Rainbow Wahine praparing for Washington in WNIT


HONOLULU — The University of Hawaii women’s basketball team will make its second straight appearance in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament at 4 p.m. HST Friday at Washington.

The game is not scheduled to be televised, and radio information has not yet been released.

The Rainbow Wahine (17-13) lost to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, 66-52, in the Big West Conference semifinals but received an at-large berth for the second straight year. Washington (17-13) went 10-9 in its Pac-12 schedule.

UH played its last six conference regular season games and the Big West Tournament opener without leading scorer and rebounder Kamilah Jackson, who was out with a foot injury. Jackson came off the bench to play 18 minutes vs. Cal Poly SLO, but she did not score and grabbed only one rebound.

Jackson is still averaging 14.8 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.

Junior guard Ashleigh Karaitiana (10.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg) and senior swing Shawna-Lei Kuehu (10.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg) have helped pick up the slack, with Karaitiana scoring a game-high 18 points including five of six 3-pointers in the victory over Long Beach State in the Big West Tournament opener.

Should the Rainbow Wahine defeat Washington, they will advance to a second-round game either Sunday, Monday or Tuesday.

BASEBALL TEAM HOSTS ALABAMA-BIRMINGHAM: The UH baseball team plays host to Alabama-Birmingham in a four-game non-conference series from Thursday through Sunday at Les Murakami Stadium.

The game time is 6:35 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with a 1:05 start time on Sunday. OCSports will televise Thursday’s, Friday’s and Saturday’s games live.

The Rainbow Warriors are 9-11 after a four-game series split vs. Nevada last weekend. Senior right-hander Scott Kuzminsky pitched a two-hitter and faced the minimum amount of batters in Monday’s 1-0 victory in the series finale.

Junior second baseman and leadoff hitter Stephen Ventimillia went 6-for-13 vs. Nevada and raised his team-high batting average to .345.

Sophomore utility player Julienne Jones may have established himself as the team’s much-needed closer after pitching a perfect ninth inning in Sunday’s 6-3 win.

UAB is 16-5 overall and 4-2 in Conference USA. The Blazers received votes in this week’s National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll.

SOFTBALL TEAM HEADS TO L.A.: The Rainbow Wahine softball team will take this weekend off before heading to Los Angeles to play Missouri-Kansas City on Wednesday and Loyola Marymount on Thursday in a pair of non-conference road games.

UH (13-14) fell to Oregon, 2-0, in the semifinals of last weekend’s Pepsi Rainbow Wahine Classic.

Third baseman Kaile Nakao and right fielder Keiki Carlos each was named to the All-Tournament Team.

MEN’S VOLLEYBALL TAKES A BREATHER: The UH men’s volleyball team will take the next two weekends off before resuming Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play vs. Brigham Young on April 4 and April 5 at the Stan Sheriff Center.

The Rainbow Warriors are 13-10 overall and 11-9 in the MPSF after a two-match road sweep at Pacific. They won Monday’s match 25-18, 25-19, 25-20, and then swept the Tigers again on Tuesday, 25-22, 25-21, 25-15.

That was likely the end of a long history of matches vs. Pacific, which will drop its men’s volleyball program after this season.

 

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