Hawaii women’s basketball: Rainbow Wahine have another adjustment to make

Teams like UC Santa Barbara have done a better job of chasing Hawaii off the 3-point line of late. / Photo by Bruce Asato, Star-Advertiser

Ninety-four points in one game. Eighteen 3-pointers in another.

The Hawaii women’s basketball team turned heads by unleashing a fun-and-gun offense in January, yielding some gaudy numbers. The Rainbow Wahine followed that up with a six-game win streak that lasted through mid-February.

It turns it out may have been a little too much attention. Teams have game-planned to emphasize limiting quality 3-point looks for the Wahine — the latest case being Wednesday night’s 57-56 tough loss at the buzzer to UC Santa Barbara.

During its successful run to the cusp of first place in which UH won eight of nine games, the Wahine averaged 10.8 made 3-pointers per game.

Over their four-game losing streak since? They’re down to 8.25 makes, on slightly more attempts, 30.5 a game.

That might not sound like a huge difference, but keep in mind that UH has dropped two games by a single point over its four-game skid. The margin between success and failure in conference play is slim.

Coach Laura Beeman expounded on the subject after the loss to the Gauchos, in which UH went 8-for-27 (29.6 percent) from deep.

“We have to be able to make adjustments. Teams now know how to guard us,” Beeman said. “We’re not generating the points that we used to, because we’re seeing so much pressure on the perimeter and we’re not getting as (much) volume of shots up. We’ve gotta be able to get to the basket. Right now, we’re struggling with recognizing, ‘OK, we’re being played really tight, put my head down and attack. Where’s the help coming from, make that kick, or just go to the basket, you’re going to get fouled.’ We’re kind of settling for some contested shots. Settling for quick shots in the offense instead of being patient, letting it come to us and getting those wide-open kick-outs like we were getting once upon a time.”

Over the aforementioned run of success, UH shot .379 from behind the arc. Over the losing streak? Just .270.

“So our percentages are down because we don’t have the clean looks like we were getting,” Beeman said. “And we’re not going to get clean looks. We’ve got to figure out how to get some of the pressure off of our shooters. Jay (Tago) and Amy (Atwell) are not going to see daylight for the rest of their career; people know they can shoot the ball. So, until we get people driving, getting to the basket and scoring layups, and they have to come off of different rotations, it’s going to be tough for us if we can’t make those adjustments.

Atwell found success Wednesday by getting off the 3-point line and going downhill to the rim. She wound up scoring 15 on 7-for-9 shooting, with just two 3-point attempts (and one make) among that.

“When you’re hitting shots like that, teams are going to make adjustments,” Atwell said. “They’re just denying, they’re not (helping off). Like Coach said, we’ve got to be better at making adjustments, when they are denying us, or not helping off of us, then who’s in the paint? There’s not going to be help-side. And things like that. So we just gotta recognize that earlier. It’s been four or five games now they’ve been playing us like that, so we gotta make the adjustment faster.”

(A few things should be noted: Tago set the Wahine single-game record for made 3s, eight, during the losing streak; Tago and Atwell both have surpassed Megan Tinnin’s previous program record for 3s in a season of 55; against UCSB, UH broke last year’s record for team 3s in a season, now at 215.)

It’s a bit jumbled, but if UC Irvine (7-7) beats UC Riverside (4-10) at home on Thursday night, I think the best UH (8-7) can do is the No. 4 seed, based on head-to-head tiebreakers. But if Riverside upsets UCI, I think 2-4 are all in play for the Wahine — IF they win on senior night over Cal Poly (6-9). CORRECTION: Looks like the 3 seed is the best-case scenario for the Wahine right now.

I’ll update this after the Irvine game tonight. Through March 11

UC Davis12-4.75017-12.586
UC Santa Barbara
UC Irvine9-7.56313-18.419
Cal State Fullerton
Long Beach State8-8.50013-17.433
Cal State Northridge7-9.43812-19.387
Cal Poly6-10.37511-18.379
UC Riverside4-12.2508-22.267


  1. H-Man March 6, 2020 6:57 am

    Been watching the Pac-12, Big10 and SEC women’s tournament games. They seem to have a lot more movement and passing in their offenses. The Rutgers – Wisconsin game was fun watching. Rutgers has a really good team.

  2. nomu1001 March 6, 2020 2:27 pm

    Movement and passing is basketball 101. Reading the defense, making adjustments takes you from from 101 to giving yourselves a chance to win.

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