Friday, November 27, 2015         

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Wahine get busy

By Jason Kaneshiro


The holiday weekend will be anything but restful for the Hawaii women's basketball team.

The Waikiki Beach Marriott Rainbow Wahine Showdown caps a run of six games over a 10-day season-opening stretch and figures to test the team's conditioning and resilience.

"That's tough physically and mentally, though I think we're ready for it," UH head coach Dana Takahara-Dias said.

Rainbow Wahine basketball

Waikiki Beach Marriott Rainbow Wahine Showdown
When: Today through Sunday
Where: Stan Sheriff Center
TV: All Hawaii games on KFVE, Ch. 5
Radio: All Hawaii games on KKEA, 1420-AM
Today--North Carolina vs. Washington State, 12:15 p.m.; Illinois vs. Long Beach State, 2:30; Gonzaga vs. Mississippi, 4:45; Hawaii vs. North Carolina Central, 7.
Tomorrow--North Carolina/Washington State loser vs. Illinois/Long Beach State loser, 12:15 p.m.; North Carolina Central vs. Gonzaga/Mississippi winner/loser, 2:30; North Carolina/Washington State winner vs. Illinois/Long Beach State winner, 4:45; Hawaii vs. Gonzaga/Mississippi winner/loser, 7.
Sunday--Games start at 11:15 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:45 p.m. Hawaii will play at 6 p.m. regardless of place in bracket.
"They've been working hard since our last game in March. They have been preparing for this and players always get excited for game days."

The Wahine came out of last weekend's Rainbow Wahine Classic at 2-1 and open their next three-day stretch tonight against North Carolina Central at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Hawaii will play at 7 tonight and tomorrow and at 6 p.m. Sunday regardless of its place in the bracket.

The eight-team Showdown is headlined by No. 15 North Carolina (4-0) and Gonzaga (2-2), a Sweet 16 participant last March. Illinois (2-2) and Mississippi (3-1) were selected to the Women's NIT last season. Long Beach State (0-4) and Washington State (0-4) will seek their first wins this weekend.

With the quick turnarounds each night, UH assistant coaches Margot Richards and Gabe Henry will have some late nights breaking down film and putting together scouting reports on upcoming opponents.

The Wahine will play either Gonzaga or Mississippi tomorrow, but Takahara-Dias' pre-Thanksgiving focus was trained on UNCC (1-2), a first-year member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

Forward Breanna Arbuckle enters the tournament averaging 14.3 points a game, most coming in the paint. Guard Megan Tinnin provided balance outside by shooting 41 percent from 3-point range last week.

Turnovers remain an issue for UH, which averages 22 a game, and the Wahine have emphasized working against pressure in the practices leading up to tonight's game.

"That's something that's in our control to do a better job," Takahara-Dias said. "We're preparing for all types of defenses, as we know these teams play an aggressive style."

Eight UH players averaged at least 13 minutes last weekend and Takahara-Dias plans to go deep into the bench again to keep the Wahine fresh as they close their season-opening homestand.

"We will continue to rotate freely and often and getting different combinations in," she said. "That's going to be one of the keys to surviving another weekend of tournament play."

Tinnin approaching record

Tinnin enters the tournament three 3-pointers away from tying Nani Cockett for the UH career record. She hit nine last weekend to raise her total to 125. She already holds the single-season record of 55, set in 2009.

Tinnin is averaging 10 points a game in the first three games, but also had a team-high eight steals and blocked three shots.

"She knows her role and she knows how to get open and get her shot off," Takahara-Dias said. "But she's doing a really great job on defense. It's not just her shooting prowess, it's her complete game that's really establishing her presence as a fifth-year senior."

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