'Bows get double shot of Campbell
By Brandon Masuoka
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Brandon Masuoka
Off to its best start since 2002, the surging University of Hawai'i women's basketball team is looking for more milestones.
"I don't think you've seen the best from us yet," Hawai'i forward Brittany Grice said.
Hawai'i (5-2) will get a chance to prove that in its first meetings against the Campbell Lady Camels (3-4), from Buies Creek, N.C., tomorrow and Saturday at the Stan Sheriff Center.
The Rainbow Wahine won road games against San Francisco and Santa Clara last week, and have won three consecutive games, tying the longest such streak under second-year coach Jim Bolla.
It was the first time since 2001 Hawai'i was victorious in its first two road games of the season.
"I think people are making it bigger than it is," said Bolla, who has been interviewed repeatedly this week about the two road victories. "Everyone is like winning two games in a row is the biggest thing since sliced bread.
"I don't want the players to think that's something special," he continued. "I want them to think that's what we're going to do every time we go on the road."
Hawai'i worked this week to fix its shooting woes, and to guard against a letdown against Campbell of the Atlantic Sun Conference. Hawai'i is shooting 40 percent this season, including three games of 37 percent and worse.
"I don't know if they're trying too hard," Bolla said. "We're not shooting the ball well like we're capable of."
Bolla wants his team to build on the momentum generated from its victories. That's a challenge Hawai'i has had difficulty doing in the past.
"If we're not ready to play against Campbell, Campbell is very capable of beating us," Bolla said. "If we don't come ready to play, we go back to square one again."
Last season, Hawai'i defeated three-time Western Athletic Conference champion Louisiana Tech, 79-78, in overtime in January, but failed to capitalize in its next game, losing to visiting Southern Methodist, 52-50. The Rainbow Wahine finished the season 2-6 after the Louisiana Tech victory.
"I think we're well aware of becoming complacent if we rest on our laurels," said Grice, who listed the team's goal of winning the WAC and earning the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. "I think the team knows we're nowhere near what we want to accomplish this year."
In addition to preparing for Campbell, Hawai'i players are busy with schoolwork, taking final exams this week. Some players, such as Janevia Taylor, have an exam tomorrow.
"We have our finals and coach Bolla has given us more than enough time to study," Taylor said. "When we come on the court, everything is basketball. That's how we're going to stay focused."
Hawai'i is projected to start guards Taylor (11.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists per game) and Amy Sanders (14.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 3 apg), center Callie Spooner (3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.1 apg) and forwards Grice (12.1 ppg, 8.7 rpg) and Pam Tambini (11.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.9 apg).
Campbell has won three of its last four games and shoots 42 percent (32 of 76) from 3-point range. This will be the first time the Lady Camels have played a game west of the Mississippi River.
The Lady Camels will likely start guards Letitia Dickson (10.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.4 apg), Tomika Tomlinson (7.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg) and Amber Graham (5.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.7 apg), forward Jennifer Lodge (6.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.1 apg) and center Adrienne Rieley (10.7 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.7 apg).
UH women's volleyball player Jamie Houston will likely join the team next semester in early January, Bolla said. "We don't have any indications of having her here before the first week of school. The plan all along was for her to come at second semester. She's in shape. All she needs is to learn the plays." Bolla said. ... UH post player Alofa Toiaivao's playing status will be determined this week in practice, Bolla said. Toiaivao (4 ppg, 3 rpg, 1.7 bpg) did not make the road trip because she was "not playing hard" in practice, Bolla said last week. ... Hawai'i's previous best start was in 2002 when it won six of its first eight games. ... Hawai'i was forced to play Campbell on back-to-back days this week after two teams pulled out of a scheduled four-team tournament, Bolla said.
Reach Brandon Masuoka at email@example.com.