The lineup is coming together a bit for the Hawaii women’s basketball team.
Eighth-year Rainbow Wahine coach Laura Beeman hinted at some of her rotation before practice on Monday afternoon, a day before the Wahine were to play Hawaii Pacific in a 7:30 exhibition at the Stan Sheriff Center.
It sounds like at least two of the team’s four freshmen will get a chance to make an impact. That’s especially true for 5-foot-5 Nae Nae Calhoun, of Riverside, Calif., who Beeman said “right now will probably be our starting point guard. I think lineups will change as we continue to get healthy, but right now, she has taken that role, she’s excited about it. She has a little bit of a deer in the headlights look to her at times, because we’re throwing so much at her, but I absolutely love her excitement and that commitment to wanting to be that starting point guard.”
Were Calhoun to earn — and hold — the job, she would be a rare freshman to do so under Beeman. Olivia Crawford started 20 games as a true freshman in 2015-16, but it was a shared role with upperclassmen Destiny King and Ashleigh Karaitiana shouldering much of the playmaking.
Calhoun recently shared with Warrior World her defensive approach to the position.
Beeman also has been impressed with 5-foot-9 freshman Olivia Davies, of Anchorage, Ak.
#HawaiiWBB coach Laura Beeman talked up some of her new players in advance of Tuesday night’s exhibition against @HPUSharks, including freshmen Olivia Davies and Nae Nae Calhoun. pic.twitter.com/pDD3OQABlR
— Hawaii Warrior World (@hawaiiwworld) October 29, 2019
There are some large shoes to fill at the point guard position, as senior Tia Kanoa wrapped up her two-year tenure as the Wahine starter in the spring, picking up All-Big West second-team honors for the 15-17 (10-6 Big West) Wahine. Kanoa, who transferred in from Arizona State, set the program record in assist average at 5.0 per game.
Senior Courtney Middap (8.2 ppg, 2.1 apg in 2018-19) has played point guard for stretches of her career, as well as off guard. She said Monday she’s ready for anything for her final year.
“I think my role can kind of change each game, as needed,” Middap said. “We have some new point guards coming in, so it’s kind of going to be to help them get better, and then myself to come in and still be able play that point guard when needed, shooting guard as well. Different role in that I’ll play both positions … at different times.”
HPU is coming off one of its finest seasons under coach Reid Takatsuka, 23-9 and an appearance in the NCAA II West Regional.