Rainbow Wahine aiming high

From the start, Laura Beeman hasn’t been shy about her aspirations for the Rainbow Wahine basketball program.

To cap UH’s 2013 senior night, Beeman’s first as head coach, she had a ladder brought onto the court and the Wahine took turns climbing up to cut down the Stan Sheriff Center nets.

For the UH freshmen who took a turn snipping off a piece of the nets that night, the exercise served as a practice run for last Saturday’s postgame celebration following a win over UC Davis in the Big West tournament championship game. It was also a declaration of Beeman’s vision for the program.

“I wanted everybody, not just the girls but the state to understand what our mission was as a coaching staff,” Beeman said of that senior night.

“We’re not here just to play basketball, we’re here to win something big. (Saturday) night we got to do it. … It was the statement and the stamp we wanted to put on the program and I think we did it. Now I have freshmen who cut them down for real and this will be something that trickles down.

“I remembered that and thought, ‘wow, four years ago we did this and it was a dress rehearsal for this moment.’”

Since then, the Rainbow Wahine won a Big West regular-season title last year and went a step further last week by capturing the conference tournament championship to earn a spot in the NCAA tournament.

Now that the Wahine have earned a ticket, Beeman is again encouraging them to — as the Big West slogan goes — dream big.

“We’re not in this thing to just be in the Dance. We’re in it so let’s go win a national championship,” she said after the team’s return from California. “That’s the mind-set, and that’s what I’m going to tell the girls and I hope they’re looking at it that way and don’t think that’s an unrealistic statement. … I hope they feel that energy, that they feel that confidence because that’s how I’m approaching it.

“For us as a team this isn’t just to say, ‘Oh look they took one more step.’ No, this is to say we’re going to leap over things this year.”

The Wahine (21-10) are the 14th seed in the Bridgeport Regional and will make their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1998 on Saturday with a first-round game against third-seeded UCLA at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles.

The team is scheduled to practice today and Wednesday on campus before leaving for Los Angeles Wednesday afternoon.


  1. H-Man March 16, 2016 6:37 am

    Wow, she sure dreams big and motivates. Go Wahine !!! Beat UCLA !!!

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