Mana Wahine Wednesday: Hawai’i women’s basketball alum Olivia Davies

Mana Wahine Wednesday: Hawai’i women’s basketball alum Olivia Davies

Olivia Davies drives against a defender. The guard finished her playing career this past season and will join the UH athletics department for her practicum. | Photo Credit: HSRN Staff

Mana Wahine Wednesday: Hawai’i women’s basketball alum Olivia Davies

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED JUNE 26, 2024

HONOLULU – Olivia Davies’ basketball life has been a chapter book, one wrought with adversity and triumph all the way through her final playing season with Hawai’i. 

After suffering multiple season-ending knee injuries, experiencing a pandemic at the same time as one of those injuries and the mental struggles that came with it and coming out on top as a multi-time Big West champion, the look back down the road for Davies is a long, bumpy ride. 

CHAPTER 1: The Ghost Recruit 

The former Rainbow Wahine standout spent her high school career like most elite youth basketball players, traveling with her father to participate in weekend tournaments. From Alaska, Davies was forced to look and play for different club teams, including a program that traveled to Oregon each weekend, to maximize her exposure to college coaches. 

“The reality [was] if you didn’t get out of the state, you weren’t going to be seen,” Davies said of the experience as a high school student-athlete in Alaska. “There weren’t really any coaches coming up there at the time.” 

As a star on and off the court, the young guard grinded to make sure her options for college were wide open. Sometimes leaving home for a month at a time, Davies had to keep up with schoolwork while handling the pressure of being a Division I basketball prospect. Despite that extreme effort by Davies, a brief move to the state of Washington proved to be more harmful than helpful for her exposure. 

Overall though, it may have ended up for the best. 

“When I moved to Washington to get more visibility, that fell through and deterred the other offers that I had just because I couldn’t travel for that year and that’s really big for college coaches to see consistency. They were like, where did she go?” the Rainbow Wahine alum chuckled. “I think everything worked out though the way I needed it to work out. Like, I’m super grateful that I ended up where I am and it was a beautiful experience – I spent five years here, I obviously liked it – but I knew coming into it, [Hawai’i] was going to be home.” 

Despite being a self-admitted “horrible recruit” during the time that the Rainbow Wahine pursued the then-high school senior, Hawai’i never gave up on trying to bring Davies into the program. Though she seemed quiet on the phone and somewhat reserved, the coaching staff knew the Alaskan sharpshooter would fit in nicely as soon as she arrived for a visit. 

“I had, like, piercings and rainbow Crocs, and [the coaches] were like oh yeah, she’s going to love it here. She’s going to be okay,” Davies recalled. 

Hawai’i’s program-wide mindset of competing for championships spoke volumes to Davies as well, who stated that as her number one desire in her college destination in an early conversation with Hawai’i head coach Laura Beeman. The longtime Rainbow Wahine coach kept it honest with Davies, telling her that winning is what the program expected. While Beeman promised to also develop Davies as a young woman, she didn’t mince words about how the team’s culture came first. 

“From that conversation, I was like [Coach Beeman] is so much different from other coaches,” Davies said of her coach’s recruiting pitch. “That made the decision so much easier because I knew she [always was going to be straight up with us].” 

That might have been the last easy part of Davies’ career. 

Hawai’i guard Olivia Davies dribbles the ball at home against UC Santa Barbara. | Photo Credit: Michael Lasquero, HSRN

CHAPTER 2: The Injury Bug

While redshirting the 2019-20 season, Davies and the rest of the Rainbow Wahine were sent home during the Big West Tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Faced with an unbelievable scenario, Davies found herself spending a lot of time alone. 

“It was really hard; I think it was hard for a lot of people … I was coming off of my ACL injury, too, so for like three or four months, I couldn’t rehab my knee,” she said. 

With the next season having multiple games cancelled and confidence in her knee lacking, it was another trying season for the guard from Alaska. She eventually made her way back into the lineup, appearing in 15 games (13 starts) and playing nearly 26 minutes per night in the 2020-21 COVID-19-shortened season.  

Davies followed it up with a solid redshirt freshman campaign in 2021-22, appearing in 24 games (16 starts) for the Rainbow Wahine. Her sophomore season quickly ended after six games, suffering another season-ending injury that sapped as much of her confidence as it did physical ability. 

“The biggest [struggle] was that I knew I wasn’t going to be able to perform the way that I wanted to,” Davies said of the impact of her second major injury in college. “It was like I was playing at 60% of my true capabilities [when I came back] … [my knee] was like hey, I’m kind of over this playing thing.” 

