With four games left in the regular season, Laura Beeman figures to take a look at varying on-court combinations as the Rainbow Wahine basketball team works to break out of a late-season slump.
“It’s going to be a puzzle,” Beeman said after UH’s loss to UC Davis on Thursday. “We’re going to find the young ladies that want to have effort, want to have discipline, want to celebrate the success of their teammates and want to execute what we’re asking them to execute. it could be a different five every night, but we’re going to find that.”
The Rainbow Wahine (8-16, 4-8 Big West) close a four-game conference homestand against Cal State Northridge (14-11, 7-4) tonight at the Stan Sheriff Center. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
UH has lost five straight while CSUN is riding a six-game winning streak. If any team can relate to UH’s current struggles, it might be the Matadors. CSUN won back-to-back Big West tournament titles in 2014 and ’15 but lost a senior backcourt and fell to 7-24 and 5-11 in Big West play last year.
The Rainbow Wahine won the regular-season title in 2015, claimed the tournament crown last year with a senior-heavy lineup and a young team continues to work through growing pains deep into this season.
UH’s current slide includes a 67-56 loss at CSUN on Feb. 4 when forward Channon Fluker posted 21 points and 14 rebounds. Fluker enters the game third in the league in scoring (16.4 points per game) and first in rebounding (12.1 boards per game). Guard Serafina Maulupe complements Fluker’s interior production with 13.9 ppg and has hit 66 3-pointers.
The Matadors began the week with a 70-67 win in overtime against UC Riverside and are battling with the Highlanders for a spot in the top four and a first-round bye in the Big West tournament.
Among the bright spots coming out of UH’s 69-50 loss to first-place UC Davis on Thursday was the play of two freshmen. Courtney Middap hit three 3-pointers and led UH with 13 points as she continues her comeback from a preseason knee injury.
Beeman also highlighted Julissa Tago’s play at point guard after the last two games. Tago had three assists against UC Santa Barbara a week ago and a season-high six against UC Davis.
“I thought she did a fantastic job of keeping her composure and getting us into offenses, getting the ball to people who needed to get the ball,” Beeman said.