By WES NAKAMA
Stephens Media Hawaii
HONOLULU — The University of Hawaii women’s basketball team returns to the Stan Sheriff Center for a Big West Conference showdown vs. Long Beach State tonight.
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.; the game will be broadcast live statewide on OCSports.
The Rainbow Wahine are 14-11 overall, 8-5 in the Big West coming off last Saturday’s 56-52 loss at UC Davis; the 49ers are 15-11, 7-5 coming off a 65-62 victory over those same Aggies two days earlier.
Long Beach State also edged UH at home, 74-72, on Jan. 30.
Hawaii is alone in third place in the Big West standings, trailing Cal State Northridge and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
UH has played the past three games without leading scorer and rebounder Kamilah Jackson, who is still slowed by a foot injury. Her status reportedly is day-to-day, and it was not clear whether she would be healthy enough to play todau.
Jackson, a senior post, is averaging 15.5 points and 9.7 rebounds per game.
Senior forward Shawna-Lei Kuehu (10.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg) has scored in double figures each of the past three games, and junior wing Ashleigh Karaitiana has contributed a total of 20 points and 23 rebounds during Jackson’s absence.
Senior post Pua Kailiawa, a former standout at Ka‘u, played 30 minutes and scored eight points in Hawaii’s 55-54 victory at UC Irvine on Feb. 20. Junior post Kalei Adolpho added a season-high 11 rebounds against UC Davis.
RAINBOW WARRIORS HIT ‘THE BEACH’: The UH men’s basketball team is at Long Beach State for a single-game road trip today.
The game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Prime Ticket (Oceanic Ch. 31/228) at 5:30 p.m.
The Rainbow Warriors are 19-8 overall, 8-5 in the Big West coming off last Saturday’s 86-77 home win over UC Davis; the 49ers are 12-14, 8-4, coming off a 79-57 victory over those same Aggies on Feb. 20.
Long Beach State also owns a 92-83 victory over UH on Jan. 30 at the Stan Sheriff Center.
RAINBOW BASEBALL BLANKS PEPPERDINE: Senior right-hander Matt Cooper delivered a gem Wednesday night, striking out 10 in a three-hit shutout as UH beat Pepperdine 2-0 to open a four-game home series.
Cooper (2-0), who hasn’t allowed an earned run in 21 innings this season, didn’t walk a batter and struck out the side in the ninth as UH (5-4) won its fifth straight game.
Senior first baseman Marc Flores finished 3 for 3, including an RBI double in the eighth inning. Junior center fielder Kaeo Aliviado walked to lead off the sixth and came around to score on George Cooper’s sacrifice fly.
The series continues with 6:35 p.m. games today and Friday and 6:05 p.m. Saturday.
Coming off a three-game sweep of Utah Valley, Pepperdine fell to 6-2.
UH entered fresh off a four-game sweep of Albany last weekend. True freshman left fielder Marcus Doi didn’t play Wednesday, but he leads the team in hitting with a .417 batting average. After going 1 for 3, Aliviado is hitting .342.
The Rainbow Warriors also have received reliable starts from junior left-hander Jarrett Arakawa, who earned his first victory of the season with six shutout innings against Albany, lowing his ERA to 1.80.
MEN’S VOLLEYBALL HOSTS UCLA: The UH men’s volleyball team plays host to UCLA in a pair of Mountain Pacific Sports Federation matches Friday and Saturday.
The Rainbow Warriors are 9-6, 7-5 coming off a pair of losses at USC last weekend. UCLA is 13-3, 10-2 coming off victories at Pacific and Stanford.
First serve is set for 7 p.m. both nights, and the matches will be televised live on OCSports.