Despite her bad luck, Davies tried to take the best from her adverse situation. With the help of multiple conversations with Beeman, the guard returned to the Rainbow Wahine for her junior season. 

“She always left it up to me,” Davies said. “I would come in some days and be like I don’t think I can do this … She never [told me to play or stop]. We had conversations about giving myself an opportunity.” 

 

CHAPTER 3: One Last Go and Gone… 

With comfort in her decision to give the season a go, the guard knew another grueling year was ahead of managing her knee and remaining confident in her body to hold up under her. It meant getting up earlier in the morning to do rehab, it meant staying hours after practice to receive treatment and it meant being ready to handle the ups and downs that the season typically presents. 

“It’s that ebb and flow of finding what brings you that drive and brings you that peace while acknowledging the fact – I DO feel this way and that’s okay,” said Davies of the mental battles she faced during her last season. 

The guard went as far as changing her style of play after losing her explosiveness on drives, learning to do more of her damage from behind the arc rather than breaking down defenders on the way to the rim. Even with the change for health and effectiveness, Davies knew the 2023-24 season would be her last despite having an additional year of eligibility. With that comfort and closure, she focused on making her final season memorable and enjoyable. The Rainbow Wahine won the regular season Big West crown and appeared in the inaugural Women’s Basketball Invitation Tournament, bowing out with a first-round loss to California in which Davies enjoyed an efficient final game in college. 

“I think injuries are talked about, mental health is talked about, but living [with the injury] day-to-day is something that we don’t talk about,” Davies said. 

Hawai’i celebrates seniors Olivia Davies and Ashley Thoms following final home game of 2023-24. | Photo Credit: Paul Brecht, HSRN

CHAPTER 4: … To the Other Side of the Bench 

Now finished with playing ball, Davies is far from done with her work in sports. At an early age, her interest was piqued by psychology and trying to figure out how other minds work. After studying psychology for her undergraduate degree, the retired hooper is now close to completing her master’s degree. With her practicum as an internship dealing with behavioral and mental health with University of Hawai’i athletics, Davies is in a familiar place pursuing a passion she’s long had; helping other people.  

Using her education and her personal experiences of dealing with major injury and mental health battles, Davies hopes to work with and help future generations of athletes handle the less glamorous side of being a college student-athlete. 

“I’ve just always been drawn to helping people, making sure people are okay,” Davies said. ”Being able to share myself with other people in that way I think is very, very beneficial.” 

Despite all the setbacks, Davies always provided a beacon of light for her Rainbow Wahine teammates. Though her playing career ended with the highest honors, Davies’ upward trajectory will not stop with the bouncing of the ball. Luckily for UH, her knowledge and care will continue in the islands, too. 

Marcus Mariota hosts 8th annual Motiv8 Foundation charity golf tournament

Marcus Mariota hosts 8th annual Motiv8 Foundation charity golf tournament

Marcus Mariota hosts 8th annual Motiv8 Foundation charity golf tournament

BY MICHAEL LASQUERO | HSRN
PUBLISHED JUNE 17, 2024

EWA BEACH — As part of his offseason routine, NFL quarterback Marcus Mariota was back home in Hawai’i to host his annual Motiv8 Foundation charity golf tournament Monday afternoon at the Hoakalei Country Club.

It was the eighth edition of the tournament and also served as a 10-year commemoration since Mariota won the Heisman Trophy playing for the Oregon Ducks. The event helps raise funds for Motiv8, whose goals include providing positive educational and athletic outlets for kids of all ages, distributing food and supplies to the homeless and others in need while also giving back to communities, including those that shaped Mariota’s personal journey.

“Every year is so special for us. “This is really cool, the eighth annual year, and crazy to think that it’s been 10 years since the Heisman,” said Mariota.

“What’s really cool is Motiv8 has made a difference and it’s thanks to the support and the generosity of so many people. A lot of people has been here since day one, so to be able to enjoy this (eighth) year with everybody is cool for us.”

Some of the non-profit activities and donations that Mariota and Motiv8 — with the help of many various partnerships — did over the course of the previous year include: a health-inspired wellness day in Hilo, providing new Nike cleats to football players affected by the Lahaina fires on Maui, donated $25,000 towards a new weight room for Special Olympics Hawai’i, represented the Maui Humane Society in the NFL’s My Cause My Cleats movement and provided beds for kids and families in need in Oregon.

