The drilling and pounding emanating from maintenance on the Stan Sheriff Center roof echoed through the arena Monday morning.
On the floor below, Rainbow Wahine basketball coach Laura Beeman’s construction project began in full.
The Wahine officially opened practice with a two-hour plus session as they continued the process of blending eight returnees and eight newcomers.
They worked on their off-court chemistry with a weekend retreat to the North Shore and Beeman is confident the team bonding will translate into cohesion in game situations, particularly when the pressure mounts in the late minutes.
For now, the Wahine have just under three weeks before making their public debut in a Green vs. White scrimmage on Oct. 26 with an exhibition against UH-Hilo three nights later. They open the season Nov. 14 at Colorado State.
Beeman chatted about the start of practice in an interview last week, here are some of her thoughts on …
… the team’s preseason workout and conditioning program. (They were allowed two hours on court in small groups and six hours of conditioning per week prior to the start of practice).
“A lot of that is skill development and a lot of it was offense. We did very little defense this summer which is unusual for me. The girls had the opportunity to work hard on their offensive skills and we get to put it together on Monday.
“The individual skill work we did is a break off of what we do offensively. So when when we put the offense together they’ll be ‘that’s why we ran this drill in individual work.’ So now it gets put into the offense.”
… teaching a group of nine newcomers.
“Defense is probably where the most amount of teaching is going to have to occur. But because we still have a good seven or eight returners who completely understand what we’re trying to get after, I’ll always put them in groups where they can have somebody to watch.
“I think the teaching will happen pretty quick. The incoming girls have high basketball IQs, they’re locked in, their intensity is good, they work hard. So I think we’ll see significant growth quickly.”
… experience in the backcourt with Morgan Mason, Briana Harris and Marissa Wimbley back.
“It’s not just having a good point guard. It’s now having point guards who have been within our system for a couple years. So the familiarity of what we want as a coaching staff, what we’re going to run on offense, and where we expect the ball to go, they’re going to know.
“We’re not teaching the intangible things as well as the tangible things this year. Last year we were teaching, ‘this is how you need to act on the floor, these are the things you need to say on the floor.’ They know all that now. So now it’s about getting he ball where it belongs and keeping our assist-to-turnover ratio where it belongs.”
… the return of Shawna-Lei Kuehu and Ashleigh Karaitiana.
“Shawna and Ashleigh coming back is really our senior leadership. They both look incredible. They’ve worked hard. They’re healthy, knock on wood. They’re both driven to do well this year and lead this team into conference play.
“Shawna’s going to be the catalyst for what we’re trying to do. … Shawna just has to be Shawna and she’s going to be fine. I think she’s learned that over the last two years, take the pressure off and just play the game and you’re going to be great. That’s the maturation I want to see from her.”
“(Karaitiana is a) really difficult matchup for other teams inside or outside. Probably the best and most improved part of her game is her 3-point shooting and that’s what we’ve needed.
“We have Morgan that’s a viable 3-point shooter now, Ashleigh, Breana Jones, Jasmine Redmond, Bre Harris, Shawlina (Segovia). With the insertion of the new kids and bringing back Ashleigh and Shawna, we’ve improved our 3-point shooting ability which is nice.”
… another challenging nonconference schedule.
“Our nonconference schedule is no joke with Cal, Stanford, UNLV, North Carolina, and UNC Greensboro.
“It’ll definitely prepare us for the season, and that’s what it’s about. You should have teams that should kick your butt, teams you should kick their butt and then some battles and I think our schedule really reflects that. … Regardless of how we do in the preseason it’s going to get us ready for our conference.”