It’s been a week of basics — old and new — for the Rainbow Wahine basketball team.
With a roster of eight returnees and eight newcomers, UH head coach Laura Beeman and her staff spent the first week of practice introducing the schemes for the first-year players while the veterans adjust to tweaks to the system based on the new personnel.
“Right now we have to put the meat and potatoes in before we can get to some of the other things,” Beeman said.
“We just want to get a really solid foundation because I believe we can win if we get really solid defense and an offense that finds opens players and doesn’t turn the ball over. We can win ballgames without a lot of frills and the frills will come later.”
Beeman has been pleased with the energy and attitudes of the Rainbow Wahine as they head toward an exhibition against UH-Hilo on Oct. 29 and the season opener at Colorado State on Nov. 14. Intensity is the aspect the third-year head coach would like to see kicked up a notch and challenged the veterans — privately then publicly — to set the pace.
“The thing I’ll say for our returners is they’re not doing a good enough job of maintaining a level of intensity, because they know stuff so it’s like, ‘here we go again.’ It’s redundant,” Beeman said. “If our returners would do a better job of stepping up intensity then our newcomers would have to learn things quicker.”
Among the new players, Beeman said freshman guard Sarah Toeaina stepped forward over the opening week of practice while most are working toward building consistency, as could be expected.
Beeman plans to stratify the depth chart as the season approaches, but continues to observe how varying combinations mesh.
“We’re tying to mix it up a little bit, see who wants to compete on a daily basis,” Beeman said.
While the Wahine added size and depth in the post, Beeman also has options in the backcourt.
“We have three really good point guards that I’m really happy with, and they’re really critical in getting timing,” Beeman said. “Destiny King and Morgan Mason are going to be the lead runners right now for that point position. They’re both very vocal and they’re doing a great job of getting us into offense. Bre Harris is the one I want to see step up and give me a voice.
“All of them are scoring point guards and all of them can play combo positions,” she added, noting that King could slide from the point to power forward depending on the on-court combination.
The frontcourt rotation will not include 6-foot-3 center Deanna Calhoun this season. Calhoun signed with UH as a transfer from USC, but has left school for personal reasons Beeman said.
“We won’t have her at all this year,” Beeman said. “We’re looking at her for the future, maybe next year, but for personal reasons she’s had to leave.”