Hawaii to face UCLA in NCAA women’s championship Saturday

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One week after leaving the Golden State as Big West champions, the University of Hawaii women’s basketball team will hit the court again in Los Angeles.

The Rainbow Wahine will play UCLA in the first round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship. View the full bracket here.

They will be making their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1998. Hawaii has now made the tourney six times.

Hawaii was placed in the Bridgeport, Conn. regional Monday during the NCAA selection show, which includes three-time defending national champion and top-seed Uconn.

On their side of the bracket, Hawaii will play as a 14th seed to third-seeded UCLA. The game will be played in Los Angeles and air at 12:30 p.m. Saturday HST on ESPN2.

Just minutes after getting picked, the Wahine turned their fiesta into focus.

“We’re ready to play. Our intent is not just to be excited to be in this tournament. Our intent is to get in this tournament and win this tournament,” said head coach Laura Beeman. “I know a lot of people will hear me say that and think I’m crazy. I’ve been called a lot worse.”

“It’s game time. We’re going to get our scout. We have practice tomorrow, so it’s time to get focused,” said senior guard and forward Destiny King.

“My heart dropped and we were really excited,” said senior guard Ashleigh Karaitiana. “I think we got the outcome we wanted, but now it’s business time. We’re going to get in weights tomorrow, practice tomorrow, and then we’re going to head on the road on Wednesday.”

Other teams in Hawaii’s immediate bracket include Texas, South Florida, BYU, Missouri, Colorado State and Alabama State.

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