It was next-coach-up for most of the Rainbow Wahine basketball team’s practices this week.
It takes a lot to keep Laura Beeman out of the gym, which should provide an indication of the degree of the ailment that prevented the UH head coach from attending practices until Friday. In her absence associate coach Alex Delanian and assistants Calamity McEntire and Brad Langston ran the workouts Wednesday and Thursday as the Wahine prepared for their senior night game against Long Beach State.
“(The Wahine) did a good job … of just coming with energy knowing what (Beeman) would expect,” Delanian said. “So it was nice I didn’t have to rev that engine.”
Beeman recovered enough to return for UH’s final practice before the regular-season finale tonight at the Stan Sheriff Center.
The Wahine (10-17, 6-9 Big West) will try to build on a two-game sweep of last week’s road trip and snap a four-game home losing streak when they face LBSU (20-9, 11-3).
After the game, guard Briana Harris will be honored as the lone Rainbow Wahine senior in the traditional senior night sendoff.
LBSU has clinched a double-bye in next week’s Big West tournament and will be the second seed in the bracket. UC Davis secured the regular-season crown and the top seed with a 63-55 win today at Cal State Northridge.
With Cal Poly losing at UC Santa Barbara 77-63 today, UH can climb to sixth in the standings with a win. A loss leaves the Wahine as the seventh seed. Either way, UH will play in the second game of the first-round doubleheader on Tuesday at LBSU’s Walter Pyramid scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Hawaii time.
But first things first.
UH lost this season’s first meeting with LBSU 68-57 at the Pyramid on Jan. 5, snapping a seven-game Wahine winning streak in the series. Just under two months later, the UH staff expects a familiar look from the 49ers.
“They’ve been a pretty consistent opponent for four years,” said Delanian, who handled the scouting report for tonight’s game. “They do what they do. Offensively their personnel has been their personnel for four years. They’ve got four seniors who do the bulk of their scoring.”
Seniors Raven Benton (10.6 points per game), Madison Montgomery (10.3), Anna Kim (10.0), Jewelyn Sawyer (9.3) and Gigi Haescheff (7.0) enter the game as the 49ers top five scorers. Delanian also noted Kim’s progress over the last four years running the point.
“They are pretty confident in who they are and what they do,” he said. “Anna Kim has lot of confidence when she has the ball in her hands now. I remember seeing her freshman year playing point guard trying to figure it out and now she’s really confident. She’s got the ball in her hand and she’s pointing where people need to go. She’s a really good floor general for them.”
The Wahine got back on track last week with wins at UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton, who meet today for the eighth and final berth in the conference tournament.
Harris broke out of a scoring slump with a 20-point performance against Cal State Fullerton. She hit four 3-pointers to pass April Atuaia and climb to eighth on UH’s career list with 98.
“It was really nice to see her have that kind of game and I’m hoping she’s kind of finding her stride as we hit Long Beach (tonight) and head into the tournament,” Beeman said.