The Lahainaluna High and Intermediate Football program as well as the Lahainaluna Pop Warner Chiefs were also recipients of the annual Ardel Deppe Community Award, which was created as a tribute to Mariota’s late grandfather Ardel Deppe. The award comes with a $5,000 equipment credit from Riddell.

“Very fortunate football has kind of given me a platform, but it’s truly the generosity of the people that support Motiv8 that make it what it is,” said Mariota. “For us, it’s very important to be able to put this together not only just to say thank you, but kind of raise awareness and to kind of define maybe what’s going to happen over the course of next year for people. It’s truly a blessing.”

Rainbow Warriors wins series opener against Cal Poly in walk-off fashion, 4-3

Rainbow Warriors wins series opener against Cal Poly in walk-off fashion, 4-3

Rainbow Warriors wins series opener against Cal Poly in walk-off fashion, 4-3

BY MICHAEL LASQUERO | HSRN
PUBLISHED APRIL 20, 2024

HONOLULU — Friday night thriller at the Les.

Hawai’i won its series opener against Cal Poly in walk-off fashion, 4-3 on Austin Machado’s sac fly to score Naighel Ali’i Calderon at the Les Murakami Stadium.

It was a much-needed win for the Rainbow Warriors (21-14 overall, 5-8 Big West), who was swept by UC Santa Barbara in their last conference seasons. The home team also got it done against one of the top teams in the Big West in the Mustangs (21-15, 11-5).

Machado played the hero late and was 3-for-4 at the plate, but it was a total team effort that secured the win.

Matthew Miura gave Hawai’i the early lead with an RBI single in the bottom of the first before Cal Poly scored three in the top of the fourth. Elijah Ickes tied it right back in the bottom of the frame with a double that drove in two runs.

The score would remain at 3-3 for the next four innings before Calderon came up with a single through the right side to start the bottom of the ninth. Calderon then showed off his speed on the base bats when he beat the throw after a Jordan Donahue bunt. After a wild pitch advanced both runners, Dallas Duarte drew an intentional walk to load the bases with no outs for Machado.

Danny Veloz (5-1) earned the pitching win on the mound after taking over in the top of the ninth. Starter Harrison Bodendorf scattered three hits across five outs before giving way to Alex Giroux, who threw two strikeouts in 1 and 1/3 innings of work. Sebastian Gonzalez spent the longest time on the mound with five innings pitched.

“What a great night for the fans here at the Les,” said Hawai’i coach Rich Hill. “Just felt like a game seven. We’re making early pitching changes, Gonzalez again was spectacular, Danny Veloz in the ninth was great. Naighel Calderon to me is the story of the game. That’s a leadoff hit that put the pressure on their defense. We just came through at the right time.”

Hawai’i Men’s Volleyball team trading card packs now available for purchase

Hawai’i Men’s Volleyball team trading card packs now available for purchase

HAwai’i Men’s Volleyball Team Trading Card Packs now available for purchase

BY HSRN STAFF
PUBLISHED APRIL 18, 2024

Move aside HOLO card, there’s a new must-have card in the state.

Make that cards, plural.

Trading cards featuring members of the University of Hawai’i men’s volleyball team are now on sale, per a press release put out by The Brandr Group Friday.

The press release said that the University of Hawai’i has partnered with ONIT, a leader in the name, image and likeness (NIL) trading card space, to launch an initiative where 4,500 packs of trading cards are available for purchase at the university’s campus bookstore (in-store or online), the H-Zone at the Simplifi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center and 19 participating Hawaii Texaco stations, which are operated by Island Energy Services.

 

Each pack of 14 cards contains a variety of designs featuring current players of the 2024 University of Hawai’i Men’s Volleyball team. Fans can also be on the lookout for autographed cards randomly inserted into various packs.

With the help of The Brandr Group, this marks ONIT’s first partnership with a collegiate men’s volleyball team. Members of the team will make appearances at the stores following the season to engage with fans and support the trading card program, the press release said.

The press release also said that participating student-athletes will promote the launch of the cards through their various social media platforms and team members will have autographed select cards inserted into various of the packs available for purchase.

“We really appreciate The Brandr Group facilitating innovative, inclusive and engaging student-athlete NIL opportunities such as this multifaceted program with ONIT and Island Energy,” said Craig Angelos, the Director of Athletics at the University of Hawaii.

“This campaign is a win-win and is true to the original spirit of NIL, allowing participating student-athletes a unique opportunity to profit from their NIL by bringing multiple brand partners to the table.”

