Hawaii women’s basketball: Amy Atwell has Australia on mind as Big West play begins

Hawaii forward Amy Atwell dribbled around Pennsylvania forward Kennedy Suttle on Dec. 31. Atwell is one of two Australians on the Rainbow Wahine roster. / Photo by Bruce Asato, Star-Advertiser

Amy Atwell was of two minds as the Hawaii women’s basketball team embarked on its first Big West road trip of the season.

Much of the fourth-year junior’s thoughts were of the here and now, of her 6-7 Rainbow Wahine taking on Cal State Northridge (5-9) in their opener at 5 p.m. Thursday.

But Atwell also couldn’t also help but be thousands of miles away mentally, back to her homeland of Australia, which continues to be scorched by out-of-control wildfires, especially on the country-continent’s eastern seaboard. Atwell, one of two Australians on the team along with guard Courtney Middap, hails from the city of Perth in Western Australia, but has relatives and friends in the more heavily populated Eastern side of the country. Middap is from the Australian island of Tasmania.

“My thoughts and prayers are definitely with everyone in Australia and the tough time they’re going through,” Atwell said before boarding the team bus behind the Stan Sheriff Center on Tuesday. “There’s definitely been a lot of support from everyone around the world, which is great to see.”

The tally of killed animals is now over a billion, according to an estimate provided by USA Today, plus 26 people. The number of acres scorched is in the millions.

Pro athletes like San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills, a native Australian, have taken up the cause on social media.

UH athletics lists at least 15 student-athletes among its 2019-20 teams as being from Australia.

“There’s a lot of donation/help lines going around for the RSPCA, which is the animal shelters back home and the Red Cross,” Atwell said. “Any donation helps and everything goes a long way.”

The New York Times provided an extensive breakdown of different ways to contribute to the relief efforts.


  1. cappie the $2000 dog January 9, 2020 7:33 pm

    That song by Midnight Oil called “Dead Heart” really hits me hard. Peter Garrett sings: “Mining companies…got more rights than people/Got more say than people.” My online friend from Australia keeps me informed on a daily basis. He/she(I have no idea) tells me that there is a disconnect between the Australian government and the catastrophe because of the prime minister’s ties with the mining companies.Coming from a complete stranger, Ms. Atwell, I hope all of your friends and family are safe from harm. I don’t know how you, or any Australian National are able to function, being away from home. Beyond belief, how the world keeps spinning with this going on. I hope it rains.

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