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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Rainbow Wahine fall, 64-59

By Brandon Masuoka
Advertiser Staff Writer

Not even the hot shooting of Jade Abele could save the Rainbow Wahine basketball team last night against Tennessee Tech.

Hawai'i's Callie Spooner climbs the back of Tennessee Tech's Emily Christian in this rebound battle.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

The junior forward tied a school single-game record with six 3-pointers in Hawai'i's 64-59 loss in the consolation game of the 12th annual Ala Moana Hotel Paradise Classic.

A crowd of 430 at the Stan Sheriff Center watched Hawai'i lose its third consecutive game and fall to 2-7. Tennessee Tech improved to 3-5.

For the second night in a row, Hawai'i needed to play catch-up after falling behind 40-21 in the second half.

The Rainbow Wahine mounted a last-ditch rally and cut the deficit to 62-59 on Milia Macfarlane's 3-point shot with 35 seconds remaining. But the Golden Eaglettes did not allow a basket after that and made 2 of 4 free throws to ice the game.

"We're a good team," said Abele, who was 6 of 10 from 3-point territory and led UH with 20 points. "We go on runs every game. Once the Western Athletic Conference starts — once we get more game experience — it won't just be a run. We'll be the ones with the lead."

The Rainbow Wahine begin their 16-game conference schedule on Jan. 3 at Fresno State.

Last night's loss capped the first time since the 1994-95 season in which UH did not win a preseason tournament. In that season, Hawai'i finished 6-20 overall and 4-14 in the Big West Conference. It was Hawai'i coach Vince Goo's last losing season.

"We played really well at times and we played hard," Goo said of last night's game. "You can't ask for too much more than that when you go into conference play with a young group like this."

Last night, Tennessee Tech employed a 2-3 zone and dared the Rainbow Wahine shoot. They did, and finished shooting 33 percent (19 of 58), including 23 percent (6 of 26) in the first half.

"I watched a lot of film," Tennessee Tech coach Bill Worrell said. "Everybody has a weakness. I didn't want to play them man-to-man. We didn't have anybody who could guard No. 5 (Abele). We wanted her to stand still."

Goo said his players took quality shots in the first half, but "we just weren't knocking them down."

"We're going to have to do that because we're going to see more zones the rest of the year," Goo said.

In the second half, the Golden Eaglettes opened with a 14-3 run backed by four 3-pointers and increased their lead to 40-21. Hawai'i made it close in the final seconds, but could not overcome that deficit.

Tennessee Tech never trailed the entire game. In the first half, the Golden Eaglettes led by as many as 10 points on three occasions, eventually taking a 26-18 lead into halftime.

Abele joined Janka Gabrielova, Crystal Lee, Kate McMeeken-Ruscoe and Elizabeth Sirchia as the only Rainbow Wahine players to make six 3-pointers in a game.

"I couldn't make a layup to save my life, but on the 3-point line I had the feeling," Abele said. "I don't know how to explain it. I think it was a Christmas present."

Emily Christian led Tennessee Tech with 18 points, Jenna Baltimore 15 and Casey Bradford 10. Bryony Crouch scored 10 for Hawai'i.

• Northern Iowa 83, Fairfield 77, OT: Amy Swisher scored a game-high 26 points as the Panthers outscored the Stags 13-7 in overtime to win the 12th annual Ala Moana Hotel Paradise Classic championship.

Swisher shot 11 of 25 and grabbed 10 rebounds for Northern Iowa (4-4). Schrene Isidora led Fairfield (3-6) with 22 points.

• Referee explains decision: The starting location of Hawai'i's last-second throw-in that was criticized by coach Vince Goo after Monday's 67-65 loss to Fairfield (Conn.) was a judgment call, according to head referee Donovan Lewis.

Goo claimed Hawai'i should have been awarded a throw-in on the sideline closest to the visiting bench because that's where Rainbow Wahine guard Janevia Taylor had the ball when Hawai'i called a timeout with 8.7 seconds to play.

Goo said he devised a sideline play, but was shocked to see Hawai'i inbounding the ball underneath Fairfield's basket. Goo, who was out of timeouts, said he was forced to call a hurried play that did not work.

In response, Lewis said Hawai'i called a timeout when Taylor was in the corner near the opposing bench and baseline, giving referees a chance to pick the spot of the ensuing inbounds pass.

"The play ended right in the corner," Lewis said. "So (the location of the inbounds) could have gone either way. But why we go baseline is there's more room to throw it in. On the sideline, there's no room; the chairs are so close.

"There's no advantage or disadvantage from where you're moving the ball to get a better throw-in," Lewis continued. "Actually, the baseline is a better way for Hawai'i to get the ball in."

On the final play, Hawai'i inbounded to Milia Macfarlane, who drove the length of the court and missed an off-balance driving shot. Taylor rebounded and missed a short fadeaway jumper as time expired.

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