Rainbow Wahine basketball looks to build off of Big West opening victory, hits the road for the first time in 2022


Laura Beeman & Kelsie Imai

The University of Hawai’i women’s basketball team will go on the road for the first time in 2022 to visit UC San Diego and UC Irvine.

The Rainbow Wahine started their conference schedule positively, upending Cal State Fullerton 54-52 at home on Jan. 8. The win marked the first conference-opening win for the ‘Bows since 2016, when UH last won the conference tournament. UH was set to begin Big West Conference action on the road but canceled three consecutive games due to widespread COVID-19 issues.

Graduate forward Amy Atwell led the ‘Bows, scoring 20 points and pulling down 12 rebounds for her first double-double of the season, and scored the game-winning basket in the final moments. As a result, Atwell was awarded the conference Player of the Week honor for a second time this season.

Along with Atwell’s effort against the Titans, redshirt sophomore guard Ashley Thoms turned in a stellar home debut, accounting for 11 points, including two made three-pointers in the fourth quarter. Thoms was sidelined during the first half of the season due to NCAA transfer rules.

Thursday’s matchup at UC San Diego will mark the first time the two programs have ever faced each other. UCSD and CSU Bakersfield are new to the Big West Conference, as the Tritons were a strong team at the NCAA Division II level for many years. UH and UCSD was set to play last season at SimpliFi Arena on Feb. 5th and 6th, but both were canceled.

As for Saturday’s game, it is one of the longest-running rivalries for UH, holding the upper hand in the series 32-13. The two squads were to play each other twice in 2021 but had one of two canceled while the other went to UCI the on the road, 82-68. The ‘Bows have not won at Irvine since 2017.

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