The Hawaii women’s basketball team would like nothing more than to say hello to good byes after this week (to borrow that old slogan from PriceBusters).
UH (12-15, 8-6 Big West) clinched at least a first-round bye on Wednesday night when UC Irvine, the team just behind the Rainbow Wahine, lost to Cal State Northridge, meaning UH can do no worse than the 4 seed.
The Wahine can do much better if they can find it within themselves to win at UC Riverside (15-13, 9-5) on Thursday (5 p.m.) and at CSUN (16-13, 10-5) on Saturday (2 p.m.). It would elevate them to second place, good for a double bye into the Big West tournament semifinals, which UH last had in 2016. That amounts to a monumental task, but so would winning the tournament itself. So, the team figures, why not start dreaming big a week early?
“It’s going to be tough to get Riverside and Northridge, both on the road, but we’ve proven we can win tough games on the road,” coach Laura Beeman said. “That’s where our focus is, and after we take care of that business we’ll look forward to the Big West Conference tournament.”
UH will have to overcome an All-Big West-caliber player in each game. Riverside’s versatile Jannon Otto has been probably the most improved player in the conference this season, while CSUN’s Channon Fluker is still the beast inside the paint.
Look for senior guard Rachel Odumu to get a larger chance to contribute in these games after her energetic effort in the 70-55 senior night win over Cal State Fullerton.
For a little more of a breakdown of what UH faces in each game, check out Thursday’s print edition story.
What’s known for sure? It’s all mainland, all the time from now until the season ends. The team packed accordingly.
“As long as possible, definitely,” point guard Tia Kanoa said this week. “I don’t say this often, but I want to be gone from home for a little while.”