Believing In The Magical Madness

Coach Laura Beeman's Rainbow Wahine clinched the Big West regular season title Feb. 26 with their 12th straight win against Long Beach State UH SPORTS MEDIA RELATIONS PHOTO

Coach Laura Beeman’s Rainbow Wahine clinched the Big West regular season title Feb. 26 with their 12th straight win against Long Beach State UH SPORTS MEDIA RELATIONS PHOTO

Let the madness begin — why not, it’s March. For the rest of this month and the first week of April, the attention of all us college basketball fans will be directed at tournament brackets. First, the conference tourneys; then, the Big Dance.

Hawaii fans are hoping that Laura Beeman’s Wahine can continue their incredible journey of 2015. The Wahine strung together an awesome streak of victories that reached into double digits this winter. Hawaii finishes its regular season at home this Saturday (March 7) with the traditional aloha to the seniors.

Anybody who has witnessed any part of the brilliant career of senior Shawna-Lei Kuehu should be on hand. Through the injuries and the heartaches, Shawna-Lei has battled and toughed it out for a period of no less than six years and now is reaching the penultimate moment in her career. Few Wahine have done it better.

Then, it’s on to the Big West Tournament in Orange County, Calif., for Beeman’s magical team. After back-to-back years in the WNIT, the Wahine have to be favorites to secure a berth in the NCAA tournament this time around — perhaps even the conference’s automatic qualifier.

For Benjy Taylor’s Rainbow Warriors, the conference tourney may allow them a chance to rekindle the excitement we saw in the team in late December, when they were thrilling hoop fans at the Diamond Head Classic. In a season of major ups and downs, the ‘Bows might be able to turn it back on again and make a run at the Dance, much like some of Riley Wallace’s exciting teams of the 1990s and early 2000s.

The PacWest also moves into championship mode this week. The PacWest Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament is scheduled for Irvine, Calif., Thursday-Saturday (March 5-7). You can follow along at

Record-setting Hawaii Pacific University Sharks roll into the tourney as the women’s regular season champion and No. 1 seed. The Sharks rode the crest of a wave led by 6-foot 2 center Morganne Comstock and 5-foot-1 point guard Kylie Huerta to break the school’s all-time victory mark.

The BYU-Hawaii women’s team is on the opposite side of the bracket, securing the sixth and final seed in the tournament in the last week of the regular season. The Seasiders are hoping former Farrington star Brydgette Tatupu-Leopoldo continues to have a hot hand.

On the men’s side, where Chaminade is the defending tournament champ, the two entrants from the Islands this year hail from BYU-Hawaii and HPUc. The Seasiders, behind high-scoring guard Pablo Coro, are among the top-ranked teams in the West Region, but are seeded No. 4 in the tough PacWest men’s field.

HPU, led by sharp-shooting Luke Hager, came up with one of the school’s strongest seasons in recent years, but had to battle hard to earn the last spot in the tourney in the final week of the regular season.

For these teams — and for all of their fans — the madness in March can turn so temptingly magical. Your seeding in the tournament, or how you got there, means nothing. Just the chance for greatness is all that you need — it can happen, if you believe.

March is definitely the time for true believers. So, believe in the Madness! It begins now!