HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Rainbow Wahine basketball team is going down-under.
In August 2018, the Rainbow Wahine Basketball will embark on its Go The Distance International Tour, a 10-night trip to New Zealand and Australia. It's the first time in program history that the team is going overseas.
"It just shows the growth of where we started and where we wanted to get to," said Wahine head coach Laura Beeman in a press release. "Obviously one of our goals was to get to the NCAA Tournament, we've done that. Winning our conference, we've done that. The next step is to take an international tour where we can compete against high-level international players, experience the different cultures, and use it as a recruiting tool."
Some of the players on the team, such as Courtney Middap, Mackenzie Clinch Hoycard and Amy Atwell, have Australian and New Zealand roots - as does assistant coach Darron Larsen. For others, it'll be an opportunity of a lifetime.
"For the kids who are here who get to go back home and play in front of their family and friends, this is really exciting," Beeman said. "Our California kids, our Washington kids, our Oregon kids, they get to do that all the time. To pick Australia and New Zealand was a no-brainer. To bring those kids home, to bring Darron, our new coach back home, it's going to be really emotional and really exciting."
Hawaii will play four games during the trip, facing teams from the New Zealand National Women's League, New Zealand Premier, Women's National Basketball Australia and South East Australian Basketball League.
The team will visit Auckland, and Christchurch, New Zealand, as well as Melbourne, and Sydney, Australia.
"For a lot of these kids this will be the only time in their lifetime that they are out of the United States of America," Beeman said. "They'll get their passport for this trip, and it may never be renewed. To help be the catalyst for this trip, to say 'OK, we're going to help you see different cultures and different people,' it's really exciting for me, not just as a coach but as a person."