A Rainbow Wahine basketball team in search of experience will get a hefty dose over the next two weekends.
UH will play five games in the next 10 days while hosting two tournaments at the Stan Sheriff Center, starting today with a matchup against Youngstown State in the Bank of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine Classic. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
The Rainbow Wahine take on New Mexico State on Sunday then have four days to recharge for the three-day Rainbow Wahine Shootout. UH faces San Jose State the day after Thanksgiving with matchups against Oregon and No. 10 Mississippi State to follow.
First up is the first women’s basketball meeting between UH (0-2) and Youngstown State (0-2) in the middle game of today’s tripleheader at the SSC. The tournament opens with Sacramento State taking on NMSU. UH and Youngstown State could have a sizable audience in the first home appearance of the regular season for the Rainbow Wahine with a sellout possible for the 8 p.m UH men’s game against No. 5 North Carolina.
The Wahine will look to rebound from an 0-2 road trip and shore up areas of concern that emerged in the losses to USC and CSU Bakersfield with turnovers and rebounding chief among coach Laura Beeman’s priorities.
“That’s the two areas we have to get better at immediately,” Beeman said.
Beeman noted both Youngstown State and New Mexico State have strengths that align with some of UH’s early concerns.
“Both of them have experience in the post, which is where we have our lack of experience,” Beeman said. “They have leadership in their floor general and we’re still struggling with that. And they both have depth.”
UH senior Briana Harris is coming off her first career double-double with 15 points and a career-high 10 rebounds against CSUB. Sarah Toeaina averaged 11 points in the first two games, going 8-for-25 from the field.
Youngstown State of the Horizon League opened with a home loss to American a week ago and lost at PItt 63-50 on Monday before making the trip to Hawaii. Like UH, the Penguins have some injury concerns early in the season. Guard Alison Smolinski led YSU with 14 points against Pitt and the Penguins are shooting 29.5 percent from the field through two games. Nearly 43 percent of their field-goal attempts have come from behind the 3-point line, going 10-for-52 so far.
“Youngstown is a team that will pound the ball inside if it’s there, but they’re looking to shoot 3s,” Beeman said.
“And then you have New Mexico State that is going to press us the entire game. They’re going to run and gun, they want to get up and down the floor. They’re going to run a five-out and they’re going to be challenging because of the pace.”
Hawaii 72, Youngstown State 50 final. UH now 1-2 and faces NMSU on Sunday. Crawford leads UH with 13 points, Lahni Salanoa and Harris 12.
7:08 — Harris fouls out with 5:29 left. She finishes with 12 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists off the bench. Tago returns and drains a 3-pointer to give UH a 58-41 lead.
6:57 — UH comes up with a steal and Crawford misses the layup at the buzzer but is fouled. She hits the first FT, misses the second and UH takes a 47-33 into the fourth quarter.
6:50 — Koloi scores on a putback and is 3-for-3 from the field with three boards. Harris feeds Toeaina for a transition layup. YSU scores on consecutive possessions and Beeman takes a timeout with UH up 46-31, 2:02 Q3.
6:44 — UH leads 42-22 at the third quarter media timeout and the banner updated with last season’s NCAA tournament appearance is unveiled. YSU still struggling from the field at 7-for-38 overall, 1-for-8 this quarter.
6:21 — Hawaii 37, Youngstown State 18 halftime. Lahni Salanoa caps an impressive first half with a 3-pointer from the top off an assist from Harris. UH shooting 51.7 percent from the field to YSU’s 20 percent (6-for-30). UH shot 10-for-13 from the field in the second quarter. Harris leads UH with 10 points, Toeaina with 8, Lahni Salanoa 5. Dunn leads YSU with 6.
6:12 — Harris returned the possession after leaving and scores on a drive to give UH a 26-12 lead after the media timeout. She has six points. Toeaina leads UH with 8. Leah Salanoa scores on a drive to beat the shot clock and UH is on a 16-2 run.
6:06 — Toeaina scores on a drive to trigger an 8-0 UH run. Harris feeds Lahni Salanoa for a layup to give UH a 20-10 lead. Scary moment as Harris goes to the floor clutching her ankle, but she’s able to walk off the court.
5:58 — UH leads Youngstown State 12-8 after 1 quarter. Six UH players score in the period. Youngstown State is 2-for-15 from the field. Freshman Keleah-Aiko Koloi made her first appearance of the season and hit a baseline jumper on her first collegiate shot.
5:49 — YSU leads 7-5 at the first media timeout. Penguins trying to work the ball inside to 6-3 freshman Mary Dunn. She has a a bucket and two free throws so far.
5:34 p.m. — UH starters Sarah Toeaina, Makenna Woodfolk, Olivia Crawford, Lahni Salanoa, Julissa Tago. Tago makes her first career start with Harris coming off the bench.