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UH starts practice with some extra zip

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An exercise in overcoming fears provided an illustration of the process Laura Beeman preaches to the University of Hawaii women’s basketball team.

Before diving into the start of practice on Monday, the Rainbow Wahine spent the weekend on a North Shore retreat, which included a zip-lining excursion.

“I think the zip-lining we did was perfect for our process,” Beeman said. “There’s a process to get to the other platform. You have to hold on and you have to scream like crazy and make sure you get yourself to the platform or you get stuck in the middle.”

The Rainbow Wahine took a first step on Monday night and “process” was the overarching theme as they assembled in Gym I for practice.

“Coach is going to continually tell us it’s a process,” senior Ashleigh Karaitiana said. “We’re not worried about the end result right now. It’s the process of us getting better each and every day.”

The Wahine ended last season at 23-9 overall and 14-2 in conference play to capture the Big West regular-season title. But a trip to the NCAA Tournament remained elusive, as they fell to CSUN in the Big West tournament championship game and made a third straight WNIT appearance.

Nine letterwinners return, including seven who averaged at least 13 minutes per game last season. But for the first time since the 2008-09 season, the Wahine opened practice without Shawna-Lei Kuehu as part of the program. Kuehu averaged a team-high 12.3 points last season and closed her career with 1,245.

Karaitiana celebrated senior night with Kuehu in March, but was granted another season of eligibility last month. She led the team with 45 3-pointers and averaged 10 points per game. Senior Destiny King followed at 9.6 and tied Kuehu for team-best honors with 6.3 rebounds per game.

Freshman Olivia Crawford could be one of the newcomers to step into a prominent role at point guard. Beeman said King and Briana Harris will also contribute at the point.

The post rotation was bolstered by the return of Kalei Adolpho after a year away from basketball to focus on volleyball and the full-time addition of Megan Huff, who played both sports last season.

The Wahine make their public debut in their Green vs. White scrimmage on Oct. 23 and face UH Hilo in an exhibition game on Oct. 28. They open the regular season at Grand Canyon on Nov. 13 and face Northern Arizona two days later.

The nonconference schedule also includes matchups with South Carolina, a final four team last season; Arizona State; BYU and Texas A&M.

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