Keisha Kanekoa laughs nervously. The Hawaii senior point guard is more than a little embarrassed.
Kanekoa is only 16 points away from becoming the 16th player in Rainbow Wahine history to reach the 1,000-point plateau, a mark she should easily pass sometime in the three-day Pepsi Rainbow Wahine Invitational starting tonight.
PEPSI RAINBOW WAHINE INVITATIONAL
» Where: Stan Sheriff Center
» Today: Columbia (0-9) vs. Hawaii (4-6), 7 p.m.
» Tomorrow: Cal State Bakersfield (8-8) vs. Hawaii, 7 p.m.
» Thursday: UNLV (5-6) vs. Hawaii, 7 p.m.
» TV: CSU Bakersfield and UNLV games on KFVE
» Radio: All games on KKEA, 1420-AM
She’d rather talk about how the Wahine (4-6) are trying to end a five-game slide against Columbia (0-9) at 7 p.m., but she relented momentarily after yesterday’s practice.
"Ahh, I dunno, I’m trying not to think about it," the 5-foot-6 co-captain said with a sheepish grin. "It kind of scares me a little bit. I think once it’s done, I’ll get some of the pressure out."
Kanekoa is coming off 17- and 16-point efforts in two games on her native Big Island against No. 9 UCLA and East Carolina. She was named to the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Shootout all-tournament team, but her scoring wasn’t enough to stop the bleeding that began against No. 14 North Carolina exactly a month ago. UH has played competitively, but has failed to put a complete effort together in winnable games against Portland, Portland State and East Carolina.
Coach Dana Takahara-Dias is relieved to be back in the Stan Sheriff Center for the first time since the UNC game. She has no regrets about playing two top-20 teams over that span, she said, as the Wahine jump into Western Athletic Conference play almost immediately after this final nonconference tournament. UH follows against Cal State Bakersfield (8-8) tomorrow and UNLV (5-6) on Thursday.
"I don’t think it’s in vain, I think it’s going to be exciting as we prepare for conference play," the coach said. "The competition has been mean in our nonconference, but that’s exactly what we wanted."
Takahara-Dias informed Kanekoa in the preseason that she was coming up on the 1,000-point mark. At the time, the four-year starter was disbelieving of joining a list that includes Judy Mosley, Nani Cockett and, most recently, Janevia Taylor (in 2006-07). Most impressive, Takahara-Dias said, was that Kanekoa scored so much with her primary task being a playmaker. Kanekoa is averaging a career-best 12.4 points per game this season.
"It’ll probably take care of itself, I think," Kanekoa said. "Let the game come to me. Try not to focus on doing too much, you know? Just let it come."
Her backcourt mate and fellow captain, senior Megan Tinnin, was happy to talk about it. Tinnin set a big mark of her own earlier this season, the UH all-time 3-point record.
"I think it’s exciting," Tinnin said. "It’s a good way to kind of go out with a bang her senior year. I’m excited for her; she deserves it. She’s done a phenomenal job her four years here."