Star-Bulletin Sports

Friday, December 7, 2001


Hawaii team captain Karena Greeny has "the leadership coaches look for," according to Wahine coach Vince Goo.

Wahine call Karena Greeny
‘Special K’ for good reason

By Al Chase

She is the captain.

The position is one Karena Greeny had never held during her athletic career.

She was definitely surprised when the Hawaii coaches announced the results of the Wahine players' vote.

"By the time you are a senior, you better know the offense and defense and what the coaches expect," said the fifth-year senior from Port Angeles, Wash.

UH Greeny has an outgoing personality which she shares within her circle of friends and teammates, but she is not an in-your-face captain. Her approach is different. She prefers the quiet word to pass on helpful knowledge based on her varied experiences as a Wahine.

UH assistant Serenda Valdez noticed early in the fall how Greeny helped the younger players cope with conditioning workouts.

"Karena had words of encouragement for her teammates during our conditioning. She gave little hints on how to do things, how to improve things and she took that upon herself," Valdez said.

"She has evolved and matured from when she was a freshman and never said anything to anyone. And, I know she wasn't even thinking about captain then. She is a resource for the players off the court."

On the court, Greeny's timely leadership was evident in the Wyoming game, especially late, when the Wahine were trying to protect a slim lead but not playing their typical brand of basketball.

Several times, Greeny stood just inside the offensive half of the court, hands up, palms facing outward while she implored her teammates to settle down, to play under control, to run the offense properly.

"That's the leadership coaches look for," said UH coach Vince Goo. "Off the floor, Karena makes an effort to get everyone to think about the team and not individuals."

Greeny says being captain is not a burden, that it is a good feeling knowing her teammates look up to her, but it doesn't take someone special to be captain.


Schedule: Today, Hawaii vs. Baylor, 7 p.m.; Tomorrow, Baylor vs. Illinois-Chicago, 7 p.m.; Sunday, Hawaii vs. Illinois-Chicago, 5 p.m.
Where: Stan Sheriff Center
TV: Both Hawaii games live, KFVE, Channel 5
Radio: Both Hawaii games live, KCCN, 1420-AM
Internet: Both Hawaii games live at
Tickets: All general admission. $7 adults, $6 seniors, $4 for children (age 4-17) and UH students. Free admission to Saturday's game.
Parking: $3

A standout in soccer, basketball and track and field in high school, Greeny had to choose a collegiate career from the latter two sports. Pac-10 schools were interested, and North Carolina recruited her hard after she finished second in the javelin, third in the shot put and fourth in the discus in the state meet her senior year.

Her father, Burdette Jr., was leaning toward his daughter going to North Carolina.

Basketball and Hawaii won out over Northern Arizona, Idaho State and Washington.

"It was a combination of getting far away and I got to see the Wahine practice on my visit here. They were intense ... and there was the beach," said Greeny.

The 5-foot-11 forward redshirted her first year, as UH was well-stocked across the front line with Nani Cockett, Raylene Howard, Kylie Galloway, Brandi Ashby and Hedy Liu.

Greeny played in all 27 games as a freshman, but got off track the following year, a season in which she says she learned some lessons while seeing action in just 10 games.

She regained her focus last year and started the first five games, then lost the job.

"I wasn't really upset, but I blew it. I knew I wasn't playing good and if you're not, then it's Coach's job to get someone else in there," said Greeny. "I was just so passive. I wasn't driving to the basket and wasn't taking shots I should have. I think I played better coming off the bench."

This year, Greeny is starting again at a wing position. Her play has been more consistent, although she would be happier if more of her shots would fall.

"Karena is making better decisions this year. It's one thing to make a decision in practice. It's another thing when the lights come on and there's an opponent in your face. Now she has the experience," Valdez said.

"When the kids look at her as captain, they see it isn't all about scoring. She works hard in practice, has done it since her freshman year. We never had to look for effort from Karena. It just took time to learn things."

That's why her teammates call the future elementary school teacher and high school coach "Special K."

Greeny's brother, Burdette Greeny III, played baseball for Washington State and reached the Double-A level in the Milwaukee Brewers organization.

"My father taught me everything I know about basketball and my brother everything about baseball. I think he did an amazing job," said Greeny.


HAWAII (4-1)

Pts. Avg. Reb.

G Janka Gabrielova (Sr.) 58 11.6 15

G April Atuaia (Soph.) 41 8.2 39

F Natasja Allen (Jr.) 75 15.0 38

F Karena Greeny (Sr.) 32 6.4 25

C Christen Roper (Jr.) 62 12.4 43

BAYLOR (7-0)

Pts. Avg. Reb.

G Sheila Lambert (Sr.) 126 18.0 32

G Jessika Stratton (Soph.) 57 8.1 14

G Chanelle Fox (Soph.) 41 5.9 39

F Danielle Crockrom (Sr.) 118 16.9 79

C Brooke McCormack (Sr.) 43 6.1 35


Pts. Avg. Reb.

G Josie Cole (Sr.) 49 9.8 24

G Consuela Hall (Jr.) 17 3.4 15

G LeKesha Williams (Jr.) 59 11.8 13

F Stesha Rhodes (Sr.) 57 11.4 28

C Zsuzsa Tarnai (Jr.) 70 14.0 22

Notes: The Wahine played both schools in 1995, defeating Baylor 71-57 and beating Illinois-Chicago 74-69. ... Don Stratton, grandfather of Baylor guard Jessika Stratton, was aboard the USS Arizona on Dec. 7, 1941, and is here participating in the Pearl Harbor anniversary activities. It will be the first time he has seen his granddaughter play collegiate basketball.

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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