By WES NAKAMA
Stephens Media Hawaii
HONOLULU — The University of Hawaii women’s basketball team is expecting a good crowd for its home opener today at Stan Sheriff Center, since the game will feature two local girls off to good starts in their sophomore season.
But those two girls do not play for UH – point guard Dawnyelle Awa and shooting guard Lia Galdeira form the starting backcourt for Washington State, which faces the Rainbow Wahine at 7 p.m.
Awa and Galdeira, both 2012 graduates of Konawaena who led the Wildcats to three Hawaii High School Athletic Association championships in four years, are coming off impressive freshman seasons and are looking at an even better campaign in 2013-14.
The 5-foot-11 Galdeira scored 19 points, grabbed six rebounds, made four steals and dished out three assists in an 81-72 victory at Seattle University on Tuesday night. The 5-9 Awa scored five points, made five assists and grabbed three rebounds.
In the Cougars’ season opener vs. Syracuse, Galdeira scored 12 points, grabbed four rebounds, made two steals and had two assists as Washington State fell at home, 69-65. Awa did not score, but had three assists and two steals.
Galdeira started 28 of 31 games last season and was named to the Pac-12 All-Freshmen Team after leading the team in scoring (14.8 points per game), rebounding (5.2), steals (86), 3-point goals (41), minutes (828) and tying for second in assists (52). She led all Pac-12 freshmen in scoring and was the second-leading freshman scorer in the nation.
Galdeira also set school freshman records for season points (459), single-game points (33 in her debut vs. Minnesota), double-digit scoring games (28), field goals (174) and free throw percentage (76.9).
Awa appeared in all 31 games as a freshman, starting the final 13. She averaged 2.6 points and 1.7 rebounds and led the team in assists with 68, second-most among Pac-12 freshmen.
Hawaii is 1-1 after opening its season with an 84-44 loss at Arizona State last Saturday and a 74-66 victory at Northern Arizona on Sunday.
The UH-Washington State game is part of the Bank of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine Classic. Washington State will play West Virginia at noon Saturday and Mississippi at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
RAINBOW WARRIORS OFF TO MIZZOU: The UH men’s basketball team will embark on its first road trip of the season as it plays Missouri at Kansas City, Mo., at 2 p.m. (HST) Saturday.
Hawaii is 2-1 after opening its season with an 85-55 victory over Tennessee State, a 78-68 win over Western Michigan and a 95-88 loss to New Mexico State in the 49th Annual Rainbow Classic.
Sophomore forward Isaac Fotu was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player and senior forward Christian Standhardinger also was named to the All-Tournament Team.
Missouri (2-0) received five votes in this week’s USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll and three votes in the AP Top 25, which would put them 35th and in a tie for 40th, respectively.
WAHINE SPIKERS CLIMB IN RPI: The UH women’s volleyball team, ranked No. 12 in the latest AVCA Coaches Top 25, climbed four spots to No. 12 in the more important Ratings Percentage Index.
The Rainbow Wahine swept Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, 25-16, 25-19, 25-19, on the road last Friday and then outlasted Cal Santa Barbara, 22-25, 25-15, 23-25, 25-22, 15-12 in another crucial road victory.
The NCAA Tournament selection committee uses the RPI as a tool to decide on the top 16 seeds, all of whom are to be given an opportunity to host first and second round games Dec. 5-8.
UH (20-4, 9-3 Big West Conference) is off this weekend and returns to action with a home match vs. Cal Davis on Nov. 22.
HALF-PRICED TICKETS FOR FOOTBALL ‘RETRO NIGHT’: The UH athletic department announced that tickets for the final two home football games, including Saturday’s “Retro Night” game against San Diego State, will be available for half price.
The Rainbow Warriors (0-9, 0-6 Mountain West Conference) will wear green throwback jerseys styled from the 1960s featuring white numbers and rainbow stripes on the sleeves, along with 1950s-style white helmets with a green stripe and white pants with a rainbow stripe.
San Diego State (5-4, 4-1) has won five of its last six games, including a 34-30 comeback victory at San Jose State last Saturday.
Kickoff is set for 5:30 p.m. at Aloha Stadium’s Hawaiian Airlines Field.