week's Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort Classic, she averaged 18.5 points and 14 rebounds per game.

"We had problems moving the offense around," said sophomore guard April Atuaia, who scored 15 points.

Wyoming's physical play under the basket hurt Hawai'i — literally: Going up for the rebound, Cowgirls center Ann McColl whacked Wahine starting point guard Janka Gabrielova in the face. She sustained a broken nose and is questionable for today's game.

Still, the Wahine dominated the game, never letting the Cowgirls closer than two points in the second half — and never letting them take the lead.

Hurried shooting by the Cowgirls that resulted in missed buckets gave the Wahine enough room to stay ahead.

Junior forward Natasja Allen, aggressive to the basket, led the Wahine with 16 points, 12 in the paint. She was one of three Wahine who posted a double-double in points and boards with 13.

(Atuaia had 15 points and 14 rebounds; guard Karena Greeny recorded 12 points and 11 boards.)

The Wahine also got a boost from freshman forward Jade Abele, who shot 4-of-4 for nine points.

• Stanford 96, Minnesota 65: No. 7 Stanford confirmed its ranking as the Cardinal handily defeated a scrappy Minnesota team.

Sophomore forward Nicole Powell led Stanford with 19 points and eight rebounds. Senior guard Lindsey Yamasaki added 17 points, six boards and three steals.

Stanford (3-0, 1-0) handed Minnesota (2-1, 0-1) its first loss of the season, though it had difficulty breaking away from the Golden Gophers in the first half.

Tough defense on the part of Minnesota kept the quick Cardinal off-balance. Stanford entered the locker room at halftime with a 46-32 lead.

"They played very physical, very aggressive," said Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer. "I thought we didn't play as aggressive as we needed to."

But Stanford came out strong in the second half, increasing its lead to 34 points with six minutes left.

• Penn State 89, Florida Atlantic 66: Sophomore guard Kelly Mazzante led Penn State with 21 points.

• Oklahoma State 77, Weber State 64: With 17 points apiece, junior guard Chantoya Hawkins and sophomore forward Trisha Skibbe led Oklahoma State.