Rainbow Wahine open home slate


POSTED: Friday, November 27, 2009

They looked worse on paper.

A promising start to the season for the Hawaii women's basketball team—a 63-58 win at UC Riverside in Dana Takahara-Dias' regular-season coaching debut—was mitigated somewhat by the blowout losses that followed at UCLA (98-52) and Cal State Bakersfield (105-75) last week.

“;I think the two games we had on the road that looks like a runaway score, it's not an indication,”; Takahara-Dias said. “;Our team fought to the end, and unfortunately the score(s) didn't show or reflect that side of how hard we worked from tip-off to the end of the buzzer.”;

The Rainbow Wahine stayed in four hotels in seven days through California, and things don't get easier in UH's home opener today at the Stan Sheriff Center against No. 17 Arizona State (2-1) in the Jack in the Box Rainbow Wahine Classic at 5 p.m.

UH (1-2) closes the three-team round-robin tournament against East Tennessee State at 5 p.m. on Sunday. Both Wahine games will be televised on KFVE.

“;We are excited to be back home to play in front of our fans,”; the coach said. “;But we are very cautious and optimistic about the level of competition we play this week. These are excellent teams.”;





        When: Today-Sunday

        Where: Stan Sheriff Center

        TV: Hawaii games on KFVE, Ch. 5

        Radio: Hawaii games on KKEA, 1420-AM

        Note: Today's game is part of a doubleheader with the UH men's basketball team. Those with tickets to the men's game will receive free admission to the women's game. Additionally, those attending the women's game may stay for the men's game but will be asked to move to unoccupied seats in the upper level.



        Today: Hawaii vs. No. 17 Arizona State, 5 p.m.

        Tomorrow: East Tennessee State vs. No. 17 Arizona State, 5 p.m.

        Sunday: Hawaii vs. East Tennessee State, 5 p.m.

Turnover prevention was the primary focus in recent practices, as the Wahine had 21, 24, and 27 giveaways in the three road games.

The team also homed in on defensive intensity after giving up the fifth-highest point total in team history to the previously winless Bakersfield Roadrunners. After an effective effort against the Riverside Highlanders, UH yielded 203 points on the last two legs of the trip.

Freshman Shawna Kuehu opened the season off the bench, but the team's dependence on her rapidly increased as she got a starting nod in the last two away games. Bakersfield even tossed a box-and-one defense at the ex-Punahou star, who is putting up a team-best 13 points per game.

“;(The trip) really challenged us as a team to unite, come together,”; Kuehu said. “;They deserved (the wins), but we kind of gave it to them. It's just learning experiences we're going through right now.

“;The intensity is up, everybody's hungry,”; she added. “;Everybody's helping each other. We're working on the little things. Trying to work at getting our weaknesses (corrected).”;

Junior point guard Keisha Kanekoa (11 ppg) and senior forward Dita Liepkalne (9.3 ppg, 5.7 rebounds per game) have been the team's other leaders so far.