Team members will be compensated based on a competitive revenue share per pack as well as for the including of their autographed cards and social media content while also getting compensated by Island Energy Services for making appearances at its proprietary convenience store concept —called AMA — to give the athletes multiple financial streams from one singular campaign, the press release said.

“The University of Hawaii has full embraced how a robust NIL campaign can maximize opportunities for its student-athletes, while creating authentic programs that are the right fits for local brands on the islands,” said Rick Perko, Vice President of Program Development at the Brandr Group.

“Working closely together, ONIT, Island Energy and The Brandr Group are creating innovative ways to engage student-athletes in meaningful campaigns that make a notable difference for all involved.”

Participating Texaco Stations include:

Oahu

Kailua Texaco (710 Kailua Road)

Kapolei Texaco (91-565 Farrington Highway)

Kamokila Texaco (484 Kamokila Blvd.)

Aikahi Park Texaco (25 Kaneohe Bay Drive)

Moanalua Texaco (986 Valkenburgh St.)

Mililani Texaco (95-130 Kamehameha Highway)

Stadium Texaco (4561 Salt Lake Blvd)

Kapiolani Texaco (2969 S. Beretania Street)

Waiakamilo Texaco (909 Waiakamilo Road)

Kalihi Stream Texaco (2160 N King Street)

School Street Texaco (140 S School St.)

Mapunapuna Texaco (1055 Ahua Street)

Middle Street Texaco (1305 Middle Street)

Keolu Texaco (1070 Keolu Drive)

Maui

Uptown Texaco (2085 Main Street)

Hawaii Island

Waiakea Texaco (321 Maka’ala Street)

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Hawai’i fends off Chaminade in midweek non-conference tilt, 2-0

Hawai’i fends off Chaminade in midweek non-conference tilt, 2-0

Hawai’i fends off Chaminade in midweek non-conference tilt, 2-0

BY MICHAEL LASQUERO | HSRN
PUBLISHED APRIL 17, 2024

HONOLULU — Win No. 20 of the year for the Hawai’i baseball team would come in a 2-0 outing against Chaminade in a non-conference matchup Tuesday night at the Les Murakami Stadium.

Ten different pitchers combined for a two-hit shutout for the Rainbow Warriors (20-14) with Brayden Marx earning his first win of the season and Danny Veloz nothing his first save of the year after picking up the final two outs.

The Silverswords’ pitching was also superb as starter Mac Elske retired the entire Hawai’i lineup one time through before giving way to Max Patterson (4-5). Sebastian Castro was also solid as well in 2 and 1/3 innings pitched, facing the minimum seven batters.

Hawai’i would finally break through in the fourth inning when Jake Tsukada and Austin Machado notched back-to-back hits before Kyson Donahue’s two-strike sac fly brought Tsukada home. 

The final run of the game came in the fifth when Elijah Ickes’ had a two-out knock to drive in Ben Ziegler-Namoa, who reached on a walk to leadoff the half-inning.

Jordan Donahue recorded the last hit of the game in the bottom of the eighth to extend his hitting streak to 17 games for the Rainbow Warriors.

Hawai’i coach Rich Hill had nothing but positive things to say about Chaminade (15-29) and head coach Chad Konishi in the program’s first season in over four decades.

“It was great, you have to give credit to Chad Konishi and his staff for really pitching well tonight,” said Hill. “They’re a very well-coached team. Our guys, proud of them, they grinded it out.”

Konishi, who served as an associate head coach for the Rainbow Warriors from 2002 to 2013, was grateful for the experience despite the loss.

“Really nice to be back in the first base dugout, when we were here (the home team) were in the first base dugout, but it’s awesome,” said Konishi.

“I really want to thank coach Hill. I thanked him many times for giving us this opportunity; one, to play them and two, obviously to rent the facility when they’re away on the road. It’s been so helpful for my program, especially for a first year program. We get a chance to play in the best facility in the state so we hope to continue to do that.”

In addition to their strong pitching, the Silverswords had their chances against the Rainbow Warriors. Their best chance at scoring came in the top of the third after Hawai’i intentionally walked Casey Kudell to load the bases as Kudell got the first hit of the game for Chaminade in the first inning. Ultimately, Hawai’i was able to get out of the jam with an inning-ending strikeout from Itsuki Takemoto.

“They did a nice job competing,” said Konishi. “I told my guys, ‘look we had our chances tonight. You guys played well, I’m really proud of the effort, but we had our chances and this is a D1 team that’s in a good conference.’ If we can play like this consistently, I think we would have had a more consistent record, but really proud of just putting a product on the field. Hopefully we can move on in year two and get better and then progress in year three.”