There were a couple moments when it looked like the Hawaii women’s basketball team could rally all the way back from 22 points down against Florida Gulf Coast on Saturday.
Those moments were either followed by a turnover or some other sort of missed opportunity, or just came plain too late. FCGU held on to win 73-67 on the second day of the Rainbow Wahine Showdown.
UH (1-6) continues to be frustrated in its nonconference schedule heading into Sunday’s 2:30 p.m. contest with No. 8 Stanford to wrap up the four-team tournament. Consistent scoring has come and gone; UH’s top two point producers, Leah Salanoa and Kenna Woodfolk, scored all but one of their combined 18 points Saturday in the fourth quarter. Salanoa’s 3 with 11 seconds left made it a four-point game, momentarily.
But coach Laura Beeman was encouraged Saturday, noting her team played better over the course of the first two days of the event, including within the game against FCGU.
The three previous times the Wahine program got off to a 1-6 start (1981-82 under Milo Griffin, 2008-09 under Jim Bolla, 2011-12 under Dana Takahara-Dias) they also dropped to 1-7, but things got better (at least for a while) soon after that.
Beeman said she’ll be OK with the outcome on Sunday, win or loss, as long as the team beating UH is not itself, as has been the case frequently to this point (there were 19 turnovers this time, and that count has often been over 20).
Defensive-minded guard Jadynn Alexander provided some positives with her energy Saturday, scoring a career-best 10 points on 3-for-4 shooting. Until Lahni Salanoa returns from injury, UH will need more of that from sources like her, Rachel Odumu, and Courtney Middap.
After this tournament, UH has a couple of good chances at some wins, hosting former WAC foe Idaho and Division II neighbor Hawaii Pacific. Then UH heads out for three mainland games over the Christmas holiday. Those are the last chances to improve in games before Big West play begins.