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Hawaii finally returns to court

By Brian McInnis

LAST UPDATED: 10:35 a.m. HST, Dec 18, 2012

Wait, the Hawaii women's basketball team still has a season going on?

It'd be easy to believe otherwise, given the 17-day layoff from game action since the Rainbow Wahine fell in agonizing fashion to Utah.

UH returns to game action tonight at 7, albeit in an exhibition setting against Division II Hawaii Pacific at the Stan Sheriff Center. It will be another 10 days before UH's next official game against Long Island in the Bank of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine Invitational.


>> Who: Hawaii (2-6) vs. Hawaii Pacific (5-2)
>> When: Today, 7 p.m.
>> Where: Stan Sheriff Center
>> TV: None.
>> Radio: KKEA, 1420-AM

Lately it's been practice, practice, practice, with some team bonding activities like kayaking thrown in around final exams.

"Perfect timing," said sophomore center Kalei Adolpho, who will play now that UH volleyball is over. "All these practices. (Today) is a good chance for me to work on the things we've been going over in practice … and get ready for the post-Christmas tournament."

First-year UH coach Laura Beeman inherited this year's schedule and pledged not to have breaks of similar length in the future. The exhibition was added by assistant Mary Wooley to prevent nearly a month of time without a game.

"We've been able to keep them as sharp as you can with 17 days off," Beeman said. "We've been strategic to keep them together long enough until they get sick of each other."

The Wahine will look considerably different than the squad that eked its way through two incredibly challenging early-season tournaments. Against Utah on Dec. 1, they fell 62-61 after a comeback run (16-2 in the final three minutes) came up short.

Now, it's time for fans to learn the Wahine all over again.

Adolpho is back and has about 10 hoops practices in an unfamiliar system under her belt. Junior wing Shawna Kuehu is recovered from her concussion suffered in the season opener that's caused her to miss all but two games. And senior center Stephanie Ricketts went through offensive sets she never had a chance to learn; she joined the team in a hurry just before the season opener.

"We're just excited to show what we've been working so hard on, a lot of defensive stuff and a lot of offensive changes," said junior forward Kamilah Martin, UH's top scorer (15.8) and rebounder (9.9). "So we're just excited to put it all together and play a complete game."

The 6-foot-1 Adolpho made an instant impact as a true freshman, averaging 6.0 points and 6.4 rebounds in 21 games after volleyball finished.

"We have depth now. When people show up to play, we have depth," Beeman said, adding that wing players like Vicky Tagalicod and Ashleigh Karaitiana wouldn't be forced to play power forward.

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