Defending Big West women’s basketball champion Hawaii will enter the season as the conference’s preseason favorite.
The Rainbow Wahine topped the Big West preseason coaches poll released today after pairing the Big West’s regular-season and tournament championships for the first time in program history last season.
Guard Lily Wahinekapu, the Big West Freshman of the Year at Cal State Fullerton last season, was UH’s lone representative on the preseason all-conference team.
UC Santa Barbara placed second in voting among the Big West’s 11 coaches, followed by Long Beach State, UC San Diego, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, Cal State Northridge, Cal State Fullerton, Cal Poly and CSU Bakersfield.
UH finished last season at 20-10 overall and 13-3 in conference play and closed the season with a loss to Baylor in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
UH returns four starters (guards Daejah Phillips, Kelsie Imai and Olivia Davies and forward Kallin Spiller) among 11 letterwinners off of last season’s team. The Wahine added three freshmen and two transfers, including Wahinekapu, to the roster.
The Rainbow Wahine play an exhibition game against Hawaii Pacific University on Nov. 1 at SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center. They open the regular season with a road trip to Oregon State (Nov. 7) and Portland (Nov. 9) and make their home debut on Nov. 18 against Florida Gulf Coast.
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