Wahine cash in with ‘Hoopla’

UH returnees Briana Harris (left), Sarah Toeaina and Olivia Crawford received their rings commemorating last year's NCAA tournament appearance at Thursday's "Hoopla" fundraiser. Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser
UH returnees Briana Harris (left), Sarah Toeaina and Olivia Crawford received their rings commemorating last year’s NCAA tournament appearance at Thursday’s “Hoopla” fundraiser. Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser

Thursday’s “Hoopla 2016” provided funds for the University of Hawaii women’s basketball program as well as reminders of accomplishments behind and goals ahead for the Rainbow Wahine.

UH coach Laura Beeman said the event held at the Hukilau Restaurant raised $37,000, before expenses, with proceeds slated to go toward a planned trip to Australia in 2018 as well as summer school.

“It was awesome. Unbelievable energy, fantastic crowd, great music. Just unbelievable support from the community,” Beeman said after Friday’s practice at the Stan Sheriff Center. “For the kids who have never been there before, it was eye opening, the support we receive.”

The Wahine players also received their rings commemorating last season’s Big West championship and NCAA tournament appearance. For sophomore point guard Olivia Crawford, the ring ceremony was a moment to both reflect and look ahead with the conference season less than a month away.

“It just gives you a little motivation to say, ‘this is what it takes to get here and I have to do more if I want it again and if I want these girls to have it too,’” Crawford said.

“(It took) a lot of hard work, a lot of hours, a lot of frustration that turned into success later on. It was buying into the process.”

The Wahine (2-6) return to the Sheriff Center on Sunday to face Hawaii Pacific University. Tip off for the eighth meeting between the programs is scheduled for 2 p.m. The contest counts as a regular-season game for UH but will be an exhibition for Division II HPU (4-2).

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