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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, November 18, 2006

Hawai'i holds off Georgetown, 69-58

UH vs. Georgetown photo gallery

By Brandon Masuoka
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawai'i's Pam Tambini, who scored a game-high 16 points, searches for an open teammate in the first half against Georgetown.

JOAQUIN SIOPACK | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Senior co-captain Brittany Grice played it cool after the Rainbow Wahine fended off Georgetown, 69-58, last night in the opening round of the Waikiki Beach Marriott Classic.

Grice scored 15 points and Pam Tambini had a game-high 16 as Hawai'i earned a Classic matchup against No. 3 Oklahoma (2-0) today for the tournament title.

The Sooners beat Eastern Kentucky (1-1), 92-79, in the other first-round game.

"I'm going to hang out with my best friend 'Ice,' " Grice said of nursing her aching joints. "It was a hard-fought victory. We kept our composure at the end, even though it got a little shaky at times. I'm proud of everyone for gutting it out."

A crowd of 533 at the Stan Sheriff Center watched the Rainbow Wahine win their season-opener.

For their efforts, the Rainbow Wahine will face the Sooners, led by 6-foot-4 All-American center Courtney Paris. Oklahoma is Hawai'i's highest-ranked opponent since hosting then-No. 3 Connecticut in a 65-48 loss on Nov. 26, 1995.

Last night, Hawai'i a projected Western Athletic Conference contender got its season off to a good start by winning the first-ever meeting with the rugged Hoyas of the Big East Conference.

The game had 43 fouls, including 25 by Georgetown (0-2), and a number of hard collisions, spills and mean looks by both teams.

"It was like a battlefield," said Tambini, who came away flexing her right elbow near the end of the game. "It was really rough. I felt like I was a pinball."

Hawai'i never trailed in the first half, and took a 11-4 lead behind Grice's seven early points. Midway through the half, newcomer Iowna Zagrobelna's 3-pointer extended Hawai'i's lead to 19-11. After the Hoyas closed to 19-14, Grice responded again with six points and Janevia Taylor five during a 17-4 surge.

Taylor's 3-pointer with 1 minute remaining gave Hawai'i its largest lead of the first half, 39-20. Georgetown's Kristin Heidloff hit a short running jumper as time expired as the Hoyas trailed, 39-22, at intermission.

In the second half, Tanya Smith's putback and a 3-pointer by Tambini extended Hawa'i's lead to 44-24. Hawai'i enjoyed leads of 48-28 and 50-30, but Georgetown fought back and cut the lead to single digits six times.

The Hoyas forced 19 second-half turnovers, and pulled to within 64-56 on Kristin Heidloff's basket with 58 seconds left.

But Hawai'i steadied itself, and sealed the game by sinking five of eight foul shots.

"We're much better than we played tonight," UH coach Jim Bolla said. "You've got to credit Georgetown for that."

Reach Brandon Masuoka at bmasuoka@honoluluadvertiser.com.

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