Women’s hoops still fighting for first win


Robert Haven

Rhani Kaneaiakala leads the Swords in scoring and rebounding.

The Chaminade University women’s basketball team is battling to avoid a last-place finish in the Pacific West Conference.

After struggling to a 3-120 record the last five seasons, Coach Bobby Keanini has hope in his team and has motivated the Silversword women’s basketball team to reach higher than they have in the past couple years.

Keanini knows that building a team is a process and loves his players’ work ethic and dedication to the sport of basketball. The team has become a better team setting its own goals and doing whatever it takes in attempt to stick to them.

The Swords next game will be on Dec. 31 against Holy Names University. Chaminade is coming off a two-game road swing on the mainland where it lost to conference foes Dixie State and Grand Canyon.

“We have to play one of our best games against the top two teams in the conference,” he said. “We just want to have a chance to win at the end of the game, if we give ourselves that chance the possibilities are open and we’ll get the opportunity to draw up a play to win.”

Notable players on the women’s team seem to love Keanini and his motivating strategies to get them to play well.

Rhani Kaneaiakala, the senior forward transfer from Hawaii Pacific University, felt as though this system has been the most productive because she’s expanded her abilities at Chaminade rather than being just a player to rebound at HPU. Kaneaiakala leads CUH in scoring and rebounding through the first five games with 10.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.

“We’re not physically the same as other teams, but our competitive spirit gives us the drive to come to practice and compete every day so that we will have the best chance possibly,” Kaneaiakala said.

Nikki Tauau, a two-time starting guard for Chaminade who averages 7.8 points and 4.8 rebounds a game, comments on the beginning of the season.

“This year will be a huge accomplishment in general because we take the character and values that we learn from basketball and utilizing them in our everyday lives,” Tauau said. “So we can only grow as people and as players; no one sees how hard we work in practice and the levels we take ourselves to grow as players and as people.”

If you’d ask the critics what they thought of Chaminade women’s basketball, it would be a harsh remark about how they are not capable of becoming a top six team, although the Silversword women fell differently about it and are keeping positive in the midst of the tough talk of the conference polls.

As far as the 2012-2013 season has gone, the Silverswords still need to work out some kinks to fulfill their aspirations. Kaneaiakala and Tauau have been some of the premier performers on the women’s basketball team along with Dianna Zane, the leading scorer for the team during conference. Chaminade has play five games and haven’t begun to pull one out by a landslide; improvement is pertinent for this team.