Hawaii 'desperately' in need of victory
By Ann Miller
Advertiser Staff Writer
After losing the battle at the bottom at San Jose State, to remain winless on the Western Athletic Conference road, the Rainbow Wahine are finally home tonight.
Louisiana Tech will be waiting, at 5 p.m. at Stan Sheriff Center, with 2009 WAC Player of the Year Shanavia Dowdell and a resume of three national championships.
The Techsters (17-6, 8-3 WAC), who won their fourth and last WAC basketball title in 2006, are currently third behind Fresno State and Nevada. Hawai'i (9-17, 3-10) is fighting for its postseason life.
A win against the Spartans on Wednesday would have clinched a spot in next month's WAC Tournament. The loss leaves UH in danger of finishing last, and not qualifying for the WAC Tournament, with three games left.
"What's going to happen to us now is we're not going to quit or hang our heads," UH coach Dana Takahara-Dias said after Wednesday's loss. "We're going to try and make sure we learn from this and move on. Not forget about it — every loss we try and learn from. This one was tough though, because we really wanted this one."
The Rainbows have lost seven of their last eight and had little time to prepare for LaTech. They got in Thursday. Takahara was adamant that rest was a priority.
"We had four games in eight days and traveled thousands of miles," she said. "We are really cognizant of the fact our team is tired. Players need to focus on school.
"We're not going to pound them over and over about negative things. Sometimes it's just mental. A four-hour practice is not productive for us. We have to make sure we keep them fresh."
Takahara says her team now "needs a win desperately," for its mental health as much as anything. They have been hard to come by against Louisiana Tech. In that, they are not alone.
The Techsters' 987 wins are second only to Tennessee in women's basketball history. They have never had a losing season and made the first 25 NCAA Tournaments. There have been 18 former Techsters on WNBA rosters.
Dowdell could be the next. Before that, she hopes to get LaTech back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006. She had a double-double (13 points, 16 rebounds) against the 'Bows last time, one of 15 this season, and ranks third nationally in rebounding at 12-plus a game.
This is the Rainbow Wahine's annual Pink Zone game, in support of Breast Cancer Awareness. The team will wear pink and encourages fans to do the same. Players will throw out pink shirts to fans during the game. There will also be tables on the concourse for donations, and information will be provided. The money will be donated to the Hawai'i Chapter of the American Cancer Society. Monday's game at Nevada was also a Pink Zone game, and the Wolf Pack gave the 'Bows pink shirts — identical to those its players were wearing — to use during the pregame.
Tonight is another basketball doubleheader at Stan Sheriff Center. Fans with a ticket to the 8 p.m. men's game against Cal Poly get free admission to the women's game. UH will not clear the arena between games. Rainbow Wahine fans are invited to stay for the men's game and move to unoccupied seats in the upper level.