By BILL O’REAR
Tribune-Herald sports editor
University of Hawaii at Hilo women’s basketball coach David Kaneshiro has added two forwards and two guards to cap his recruiting class for the 2013-14 season.
On Thursday, Kaneshiro, in his fourth season at the helm, announced he had signed four junior college players to join four earlier signees for the Vulcans. They will join three returnees to form the nucleus for the upcoming season.
The newest signees are:
• Hayley Reynolds, a 5-foot-11 junior forward out of Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore. She played two years at Umpqua CC for head coach Dave Stricklin. Last year, she helped lead Umpqua CC to a 17-10 record and was named to the all-star first team in the Southern Region of the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges.
Reynolds, who prepped at Yoncalla High School in Oregon, averaged 17 points and 9 rebounds per game last season as a sophomore at Umpqua CC.
“Hayley is an athletic, versatile forward who fits in well with our style of play,” Kaneshiro said. “She runs the floor well, is a strong driver and cutter, and a good finisher inside. Defensively, she has the size and strength to guard the low post and also moves her feet well enough to stay in front of forwards and wings who play facing the basket.”
• Danielle Kooyman, a 6-foot junior forward out of South Mountain Community College in Phoenix. She played two years for head coach Daven Vo and helped lead the team to a 17-14 record last season in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference.
As a sophomore post player, Kooyman averaged 7 points and 6 rebounds per game. She shot 44 percent from the field and 71 percent from the free-throw line.
Kooyman earned Academic All-American honors from the National Junior College Athletic Association. She also played two seasons as a middle blocker for her college’s volleyball team.
Kooyman prepped at Chandler (Ariz.) High School.
“Danielle will bring size and athleticism to our front court,” Kaneshiro said. “She runs the floor well and has good timing and instincts on the boards, probably from being a middle blocker in volleyball. She has a nice mid-range shooting touch and the mobility and skill level to make plays on the move.”
• Kirstie Williams, a 5-6 junior guard out of Sierra College in Rocklin, Calif. She averaged 14 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists per game this past year as a sophomore while leading the junior college to a 23-8 record and a share of the conference championship. Sierra advanced to the state’s Elite 8 and Williams earned first-team all-conference honors.
Williams, who prepped at Bella Vista High School in Lincoln, Calif., shot 34 percent on 3-pointers and 80 percent from the free-throw line under Sierra head coach Brandie Murrish.
“Kirstie is a tough, intense competitor,” Kaneshiro said. “She is a true gym rat. And anyone that has watched her play will tell you that the long hours she has spent in the gym have paid off. She is an excellent shooter with great range and a quick release.”
• Whitney Edens, a 5-6 junior guard out of Santa Rosa Junior College. She averaged 10 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists per game while helping the Lacey Campbell-coached Bear Cubs to a 27-7 overall record, the conference title and a Final Four finish in the state JC championships.
Edens, who prepped at Cloverdale High School in Northern California, earned first-team all-conference and all-tournament honors at the California Community College Athletic Association Championships.
“Whitney is a very good all-around player,” Kaneshiro said. “She was asked to score more for her team this past season and also had the role of the team’s defensive stopper. She’s also a good ballhandler and passer with a very high basketball IQ.”
Kaneshiro said each of the recently signed players have a chance to make an immediate impact on the team.
“Hayley and Danielle both have the size and toughness to guard opposing post players in the PacWest and will help us improve our rebounding from a year ago,” Kaneshiro said. “Kirstie and Whitney competed against each other in the Big 8 Conference in California. They both provided strong leadership for their teams and were crucial in their teams’ very successful seasons.”
Kaneshiro lost eight seniors to graduation following a 13-11 overall record in 2012-13, including a 10-7 mark in the Pac West Conference. The graduating seniors included Kirsten Shimizu, Kirsty Imai, Jameia McDuffie, Natalie Mata, Shannon Rousseau, Jazlyn Afusia, Elise Spain and Jazz Corpuz.
The returnees are senior-to-be Kamie Imai, junior Thea Hanato-Smith and sophomore Mandi Lum.
Imai, a 5-foot-9 guard/forward and the lone returning starter, led the Vulcans in scoring (10.9 per game), rebounds (7.3 per game) and assists (83), and was second in steals (30) last year while earning all-PacWest second team honors.
The four recruits announced last were: Jordan Kealoha, a 5-4 junior point guard; McKenzie Mangino, a 5-10 junior center; Charlotte “CC” Rode, a 5-8 junior combo guard; and Alexa Jacobs, a 5-7 freshman point guard.
Email Tribune-Herald sports editor Bill O’Rear at email@example.com.