HPU hoops put on quite a road show
By Kalani Takase
Advertiser Staff Writer
Things are looking up for the basketball teams at Hawai'i Pacific.
Both men's and women's teams went 3-0 on last week's Pacific West Conference opening road trip to the Bay Area. HPU swept Dominican Tuesday, Academy of Art Thursday and Notre Dame de Namur Saturday to claim sole possession of first place in the nine-team league.
"Both teams are playing really well, at a high level and with so much confidence right now," HPU women's coach Jeff Harada said. "Coming home with three wins in your pocket is huge."
HPU men's coach Tony Sellitto agreed.
"I don't know how often that happens, where two teams go on the road and go 6-0," Sellitto said. "That's pretty damn good."
Both teams won decisively in each of their games.
The HPU women won by an average of nearly 20 points per game, while the men averaged more than 23 points of separation.
"I thought we played well and we accepted the challenge of going on the road and dealing with all the things that come with traveling, but we performed," Harada said.
Sellitto said his team "rose to the occassion," but will have to continue to improve if the Sea Warriors have dreams of a PacWest championship.
"When you win on the road, I don't care who you're playing, it's always good to come up with a win on the road, but we have Chaminade, Hilo and BYU-Hawai'i coming up and those are tougher teams, so I think those games will define where we are in our season and in the league," Sellitto said.
The Sea Warrior women are 7-4 and have won five of their last six games.
"If we can continue to play hard and with confidence, I think we are a team to contend with," Harada said.
Harada praised the play of forwards Jazzmin Awa-Williams and Mana Hopkins, both Konawaena graduates.
Awa-Williams, a junior who played her first two seasons at Colorado-Colorado Springs, had 17 points against Notre Dame de Namur while Hopkins, a sophomore, scored 24 points against Dominican. They are averaging 10.8 and 11.7 points per game, respectively.
"Two Kona girls have really taken it upon themselves to step up and lead this team," Harada said. "We're also fortunate to have a pretty deep bench this year."
Sellitto's squad has put together an 11-3 record and is on an eight-game winning streak.
The veteran coach said whether his team is prepared to become among the elite in the PacWest and Division II's West Region, has yet to be seen.
"I think that's good and I don't mind that as a coach, because you've got to think you're good or you're going to get killed," Sellitto said. "But, we have to be aware of the intensity of the games coming up. All of these local schools are rivals with each other and everyone plays a little bit harder when they play each other, so we'll have to play harder as well."
HPU hosts Chaminade Saturday and visits UH-Hilo Monday. The women tip off at 5:30 p.m. while the men play at 7:30 p.m.
PRICE ENTERS HALL
Longtime Chaminade professor Larry Price was inducted into the Silversword Hall of Fame Saturday at the school's Intercollegiate Athletics Gala at the Pacific Beach Hotel.
Price, a professor of business administration, first joined Chaminade in 1982. Prior to teaching, he earned a doctorate in philosophy from Southern California and completed post-doctoral work at Stanford.
He also is a popular radio show host and former University of Hawai'i football coach.
"We are delighted to recognize Dr. Price, who has been a strong supporter of Chaminade and an excellent faculty member," Chaminade president Brother Bernard Phoeger said.