Women say ‘aloha’ to regular season


Turkeys may not be the only thing turning golden brown this Thanksgiving weekend. The women’s basketball team may return with a tan after spending a few days in Hawaii.

The Huskies have been invited to play in the Paradise Classic in Honolulu Friday and Saturday. Joining them in the tournament will be Loyola Marymount, University of Oregon and the host University of Hawaii.

This tournament marks the regular season opener for the women.

Head coach Jane Albright-Dieterle’s Huskies (ranked 37th in the nation prior to this season’s opener) are looking for nothing less than a tournament victory in their weekend at Hawaii.

“We’re looking to win the whole tournament,” said Albright-Dieterle. “We feel it won’t be a successful trip unless we win.”

Wins will not come easy for her troops. The Huskies start off the tournament facing Loyola Marymount.

“They (Loyola) are predicted to win their conference (West Coast) this season,” said Albright-Dieterle. “They are also predicted to have one of the best teams they’ve had there in a while.”

The Huskies will be Loyola Marymount’s first step to improving on last year’s 14-12 overall record. They were however, 9-3 in non-conference games last season.

They will be led this season by senior forward/center Sheri Brown who led the Lions in scoring last year with a 16.2 points per game average. She also led in steals (64) and rebounds (10.3 per game). Sophomore center Amy Lundquist (6’5″) was second in scoring with 11.6 points per game and in rebounds with 8.0 per game.

“Loyola will not be easy,” said Albright-Dieterle. “They’ll be our first game that far away and it will be hard for us to stay focused especially since we are a young team.

The winner of this game will face the winner of the Oregon-Hawaii game in the finals. Albright-Dieterle is looking forward to facing Hawaii.

“Hawaii is a ranked team (30th in the nation),” commented Albright-Dieterle. “We are trying to prove ourselves so it would be a challenge to play them.”

Hawaii (28-4 overall, 17-1 conference last year) features three returning starters from their Big West Champion team. Two of their starters, senior guards Melanie Azama and Kaui Wakita, played significant roles in the Rainbow Wahine’s success. Wakita (5’11”) averaged 14.4 points per game with 12-of-24 from three-point range. Azama (5’11”) averaged 11.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game.

The Huskies could end up facing an Oregon Ducks team looking to get back on their feet. Oregon finished last season just 9-18 overall and 3-15 in the Pac-10. Their new head coach, Jody Runge, is in her first year as a head coach.

She will be looking to seniors Debbie Spordich and Sara Wilson to lead this season. Spordich, a 5-foot, 11-inch forward/center, led in scoring last season with 15.6 points per game. She also led in rebounds with 8.7 per game. Wilson, a 6-foot, 3-inch center, contributed 12.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.

“With only three weeks of practice any game is going to be tough,” said Albright-Dieterle.