Grice, Tambini fight off flu-like symptoms to help topple Gonzaga
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By Brandon Masuoka
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Brandon Masuoka
There's nothing like a satisfying victory to cure all that ails Hawai'i center Brittany Grice and forward Pam Tambini.
Despite suffering from flu-like symptoms, Grice contributed 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Tambini added 18 points and 11 rebounds as Hawai'i earned a 68-57 win over Gonzaga yesterday in the third-place game of the Hawaiian Airlines Rainbow Wahine Classic.
"This is a little bit of a remedy," Grice said. "We had a lot to prove today. We definitely wanted this game, and it showed."
Hawai'i guard Janevia Taylor, an all-tournament selection, had 11 points, nine assists and five rebounds.
A crowd of 627 watched Hawai'i (3-2) spoil the return of former Punahou School star and Gonzaga guard Rachel Kane, the 2003 Hawai'i State Player of the Year.
Gonzaga (5-3) upset No. 21 UCLA, 62-57, Friday but fell hard to No. 2 North Carolina, 101-63, Saturday.
"We started really good with a big upset," Kane said. "And we knew we had a tough challenge with North Carolina. ... Today, I think it was a step backwards. We didn't come out ready to compete. It showed in the score."
Hawai'i redeemed itself after its second-half meltdown in a 70-56 semifinal loss to Arkansas on Saturday. In that game, the Rainbows committed 14 second-half turnovers that led to 19 Arkansas points.
A disappointed Hawai'i coach Jim Bolla compared his team to an uninspired boxer in the postgame interview.
"Coach Bolla warned us if we weren't ready to go, Gonzaga was going to punch us in the face — that was the terminology," Grice said. "We had to set the tone early."
Hawai'i overcame Stephanie Hawk's game-high 21 points and Michelle Elliott's 19.
The Zags struggled against Hawai'i's man-to-man defense and missed their first 11 shots before forward Vivian Frieson hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 13-4 with 11 minutes left.
Hawai'i increased its lead to 22-8 on Grice's two foul shots, and took a 30-19 lead at intermission.
Gonzaga opened the second half with 1-of-8 shooting, but made a late charge after Hawai'i pushed its lead to 52-31 on Iwona Zagrobelna's 3-pointer with 10:42 remaining.
"It was either we step up to the plate, and work harder, or let them back in the game," Tambini said. "We weren't going to let that happen."
In the championship game, North Carolina defeated Arkansas, 94-69.
Gonzaga freshman guard Tatriana Lorenzo, a 2006 Kamehameha Schools alum and former Advertiser All-State point guard, said her injured left knee will be further evaluated when the team returns to Spokane, Wash. Lorenzo played three minutes against UCLA on Friday before hurting her knee on a drive. "I'll get an MRI on Tuesday, and we'll find out from there," said Lorenzo, who wore a heavy brace and was on crutches yesterday
Hawai'i senior swing player Dalia Solia was suspended for yesterday's game for "violating team policies," Bolla said. Bolla said he wanted to meet with Solia before deciding on when she will be reinstated to the team.
Reach Brandon Masuoka at email@example.com.