Even with a holiday breaking up the schedule, the University of Hawaii women’s basketball team will look to roll its pre-Christmas momentum into its final road stop of 2015.
After opening a three-game California swing with two wins last week, the Rainbow Wahine separated to spend Christmas with family and friends. They reunited for practice on Sunday and close the trip today with a rematch against CSU Bakersfield at the Icardo Center.
“The energy has been very, very good,” UH coach Laura Beeman said in a phone interview on Tuesday. “We’re definitely running some of the rust off of them, but they came back really excited … so that was nice to see.”
The Rainbow Wahine (6-5) and Roadrunners (2-11) met on Nov. 27 with UH claiming a 74-60 win at the Stan Sheriff Center in the Waikiki Beach Marriott Rainbow Wahine Shootout. Tip off for the back end of the home-and-home nonconference series is set for 5 p.m. Hawaii time.
Following their first meeting with CSUB, the Wahine dropped their next four games before posting wins at Sacramento State and San Jose State last week. After today’s game they’ll have a quick turnaround for a home game against Penn on Saturday to finish off the nonconference schedule.
Beeman said building momentum heading into the Big West season is “really important. But more important is just continuing to get better, continuing to figure out starting lineups, continuing to figure out chemistry.
“Hopefully the next two games we can work some of those kinks out, but we’re still a work in progress.”
In the first meeting with CSUB, UH senior Ashleigh Karaitiana led the Wahine with a season-high 19 points and Megan Huff added 11 points and 12 rebounds off the bench. CSUB guard Erika Williams scored 20 points for the Roadrunners, but UH managed to hold center Batabe Zempare to eight points and six rebounds. Zempare enters the rematch averaging 11.4 points and 10.1 rebounds.
The Wahine enter the game without a player averaging double-digit scoring, but have six with at least 7.2 points per game. Destiny King leads UH with 9.5 points per game followed by Huff at 9.2. Karaitiana is averaging 8.5 points and is 11 away from reaching 1,000 for her career.
In last week’s wins, the Wahine overcame 34 turnovers against Sacramento State and committed a season-low 11 against San Jose State while posting their highest point total of the season in a 76-73 victory.
“As far as adjustments it’s really more about what we need to do to get better,” Beeman said. “Really it’s coming back to let’s just not turn the ball over as much, let’s make sure we don’t blow defensive schemes, make sure we’re getting the ball where it needs to go and fine tuning our transition offense and transition defense.”
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