The Rainbow Wahine basketball team wasted little time in getting around to its first of four games on its “Hawaiian Airlines & Rainbow Wahine Go The Distance Tour.”
After checking out the Sky Tower — in Auckland, the biggest city in New Zealand — the team was off to play at Auckland Grammar School, less than a day after arriving in the country.
Here is the free streaming link for UH vs. New Zealand Premier North.
Per the site, this Kiwi team “is selected from the cream of NI women’s basketball talent with a mix of wily veterans and our best up-and-coming college hopefuls.”
This post will be updated with the game results.
UPDATE: UH leads NZ Premier North 31-22 at halftime. Pretty clear the Wahine were jet lagged at the outset, but a pretty clear athleticism and numbers advantage allowed them to build and maintain a lead. Widely distributed scoring, with Courtney Middap with seven points. on 3-for-5 shooting.
UPDATE: After a dismal third quarter that saw UH fritter away its nine-point halftime lead, the Wahine dominated the fourth quarter, thanks in part to some timely shot-making by senior Lahni Salanoa, as UH pulled away to win the first game of its tour, 71-57 over NZ Premier North. The Kiwi team was led by Cal alumna Penina Davidson, who poured in 22 while no teammate had more than eight.
Leading scorers — UH Lahni Salanoa 12, Makenna Woodfolk 11, Courtney Middap 11, Savannah Reier 11. NZPN: Penina Davidson 22.
Here were a couple of Wahine Q&As before the team departed:
COACH LAURA BEEMAN:
On mood going into trip:
“We are incredibly excited. The amount of planning that’s gone into this trip, for probably over a year, I have to give all the praise and appreciation to Teneshia Ruff, our director of operations. What she’s done in the course of a year to make sure that every I is dotted and T is crossed, has been phenomenal. And because of that prep it’s going to be an amazingly smooth and wonderful trip.
“I’ve had the opportunity to do some traveling. These kids haven’t. To be able to help facilitate maybe a once in a lifetime trip for some of these kids, their first out-of-country trip, it really gives me chicken skin to think, ‘OK, we’re a part of this.’ And if they get to go on another international trip in their lives with their families, wonderful. But if they don’t, we hopefully create some amazing dreams and memories for them.”
On how this trip can help the program in the future:
“Last year, we had the unfortunate experience of losing Darron (Larsen) at mid-year, our coach from New Zealand. And I’m not sure how many of the girls know, but he will actually be flying over to one of our games so he can do the commentating, which will be a lot of fun. … But for us to be able to draw from those two areas in recruiting, and get some of the top talent from Australia and New Zealand, that’s something we plan on doing, just to grow our program. It makes sense where we’re located geographically. So that’s something we’ll continue to do, and I hope by us going over there, really respecting and learning the culture, and them seeing how we do things, it’ll be a recruiting tool for us, absolutely, moving forward.
POINT GUARD TIA KANOA:
On travel outside the country:
“Actually I just went for this first time this summer, my family, for my parents’ 25th anniversary, like a Disney cruise, but we flew up to Vancouver first. A couple days over there, it was pretty cool. It reminded me a lot of Seattle. I liked it a lot.”
On taking this tour:
“It’s a great opportunity to come up with different styles of play. Going out to other countries that play so differently, different rules, it’ll challenge us to adapt to these new rules, adapt to the way things are going throughout the game with these different players. It’ll also give us U.S. players a chance to get out of the country, see different cultures, and even get exposure to overseas teams as well.”
On what she’s heard about these places:
“My Aussies, they’re all excited. They all wish they could show us their specific hometowns, obviously. But they’ve been super prideful about, hey, we’re going to check out this place and that place. They’re going to show us around. It’ll be really fun to get to see their culture. We’ve been showing them, for six months-plus, all three of them, how we do it in America. And now they get to show us how they do it there, their customs, why they say the things that they say over here. Pretty fun.”
POST MACKENZIE CLINCH HOYCARD:
On returning home for this tour:
“I mean, it’s an amazing opportunity for everyone, obviously for people who haven’t left the country as well. But us Australians, it’s a chance for us to go home, play in front of people that we’ve been around for a long time, that have seen us grow through basketball. And it’s a good opportunity for our parents to come see us play a college game. Obviously it’s further to come all the way here or to California to watch us. It’s very exciting.
On her roots:
“I’m from a small town in Western Australia. Even though we’re not going to that part, a lot of my family will still come over and support (us).”
On her knowledge of opponents:
“Yes, I’ve talked to a few of (my teammates) about a few of the girls we’re going to play. Made them a little bit nervous, I mean, I’m nervous as well because I’ve previously played against them before. And then, they’re nothing short of really good. But I’m going to give as much insight to the team as I can.”
On New Zealand:
“Never been to New Zealand, so it’ll be a new experience for me.”
On what she hopes to do most:
“A lot of the touristy stuff, like I haven’t really explored Sydney the way we’re going to, like the Sydney Opera House and the bridge. Yeah, just a lot of our outside activities that I’m going to get to experience with my team.”
On her knowledge of this tour when she committed to UH:
“Yeah, this is a big reason why I considered Hawaii, and ended up coming here, obviously. But yeah, I’ve been excited for this since I came here, not gonna lie.”
On what this trip represents:
“It helps with team bonding as well. This is my first time in Hawaii, (now) I live here and I’ve learned a lot about their culture. I know me, Courtney (Middap) and Amy (Atwell), we all get questions about Australia, what’s different, what’s not different. So it’s a great opportunity. I don’t really know what to say, because as a program, this is our first international trip ever, and I feel privileged that we’re going back to my home country as well as two other girls. It’s really cool.”