Welcome to Hawaii, Kamilah Jackson.
Jackson, one of four newcomers to debut with the UH women’s basketball team last night against Chaminade, did so in impressive style.
The true freshman forward put up 15 points and nine rebounds in just 14 minutes in the Rainbow Wahine’s 74-34 exhibition win at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Though the result didn’t count, and served as just one of two UH tune-ups before the true season opener on Nov. 19, it was a chance for coach Dana Takahara-Dias’ team to work in the newcomers and welcome back two key players.
Jackson shot 5-for-7 and grabbed five of her boards on the offensive end, earning a round of applause from the crowd of 835 when she checked out with about 4:30 left.
Among them were four members of her family who secretly flew to Hawaii from California to watch her play.
"I was just really excited because it was my first college game. I just tried to do the best I could," Jackson said. "I think I did OK, but there’s always room for improvement."
The Wahine made an effort to work the ball down low to the 5-foot-11 forward from Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep School.
Takahara-Dias was pleased with the outcome, noting that the team’s 20 turnovers remained an issue from last season. The Wahine forced 25 on the Silverswords, and routinely put Chaminade deep into the shot clock.
UH led by just 13 at halftime, but the Wahine stepped on the gas pedal in the second half and outscored the ‘Swords 41-14.
Freshman point guard Sydney Haydel also had her moments, displaying aggressive defense and finishing with nine points. Starting shooting guard Megan Tinnin had nine points and six boards in her first game back from a redshirt year, and starting small forward Shawna Kuehu posted five points and five assists in her first outing since season-ending ACL injury last fall.
In her limited time on the floor, Jackson stole the show.
"We forget that she’s only 18, and in her first Division I game, almost had a double-double," Takahara-Dias said. "Not a bad outing … for her first game playing against college women."
"It was no surprise; they (the newcomers) bring it every day in practice," said senior co-captain Keisha Kanekoa, who had six points and four assists. "I kind of expected them to do well."
First-year Chaminade coach Bobby Keanini made a college debut of his own, inheriting a team that went 1-23 last year.
"I liked what we could do in the beginning as far as being fresh," Keanini said. "Just some conditioning things, some (lacking) size and athleticism. Just a whole different level. But we played hard."
Chaminade guard Jordan Ahakuelo hit a 3-pointer to put the Silverswords up 5-3 — then the bottom fell out. A 17-0 Hawaii run put the Wahine ahead by double figures for the rest of the night. Kristen Canencia led Chaminade with nine points.
UH hosts Brigham Young-Hawaii on Thursday.