Thursday, November 26, 2015         


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Full-speed ahead for UH

By Brian McInnis


Will faster equate to better?

In her second year, Hawaii coach Dana Takahara-Dias is counting on it.

The current Rainbow Wahine starting five is a sleek unit that gives up some size -- a true center isn't included -- but one that can shoot and take opponents off the dribble with a variety of slashers.

After acing their first exhibition test against Chaminade last week, the Rainbow Wahine get a second preseason quiz tomorrow night in the form of Brigham Young-Hawaii. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.

In the 74-34 runaway win over the Silverswords, the starters -- point guard Keisha Kanekoa, wings Megan Tinnin and Shawna Kuehu, and forwards Breanna Arbuckle and Allie Patterson -- got off to a slow start, but played much better in the second half.

Takahara-Dias has confidence that Arbuckle, a 6-foot junior, and Patterson, a 6-foot-1 senior, can anchor the Wahine front line on defense while creating mismatches on offense with their quickness.

"They really have bought into the system," the coach said. "I think Breanna Arbuckle and Allie Patterson are night and day of each other. Very different looks that we have, and I think that's going to be an interesting matchup to see who plays on what. We call Battie (Arbuckle) finesse and we call Allie blue-collar. She's our rubbish man."


» Who: Brigham Young-Hawaii at Hawaii

» When: 7 p.m. tomorrow

» Where: Stan Sheriff Center

» TV: None

» Radio: KKEA, 1420-AM

Patterson is technically listed as a guard, but plays physical. Arbuckle, though lean, is explosive and has already cracked the top 10 in UH career blocked shots.

Arbuckle, a full-time starter last year at small forward, wasn't concerned about a size disadvantage.

"All we have to do is box out, and we'll get the ball," she said. "It's just a quick lineup. But if we need to go to a big lineup, we'll get a big lineup in there."

It's true, there are options. Center Rebecca Dew started 21 of 30 games last season, and the 6-foot-4 junior from New Zealand can be brought in to add some size.

Freshman forward Kamilah Jackson (5-11) impressed against the Silverswords, posting 15 points and nine rebounds in just 14 minutes. Junior college transfer Carlotta Mingo (6-1) is also a strong rebounder.

Patterson started just 12 games last year and came off the bench in 18 contests, but is brimming with confidence in her new role.

"You gotta work extra hard," she said. "Especially on defense, because you know that you're outmatched by the height. But you know, it doesn't matter because on the other side, on offense, you turn around and we have the advantage, because we're faster."

The team's second center, junior Katie Wilson, recently had surgery to repair cartilage in her shoulder and will likely miss several months. Takahara-Dias said applying for a medical hardship year is a possibility; Wilson already burned her redshirt season.

New BYUH coach Hiram Akina, the former Kahuku High basketball coach, will make his debut in replacing Wendy Anae. The Seasiders were picked to finish sixth of nine teams in the Pacific West Conference preseason poll.

The Wahine open the regular season Nov. 19 against Cal State Northridge.

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