Rainbow Wahine run away, 104-42
By Brandon Masuoka
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Brandon Masuoka
Before this season, Jim Bolla advertised his University of Hawai'i women's basketball team as high-scoring and fast-paced.
Apparently, he wasn't kidding.
Hawai'i raced past Division II Hawai'i Pacific, 104-42, in an exhibition game last night.
"Our big thing was just trying to get that uptempo thing going," Bolla said.
A crowd of 343 at the Stan Sheriff Center watched the Rainbow Wahine spoil the return of former UH assistant Liz O'Brien, who is now the head coach for the Sea Warriors in their inaugural season.
It was the season-opener for both teams.
"I thought we ran really well," said UH senior swing player Pam Tambini, who scored a game-high 16 points. "Sometimes we broke down, but in the end, it was a good outcome. "
All 14 Rainbow Wahine players saw action last night, and 13 scored at least one point.
A 3-pointer by newcomer Megan Tinnin gave Hawai'i a 100-40 lead with 43 seconds remaining, and was greeted with a roar from the crowd.
But Hawai'i sophomore guard Catherine Cho topped that, hitting a basket just inside half-court as time expired. It was that kind of night.
"Everybody got in and showed what they could do," said senior guard Janevia Taylor, who had six points, four rebounds and five assists. "It was so balanced. The results showed."
Senior swing player Dalia Solia scored 15 points, and freshman swing player Tinnin added 14 points, and was 4 of 6 from 3-point range. Junior forward Tanya Smith had 11 points and 10 rebounds, and junior center Iwona Zagrobelna added 11 points and seven rebounds.
Hawai'i senior center Brittany Grice, the Western Athletic Conference's leading rebounder last season, grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds and scored nine.
Hawai'i's point guards — a position that remains unsettled going into the season — looked sharp last night. Junior Amy Kotani had six points, two assists, two steals and two turnovers in 17 minutes. Senior Cassidy Chretien had six points, two steals and two rebounds in 13 minutes.
"We'll look at the film and see if they got people in the right spots, and if they're executing our plays," Bolla said.
Also seeing time at the point were junior guard Saundra Cariaga, sophomore Cho and junior Shannon Nishi.
Many of Hawai'i's baskets last night were scored quickly with layups, 3-pointers and putbacks. Even Hawai'i's tallest player, 6-4 Zagrobelna, hit a 3-pointer.
Tambini said she liked the fast-paced, free-flowing Hawai'i offense.
"I like it because it gives us freedom," Tambini said. " We're not scared to shoot the ball. We're not going to get scolded. We have the green light to take smart shots."
Hawai'i hit 50 percent of its 3-point attempts (13 of 26), grabbed 62 rebounds and stole the ball 23 times.
The Rainbow Wahine also outscored the smaller Sea Warriors, 48-12, in the paint.
HPU had one player taller than 6 feet — 6-1 junior center Jocelyne Norris. Hawai'i had five players 6 feet and taller.
"On paper, it's a physical overmatch, but they didn't stop playing," Bolla said of Hawai'i Pacific. "They're real scrappy, and that's how Liz is."
Solia scored all of her 15 points in the first half as Hawai'i led 52-27 at intermission.
"Hawai'i just wore us down," said O'Brien, who, with husband Justin, is expecting a baby daughter, Isabella, in late December.
"It was a tremendous learning experience," she continued. "I can't think of a better team to play right now to help us get to where we need to be for Nov. 16 (at The Master's College)."
Freshman forward Rachel Hancock led HPU with 10 points. Junior guard Natalie Mitchell added nine points.
Hawai'i finished shooting 41 percent from the field (39 of 93).
Hawai'i's next games will be in the Waikiki Beach Marriott Classic, Nov. 17and 18, at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Reach Brandon Masuoka at email@example.com.