The Rainbow Wahine basketball team goes on a shootout hunt for their first win

Nov. 24 – Another challenging weekend offers an opportunity for short-term gains and long-term lessons.

Another challenging weekend offers opportunities for short-term gains and long-term lessons.

The University of Hawaii women’s basketball team, still looking for the No. 1 win of the season, begins a three-game-in-three-day stretch at Friday’s Rainbow Wahine Shootout, which begins with a matchup against the No. 2 of the country ends Sunday.

Along the way, the hosting team will look to build on the mounting pains of last week’s Bank of Hawaii Classic while continuing to work toward a Big West title defense.

UH (0-4) opens the three-day tournament against Grambling State (1-4) on Friday and meets Florida Gulf Coast (4-0) for the second time in eight days on Saturday. The Wahine meet No. 2 Stanford in Sunday’s final (5-1). UH plays at 2:30 p.m. on all three days.

“I want our team to compete,” said UH coach Laura Beeman about the outlook for the weekend. “I want our team to continue to perform, so we’re ready to win conference games when we come into the conference. That’s really what it’s about.”

The UH coaching staff also compiled the preseason tournaments with March in mind and the pace of preparation for a run in the Big West tournament.

“It’s one of the reasons we’ve always planned the Classic and this tournament,” said Beeman. “So that’s something we’re going to use as we move forward and get into the Big West Conference tournament. To say, ‘Hey, we’ve been here before. We’ve done it in a row, we know how to take care of our bodies and minds and prepare for the next opponents, have a very different game plan and be successful.”

In short, the Wahine are looking for a breakthrough after a 20-point loss to Florida Gulf Coast last Friday and an overtime loss to Lipscomb at last weekend’s Bank of Hawaii Classic to slip to 4-0 for the first time since the season 2018/19.

FGCU blitzed the Wahine from the 3-point line in a 65-45 win to take the tournament title. The Wahine led Lipscomb for most of the first half, wiping out an eight-point deficit in the fourth quarter to force overtime but falling short of another comeback bid in the extra five minutes.

“Consistency is a big thing when you’re doing anything,” Beeman said. “We don’t play consistently on either side of the ball.” I was very proud of the girls coming back eight. … I like their fight, I like their commitment, I like their energy. We need to get healthy and start getting better.”

UH guard Olivia Davies missed the last three games with an undisclosed illness and guard Ashley Thoms sat out much of the fourth quarter and OT against Lipscomb.

Guard Daejah Phillips leads UH with 14.3 points per game, followed by Lily Wahinekapu with 11.5 points. Wahinekapu posted a season-high 18 points against Lipscomb while Phillips struggled through nasty troubles to spark the comeback in the fourth quarter, finishing with 12 points.

Grambling State celebrated its first win of the season against New Orleans last Friday and lost 66-41 to San Diego State en route to Hawaii on Tuesday.

The Florida Gulf Coast meets Stanford on Friday after starting their 11-day stint on Oahu 2-0. Eagles guard Tishara Morehouse was named ASUN Player of the Week after averaging 16 points in wins against UH and San Diego.

Tara VanDerveer, the winningest coach in women’s college basketball history with 1, 162-260, once again has Stanford in the nation’s elite. The Cardinal averaged 91 points in his first five games and allowed 44.4 points – including an 87-47 win over Portland, who defeated UH in the opening week of the season – before going 76-71 in overtime on Sunday the number 1 in South Carolina fell.

The Cardinal brings back nine players from last season’s Final Four team and is led by 6-foot-4 forward Cameron Brink with 12.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in 18.5 minutes per game. All-America guard Haley Jones averages nine points and 6.2 boards with 25 assists. Senior guard Hanna Jump is 22-to-40 from 3-point range.

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