'Bows fall to Fresno State, lose star forward Abele
The University of Hawai'i women's basketball team lost its final game of the regular season to host Fresno State, 64-48, and also saw its senior all-conference player Jade Abele injure her knee, leaving her playing status for next week's Western Athletic Conference Tournament in doubt.
Abele injured her left knee with 1:49 remaining in the first half and was carried off the court. Abele did not return to the game, and was on crutches with her knee wrapped in ice after the game.
The Rainbow Wahine (11-14 overall, 7-11 WAC) will play Nevada in the first round of the WAC Tournament in Reno, Nev., Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. (Hawai'i time).
Hawai'i coach Jim Bolla said he planned to get a doctor's diagnosis on Abele's knee in Reno last night, and added, "she's very doubtful for Tuesday's game at this moment."
Abele's injury is another blow to the Rainbow Wahine, who have lost eight of their last 11 games, and now must find players to replace Abele's production. Entering yesterday's game, Abele led the team in scoring (12.0 ppg), rebounding (6.9 rpg), 3-pointers (37), assists (93), steals (33) and minutes played (35.1 per game).
"It would be a miracle if she could get back by Tuesday," said Bolla of Abele. "Right now, we're not even considering having her dress to play."
Bolla said he was undecided on who would replace Abele, an all-WAC first-team forward, in the starting lineup.
"I don't want to make a decision right now," Bolla said. "We'll look at the Nevada tape and see how we match up personnel-wise. We'll get a lot more people in the next game."
Abele left the game after she injured her left knee getting bumped on a drive with 13:47 remaining in the first half. She returned to the game 10 minutes later with an elastic wrap around the knee and re-injured it when she got tangled up with another player on a rebound attempt with 1:49 remaining.
For the game, Hawai'i committed 25 turnovers and Fresno State outscored Hawai'i, 40-24, in the second half to sweep the season series.
"We just turned it over too many times," Bolla said. "It's very similar to tennis with unforced errors. It wasn't (Fresno State's) defense that made us do it, we just threw passes out of bounds and not even close to where people were supposed to be."
Amy Parrish scored a game-high 20 points, Aritta Lane added 19 and Mirenda Swearengin 17 for Fresno State (19-9, 10-8). Lane is a 2001 'Aiea graduate. Hawai'i's Janevia Taylor scored 14 points and Amy Sanders added 11.
The game was tied at 24 at halftime, but Fresno State used a 9-2 run midway through the second half to take a 47-35 lead.
Hawai'i closed to within 47-38 on Amber Lee's free throw and Brittany Grice's basket, but that's as close as it would get. The Bulldogs increased their lead to 64-43 before Hawai'i ended the game with a 5-0 run.
Bolla said the team won't practice today, and will practice for a tournament-limit 55 minutes at the Lawlor Events Center tomorrow. He said the team will seek another site for extra practice.
"We're in a whole new ballgame right now," Bolla said of the single-elimination WAC Tournament. "It's one loss and you're done. If you don't win, you go home."