Rainbow Wahine earn 1st win against San Francisco in Bank of Hawai’i Classic

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED NOV 19, 2023

HONOLULU — No place like home. 

After a trying road trip to open the season for the Hawai’i Rainbow Wahine basketball team that saw a tough challenge in nationally-ranked Stanford before falling in another test without preseason all-conference selection Lily Wahinekapu versus a high-quality Santa Clara squad, UH returned home for the Bank of Hawai’i Classic that featured a field of San Francisco, Idaho and Cal State Fullerton still searching for a victory. 

The Rainbow Wahine found that elusive victory Friday afternoon, using a strong defensive effort in the 3rd quarter to pull away from San Francisco and take down the Dons, 65-51. It wasn’t pretty early as San Francisco and Hawai’i traded runs in a tightly contested opening half of play. The Rainbow Wahine led the Dons, 14-12, after one and held that same two-point advantage going into halftime after USF furiously cut down the eight-point deficit in the final two minutes and 37 seconds of the quarter. 

Hawai’i responded with an impressive effort on the defensive end in the 3rd quarter, holding San Francisco to just two makes from the floor in the frame to take a 10-point advantage into the 4th quarter. The defending Big West champions held the Dons at arms’ length for the remainder of the night, knocking down a total of 12 3-pointers to pick up the first win of the year, 65-51. Brooklyn Rewers led the way with 16 points and eight rebounds for Hawai’i in the win. 

The second night of the Bank of Hawai’i Classic was not as kind to the hosting Rainbow Wahine, who fell to the Idaho Vandals on Sunday, 50-40. UH struggled offensively out of the gates once again, seeing Idaho jump out to a 14-7 lead after one quarter of play and 30-17 through 20 minutes. 

The Rainbow Wahine saw the early-season offensive woes continue, unable to muster a field goal in the final 5:06 of the first half as the deficit increased. Shooting woes weren’t the only issue facing UH as Idaho held advantages on the glass and in turnover margin, though 20% shooting on 25 shots in the 1st half played an influential role in putting the ‘Bows in a deeper pit than they could get out of. 

UH opened the 2nd half of play with a fury, outscoring the Vandals 12-3 in the 3rd quarter despite continuing to struggle keeping Idaho off of the offensive glass to make it a four-point game heading into the final 10 minutes. The Rainbow Wahine continued to keep it close throughout the 4th but could never break through, as the Vandals answered with timely baskets to close out the 50-40 victory over the tournament hosts. 

“Tough one for us tonight, from playing great team basketball on Friday to not-great team basketball tonight,” Hawai’i head coach Laura Beeman said following the loss to Idaho. “I think our energy was really flat in the 1st half, we had a really good 3rd quarter, we came out with some defensive intensity. We still didn’t score the ball like we should have, holding a team to as few points as we did, we should’ve scored the ball more, but we didn’t get off the ball, we had sticky hands.” 

Hawai’i falls to 1-3 with the weekend split and won’t be back in action until Friday evening when Air Force comes to town for the Rainbow Wahine Showdown featuring UH, AFA, Idaho State and Washington. 

Imani Perez led UH in scoring with 12 points against Idaho, securing all-tournament team honors for Hawai’i alongside junior forward Brooklyn Rewers. 

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