By Brian McInnis
The Hawaii men's basketball team had little choice but to practice light on Monday, the start of the spring semester. A few of the first-year UH players had to miss practice to arrange time to declare a major, so the Rainbow Warriors did myriad shooting contests (which many of you will point out they could use right now) and some light offensive set work.
Today was back to a standard-issue practice in Gym 2, the team's last before it departs for Las Cruces, N.M., site of Thursday's game against New Mexico State, where the Rainbows will try to halt an 0-4 start to the Western Athletic Conference season.
The team leaves tonight for Dallas, then flies west to El Paso and will arrive by bus tomorrow in Las Cruces.
The good news for the slumping (9-7 overall) 'Bows: everyone is healthy, and senior forward Bill Amis continues to look sharp in practices. Now he's just got to find a way to make that translate to game nights, as he did through four games of nonconference play.
"We're all staying together as a team, and as a whole family and work through this," Amis said after today's practice. "We've just been in a little slump. ... It's about getting into a rhythm for me. I've only played a few games in two years now, so I just need to get a rhythm out there."
It didn't happen last year, and won't happen this year — in the first of two possible games, anyway.
Twin sisters Shawna Kuehu (Hawaii) and Shaena Kuehu (Idaho) still won't play each other for the first time in a real game on Thursday. That's because Shaena has been out the last five games for Idaho for medical reasons, and a UI team spokesperson confirmed she will remain out for the UH game in Moscow, as she is back in the islands.
Shaena started the first nine games of the season for the Vandals, averaging 6.9 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.
Shawna missed the entire WAC season last year with a torn ACL suffered just a few games into the season, preventing the first possible matchups between the two former Punahou teammates. And no, collegiate summer league games don't count.
We'll see if Shaena is recovered by Feb. 5, when the Vandals and Rainbow Wahine meet in Honolulu.
Also, senior forward Allie Patterson's recent absence on the Wahine bench was because of a medical issue that forced her to visit the hospital, she said. Patterson — who had a starting job in the UH frontcourt at the start of the season — hasn't played in five straight games. She hasn't practiced lately while she recovers, and won't be making the first leg of this five-road-games-in-a-row stretch to Idaho and Boise State. She said she hopes to regroup with the team next week when it returns to Hawaii prior to the second stretch, at San Jose State, Fresno State and Utah State.