Rainbow Wahine Shootout opens today

Even with games against two nationally ranked opponents looming this weekend, Rainbow Wahine basketball coach Laura Beeman wasn’t all that concerned about the team looking past its opening game of the Waikiki Beach Marriott Rainbow Wahine Shootout today at the Stan Sheriff Center.

The Rainbow Wahine (3-1) open against CSU Bakersfield (1-2) at 5 p.m. before taking on No. 16 Arizona State on Saturday and No. 2 South Carolina on Sunday.

UH dropped a game at CSU Bakersfield last December and the Wahine are looking to bounce back from last Sunday’s loss to Washington State.

“They’re very aware that Bakersfield is the one we have to show up and play to get ourselves ready for Saturday and Sunday,” Beeman said earlier this week. “We can’t have a bad game Friday and expect to turn the switch on and expect to play well Saturday and Sunday.

“I don’t really think we’re going to have a problem with focus.”

The Wahine were able to overcome turnovers in winning their first three games, but wilted late in a 62-52 loss to Washington State in the title game of the Bank of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine Classic and are looking to make up for the missed opportunity.

“They don’t like the way they finished that game,” Beeman said. “They don’t like the way they finished that game for themselves and they don’t like the way they finished that game in front of the good crowd that they had.

“We had a great crowd, we could have won that game. … So I think their bigger disappointment or equal to the loss was the way they represented themselves in front of that crowd, because that’s not who we are and they know it. So I think they feel they lost an opportunity and they want to get the opportunity back.”

Sarah Toeaina continues to lead UH in scoring with 12 points per game off the bench. Point guard Briana Harris is next at 9.5 ppg. UH will need seniors Ashleigh Karaitiana and Destiny King to get back on track after both went scoreless against Washington State.

The Wahine will attempt to regain momentum in a tournament featuring four teams made postseason appearances last season.

No. 2 South Carolina faces No. 16 Arizona State in the 2:30 p.m. opener preceding the UH-CSU Bakersfield game.

South Carolina (4-0), led by three-time Olympic gold medalist Dawn Staley (155-74), reached the final four in March and came up one point short of a spot in the national title game. Senior guard Tiffany Mitchell, a two-time All-American and SEC Player of the Year, leads South Carolina with 15 points per game.

Arizona State (1-1) returns four starters from a team that reached the sweet 16 last season. Four Sun Devils averaged double-digit scoring through their first two games, led by Quinn Dornstauder’s 14.5. The 6-4 junior had 21 points, eight rebounds and four blocks in ASU’s win against SMU last Saturday.

CSU Bakersfield, coming off a WNIT appearance, dropped its first two games to Pacific and UC Santa Barbara and picked up its first win against San Jose State on Sunday. The Roadrunners defeated UH 78-69 last year and the teams will meet again on Dec. 30 in Bakersfield, Calif.

CSUB features 6-foot-2 forward Batabe Zempare, who leads the nation with 16.7 rebounds per game. The senior led the Roadrunners with 24 points and a school-record 22 rebounds against San Jose State and was named Western Athletic Conference Player of the Week.