Wahine hoops heads into holiday break

Through 11 games, UH senior Briana Harris ranks second on the team with 10.6 points per game and has a team-high 20 steals. Bruce Asato / Star-Advertiser
Through 11 games, UH senior Briana Harris ranks second on the team with 10.6 points per game and has a team-high 20 steals. Bruce Asato / Star-Advertiser

The Christmas break will offer an opportunity for rest and reflection for the Rainbow Wahine basketball team.

UH coach Laura Beeman annually sets up the schedule to give the players the chance to enjoy the holiday with family and most of the team dispersed from Boise, Idaho on Wednesday to spend Christmas at home.

They’ll reconvene in Manoa for practice the night of Dec. 26 in preparation for a home game against Grand Canyon on Dec. 29 as they look to rebound from an 0-2 road trip that ended with a 61-49 loss to Boise State

“Hopefully the next four or five days off will give them a time to think and come back and make some of the needed changes so we can be more successful,” Beeman said after Tuesday’s game.

The break comes with UH at 3-8 after dropping a triple-overtime game at Nevada on Sunday and falling behind early against a hot Boise State team. The Wahine went cold in all three shooting phases on the trip to Reno and Boise, converting on a combined 27 percent of their attempts from the field overall, 21 percent from 3-point range (8-for-39) and 59 percent from the free-throw line (26-for-44).

The Wahine struggled to get clean looks against Boise State’s pressure in the halfcourt and went 7-for-26 from the field in the first half while falling behind 30-18.

“Once we started attacking we were either getting to the free-throw line or we were getting really good looks, and again missed too many free throws,” Beeman said after Tuesday’s game. “A couple times we got deep in the paint and turned it over trying to make an extra pass or a silly pass. The pressure was OK because it opened driving lanes for us. We just didn’t notice it until the third or fourth quarter.”

Freshman forward Keleah-Aiko Koloi was among the bright spots with eight points on 4-for-6 shooting and a season-high eight rebounds. The Lahainaluna graduate was slowed by a knee injury in the preseason and leads the team with a 55.2 shooting percentage while averaging 14.5 minutes per game.

“She’s a great rebounder, she’s got great touch around the basket. She needs to continue to work on that conditioning so we can keep her on the floor longer,” Beeman said.

Freshman center Adrienne Darden became eligible with the end of the fall semester and made her UH debut on the road trip. The 6-foot-4 transfer from Delaware scored seven points in both games, grabbed a total of six rebounds, blocked three shots and grabbed two steals in her first collegiate appearances.

“I am completely happy with where that young lady is,” Beeman said. “She was very upset with herself for allowing some boards … but she’s only two games in and if she can continue to improve her effort, and she will, the game will come to her.

“The speed and physicality, she’s a little over her head right now because she hasn’t been on the floor in a year and a half. That’s a long time to not be on the floor. I’m really pleased with Adrienne. The fact that she cares and wants to get better means a lot and that young lady will.”

For the moment, the Wahine will focus on enjoying the holiday weekend … within reason, of course.

“This group I think will do it smart,” Beeman said before the trip. “I think they’ll do it in a way where they stay in shape and get on the court as much as they can. Even though they’re going to be eating and spending time with family and friends, they don’t want to come back and get out of shape because they know what practice will be like on the 26th.”