Wahine focus on fundamentals

The Rainbow Wahine basketball team wrapped up the first week of practice on Thursday in the Stan Sheriff Center.
The Rainbow Wahine basketball team wrapped up the first week of practice on Thursday in the Stan Sheriff Center.

The undulating mood in the Stan Sheriff Center on Thursday seemed to illustrate the growth process for the Rainbow Wahine basketball team.

At one point the Wahine celebrated a run of well-executed plays with shouts, dancing and laughter. Later, the atmosphere quieted considerably during a ragged five-on-five period. Working through the roller coaster is part of the deal for a youthful roster.

“That’s young,” UH coach Laura Beeman said after the workout. “It’s really easy to have high highs and low lows. It’s the challenge of staying in the middle.”

Maintaining that even demeanor through the inherent ups and downs of early-season practices was just one of the takeaways from the on-court portion of the team’s opening week.

Beeman said the coaches concentrated on transition offense and fundamentals in the first week and will shift the focus to defense and half-court offense when they return to practice on Monday following their annual team retreat this weekend.

“We’ve really had to go back to some big-time fundamentals with this team. It’s that old, ‘you can’t run until you learn to walk.’ We’re kind of learning to walk right now,” Beeman said.

“The good thing about this group is because they go incredibly hard and they are able to make some pretty good adjustments quickly, we can show them something and a lot of times they transfer faster than even we as a coaching staff expected.”

As expected, senior Briana Harris and junior Sarah Toeaina have taken the lead in the early practices.
Toeaina sparked her team in the full-court period on Thursday with a couple of steals leading to transition layups. As one of two returning starters, Toeaina is also in a transition period in helping set the pace for the team.

“Proud of the team. Definitely wasn’t the easiest week. but we made strides in the right direction. Some strides were bigger than others, but as long as they’re forward we’ll take it,” Toeaina said.

“Me and (associate coach Calamity McEntire) had a conversation and if I’m too hard on myself I tend to kind of shut down. So it’s something I’m working on, trying to be more positive … and that gives me a lot more energy. Not so much brush it off and forget about it, but learn from it and next-play mentality.”

The team departs Friday for the annual weekend retreat and Beeman hasn’t revealed any details of the bonding activities to the players or coaches.

“We’re biting our nails to see,” Toeaina said. “The anticipation is what’s getting us.”