The 2022-2023 regular season will officially tipoff on Monday for the University of Hawai’i women’s basketball team with a visit to Oregon State, followed by a trip to the University of Portland on Wednesday.
|GM 1 & 2 | HAWAI’I (0-0, 0-0) VS. OREGON STATE (0-0, 0-0), HAWAI’I vs. PORTLAND (0-0, 0-0)|
|Date | Time||Monday, Nov. 7, 2022 3:30 p.m. HT | Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022 3:00 p.m. HT|
|Location||Corvallis, Ore.- Gill Coliseum | Portland, Ore.- Chiles Arena|
|Live Stream||Monday | Wednesday|
|Tickets||@OSU | @Portland|
|Live Stats||Monday | Wednesday|
|Game Notes||Hawai’i (PDF) | OSU | Portland|
|Social Media||@HawaiiWBB | #HawaiiWBB | @hawaiiwbb | Facebook|
NEWS & NOTES• The Rainbow Wahine played one exhibition in the preseason, picking up a 73-49 victory over Hawai’i Pacific on Nov. 1 as freshman guard Jovi Lefotu led all scorers with 20 points in her UH debut.
• UH returns 11 players from last season’s Big West championship team, including eight who started one or more games a year ago. The top returner of the 11 is the 2022 honorable mention and 2021 Big West Sixth Man of the Year, Daejah Phillips. In addition, five new players round out the roster to 16. Including true freshmen Imani Perez, Avery Watkins, and Lefotu, along with two transfers, Lily Wahinekapu and Meg Jefferson.
• The ‘Bows and Oregon State last faced each other in December of 2019 at Gill Coliseum, with the Beavers coming away with a 64-32 win. No players from the 2019-20 roster are still active on the 2022-23 roster, but Savannah Reier, who played 13 minutes in the game, is currently on staff as the director of player development.
• Portland visited Honolulu a year ago, coming away with a 91-77 win in the Bank of Hawai’i Classic. Forward Amy Atwell went for 30 in the game for the ‘Bows, while Olivia Davies was the only other player to crack double-digits with 13 points. Five players for the Pilots scored double-digit points as Alex Fowler led the way with 20 points, while Haylee Andrews went for a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
ONCE AGAIN, BACK IS THE INCREDIBLE
It’s official; the ‘Bows have a target on their back in 2022-23 as the Big West coaches selected UH as the No. 1 team in the preseason rankings, claiming nine of the 11 votes. It marks the second time in program history that UH was selected as the Big West favorite, the other coming before the 2015-16 season. For reference, when it occurred eight years ago, UH finished second in the regular season and won the conference tournament title. On top of the team honor, UH had a player named to the Preseason Team for the second consecutive season. Sophomore guard Lily Wahinekapu claimed the honor, following Atwell from a year ago.
HAWAI’I IS THE PLACE WITH THE HARDWARE FOLKS
It’s well-established what the ‘Bows accomplished as a team in 2021-22, but this year’s squad has plenty of individual awards. Sophomore forward Daejah Phillips is a Big West Sixth Man of the Year from 2021 and a conference Honorable Mention from 2022. Phillips and sophomore guard Kelsi Imai were conference All-Freshmen team members in 2021. Wahinekapu was the Big West Freshman of the Year in 2022 as a member of the Cal State Fullerton squad. Wahinekapu was also named the Gatorade High School Player of the Year in Hawai’i following the 2020-2021 season. A year later, her sister, freshman guard Jovi Lefotu received the same honor in 2022. Graduate center Kallin Spiller was named the WAC Freshman of the Year during the 2017-18 season while playing for Seattle University. Rounding it all out is head coach Laura Beeman who was named Big West Coach of the Year two times in her career, including last season.
A SEASON OF HISTORY
The 2021-22 basketball season is one no Rainbow Wahine follower has ever experienced and won’t forget any time soon. For the first time in program history, the ‘Bows won both conference regular season and tournament titles, earning the program’s seventh trip to the NCAA tournament. Amy Atwell left her mark by becoming the program’s three-point queen with 205 made three-pointers over her career, and 76 made threes in one season. Atwell also became the program’s first-ever Big West Player of the Year and ranks No. 7 all-time in scoring for the ‘Bows with 1,270 points.
DON’T GET IT CONFUSED; THEY’RE USOS
Lily Wahinekapu and Jovi Lefotu are sisters from Kāne’ohe, O’ahu, but it may be a little hard to understand with different last names. When Lily was born, her mother, Dawn Wahinekapu, wanted her family’s name to carry on even though she didn’t have brothers, so their family bestowed the Wahinekapu name to Lily. When Jovi and their brother Zion were born, they were given their father’s family name, Maea Lefotu.
LONG WAY TO GO, BUT OFF TO A GOOD START
A year ago, all eyes were on Atwell as she was pursuing numerous individual milestones at UH. Going into this season, no one is currently chasing a milestone, but there are three trending in a positive direction of eventually reaching significant numbers. Phillips enters the year with 434 points, while redshirt sophomore Olivia Davies has 310 points. Compared to the last two players to reach 1,000 career points at UH, Atwell had 226 points after two seasons, and Sarah Toeaina had 290. Sophomore Meilani McBee returns as the ‘Bows’ top three-point shooter, hitting 29 a year ago, giving her 47 in two years. Atwell, the reigning all-time leader in made three-pointers with 204 at UH, hit 29 in her first two seasons.
PIPELINE DOWN UNDER
Since 2016, Beeman has had a tie to Australia, as this marks the seventh consecutive season a player from Australia has been on the roster. Meg Jefferson hails from Sydney, Australia. To go a step further, Beeman has had a player on the roster from New Zealand or Australia in her 11 seasons.
LET’S SEE WHERE THIS LEADS
Beeman has left her mark as the eighth head coach of the Rainbow Wahine, becoming only the second coach of the eight to reach 100 wins. Entering her 11th season at the program’s helm, she has accumulated a 162-133 record. Legendary head coach Vince Goo is the program’s winningest coach at 334-166. In Goo’s 17-year career at UH, he took the ‘Bows to a national postseason 10 times, five to the NCAA tournament, and five appearances in the WNIT. Beeman has gone to a postseason tournament six times, twice to the NCAA tournament, while tacking on four visits to the WNIT.
WHERE IS SHE NOW?
With a veteran-heavy squad returning, UH did lose its most significant piece from last year in Big West Player of the Year, Amy Atwell. The record-setting shooter graduated with her master’s degree in May after being with the program for six seasons. She became the second player to be drafted from the Rainbow Wahine program, joining all-time leading scorer Judy Mosely with the honor. Atwell is currently playing in the WNBL of Australia for her hometown team, the Perth Lynx.