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by Susanne Haala, staff writer

Lady Sea Warriors’ basketball is the talk of the island.
On Jan. 22 at the Neal Blaisdell Center, the Lady Sea Warriors mounted a 97-50 victory against Chaminade in the early game at 5:30 p.m. The 47-point margin was a first for the HPU women’s
basketball program, which struggled last season with a 8-19 record.
After the first half, HPU led 41-27, and continued the second half with a great game and top-class performance. Forward Rhani Kaneaikala, a local freshman from Waimanalo, shot 5-8 from the field, 9-9 from the free throw line, and grabbed nine rebounds. HPU dominated the entire game, shot nearly 46 percent from the field, while Chaminade shot only 33 percent. The HPU rebound advantage was 59-28.
Tiffany Wilson, a junior guard from California and a key player on the HPU team said: “This game was important for our season and it counts for PacWest Conference standings. We have a great team and are excited for a great year!”
Head Coach Jeff Harada is more than content with his Lady Sea Warriors: “In just our third season, we are happy to have the success we have so far. We still have a long way to go, and I hope we can keep moving forward as the season progresses.”
Teamwork plays a
major role in the Lady Sea Warriors’ victory, according to Angela Spence, a senior from California, who praised her team for maintaining a positive atmosphere. “We are a big family and we hang out with each other all the time,” Spence said.
Bethany O’Neil Wong, a freshman from Arizona, said she is more than grateful to be part of such an extraordinary team. “What makes us unique from other teams is our chemistry on and off the court,” Wong said. “We joke around and make fun of each other all the time, but at the end of the day we are family.”
“ Dixie State College will be a challenge for all of us,” Harada said before the Lady Sea Warriors’ next PacWest Conference game on Jan. 31. “Hopefully,” he added, “we’ll be up for it.” Unfortumately they weren’t.
HPU dropped the game
77-73 for its first
defeat in the PacWest Conference and fell to 5-1.
On Feb. 3 HPU faced Grand Canyon University also at the NBC. In this game the Lady Sea Warriors fell 87-76 (5-2) but they were ready for rematches scheduled for Feb. 11 and Feb. 14, in Phoenix, Ariz., and in
St. George, Utah, on their first and only road trip to the mainland.
During the road trip, the Lady Sea Warriors fared well, winning two out of their first three games against the Academy of Art and Grand Canyon, which received its first conference loss. HPU’s record is currently 10-12 overall, and 6-3 in conference, placing them second in the PacWest Conference behind the Grand Canyon Antelopes.
Harada’s goal for the team this season is to become the No. 1 team in Hawai‘i and win the PacWest Conference, giving his team a shot at nationals.
The next home game is Feb. 18 vs. Chaminade at the NBC at 5:30 p.m.

 

 

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