The Rainbow Wahine basketball team returns to the Stan Sheriff Center today to close their nonconference schedule against Grand Canyon in their final home appearance of 2016.
With the start of Big West play a week away, the Rainbow Wahine (3-8) will look to regain their shooting touch and snap a two-game skid in the first game of today’s UH basketball doubleheader and only their second home game this month.
“It’s a huge game for us,” UH coach Laura Beeman said. “We need to have a good turnout which we have not had in quite some time. So we need to feel some success. We need to try to find some confidence because we don’t have any of that right now and that becomes contagious just like winning does.”
After shooting a 46 percent and hitting 12 3-pointers in a win over Hawaii Pacific in their last home game on Dec. 11, the Wahine shot a combined 27 percent from the field and 59 percent from the free-throw line in losses at Nevada and Boise State last week before the Christmas break.
“The focus wasn’t there and that is what affected the shooting, the defensive rotation, and particularly the free throws,” Beeman said. “Without focus and without intensity it doesn’t matter where you are, it’s really difficult to execute and that’s what we’re struggling with right now.”
While Beeman is working to get the current team on track, her status beyond this season came into focus with an agreement on a two-year contract extension as reported by Ferd Lewis today.
Junior guard Sarah Toeaina continues to lead UH with 11.6 points per game followed by senior guard Briana Harris at 10.6. Freshman forward Keleah-Aiko Koloi is a shooting a team-best 55 percent after going 5-for-7 from the field on the road trip.
Grand Canyon (7-4) arrived in town with a four-game winning streak and will stick around to after today’s game to face Chaminade at 11 a.m. Saturday.
UH’s post rotation will be tested by 6-foot-2 GCU post Marina Laramie, who averages 20.6 points and eight rebounds per game. She’s shooting 46 percent overall and is 12-for-25 from 3-point range.
“She’ll touch the ball every single time down the floor,” Beeman said. “The offense runs through her, She’s very athletic. Very savvy with the ball. Can shoot inside, outside. Very difficult matchup for us and they surround her with a couple really good shooters.”
Guard Casey Rarrick leads GCU with 28 3-pointers while averaging 11.5 points. Guard Jessica Gajewski is next with 23 3s and 13.9 ppg.
5:25 p.m. — Looks like Laramie isn’t suited up for GCU. She also didn’t play in the ‘Lopes’ 76-65 win over Northern Arizona on Dec. 19.
UH starters — G Sarah Toeaina, G Olivia Crawford, F Lahni Salanoa, G Julissa Tago, C Adrienne Darden. GCU going small with a four-guard lineup topping out with 5-10 forward Kiara Clark.