Wednesday, November 25, 2015         

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Kanekoa and Tinnin are Wahine captains

By Brian McInnis


The votes were tallied, and two veterans were sworn in to lead Hawaii.

UH women's basketball coach Dana Takahara-Dias upheld democracy yesterday, naming seniors Keisha Kanekoa and Megan Tinnin co-captains based on the picks of their teammates.


Exhibition game
» Who: Chaminade at Hawaii
» When: 7 p.m. tomorrow
» Where: Stan Sheriff Center
» TV/Radio: none
The two guards can demonstrate their floor leadership starting tomorrow, when the Rainbow Wahine take on Chaminade in an exhibition at 7 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Point guard Kanekoa, shooting guard Tinnin, small forward Shawna Kuehu and power forwards Allie Patterson and Breanna Arbuckle are the projected starters.

Not counting a brief scrimmage with local celebrities in the UH Ohana Hoopfest last month, it's the first of two chances to see the Wahine in action before their true season opener against Cal State Northridge on Nov. 19.

The players and coaches hope to build off Takahara-Dias' first year, in which the team went 10-20 overall and 4-12 (eighth place) in the Western Athletic Conference.

Tomorrow is a chance for an intriguing mix of old and new Wahine players to meld against fresh competition.

"What you saw last year will be totally different ... the commitment level of this team, they've really shown that they want to have a good season," Takahara-Dias said.

A rise in expectations is reasonable, considering it's Takahara-Dias' second season of Division I coaching and the team gets back some key missing parts to go along with four new recruits.

"Even from last year, I think it's been a huge transition," said Tinnin, who redshirted last season while taking leave from the team for family reasons. "We've gotten a lot better, we have a lot more experience. A lot more seniors (five). And the four new girls, they've brought a lot to the team. I think people are going to enjoy what we can bring this year."

Tinnin averaged 10.3 points a game and 5.0 rebounds in her junior year. Kuehu is making a comeback after posting 12.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and eight blocks through the first five games of last season before going out with a season-ending ACL injury. Senior point guard Mai Ayabe is also back from an ACL tear.

Kuehu compared her recovery favorably to the ACL injury that caused her to miss her junior season at Punahou.

"It's been really hard. Mentally exhausting," said Kuehu, who received a medical hardship and is still a freshman. "But the team stayed here during the summer. ... With them there, knowing we were trying to push for one goal, let's just say it was a lot easier than it would have been."

The four UH newcomers are point guards Keianna Evans and Sydney Haydel and forwards Carlotta Mingo and Kamilah Jackson.

"Energy. I have a lot of energy, I'm very vocal. Defense is my main priority," said Evans, a junior from Kaskaskia College (Ill.).

Division II Chaminade, led by new coach Bobby Keanini, went 1-23 last year.

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