After losing three graduating seniors, ASU women’s basketball has added two new signees this week.
Guards Peace Amukamara and Tiare Kanoa signed their National Letters of Intents on Wednesday.
Amukamara, the sister of junior guard Promise Amukamara, is transferring from Mesa Community College, where she played for the past two seasons.
Coach Charli Turner Thorne said Peace Amukamara shows many of the same traits her sister does.
“First off, Peace’s got Promise’s athleticism, so she’s an explosive, aggressive athlete, which we love,” Turner Thorne said.
Turner Thorne is looking forward to having the dynamic guard on campus for her defense as well.
“I know when I watched her in high school, she took a charge in almost every game I saw,” Turner Thorne said. “That’s something that I think, defensively, she’s going to be able to have an impact for us and really help our perimeter defense.”
Last season, Amukamara led the Thunderbirds to the program’s first National Junior College Athletic Association national championship, was named a first-team NJCAA All-American and was named the NJCAA Division II Player of the Year.
During the season, she scored 14.1 points per game, leading her team, while also putting up 5.6 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.2 steals per game.
Turner Thorne saw Amukamara play well at community college.
“She really blossomed at Mesa,” Turner Thorne said. “Her and her coaches did a fantastic job growing her and being able to make her be a scoring point guard.”
Kanoa, a graduate of Kamehameha High School in Hawaii, led her team to a state championship in 2012, her junior year. During that year, Kanoa was named to the all-state team and was named the Most Outstanding Player in the state tournament.
Kanoa tore her ACL during her senior year, but, before the injury, averaged 14.4 points, four rebounds and four assists per game in her eight games.
Despite her injury, Turner Thorne said she expects Kanoa to be a contributor next year.
“We signed her to come in and be a point guard for us, and I still am very optimistic that she is going to be able to come in and really help us in her first year,” Turner Thorne said. “She’s tough, she’s ahead of schedule, but she is a tough, smart, scoring point guard.”
Turner Thorne believes that Hawaii is a largely untapped market in college basketball.
“I think a lot of players in Hawaii get overlooked or are underrecruited, because it’s hard to get over there, so it’s hard to evaluate them,” Turner Thorne said. “When we kind of discovered her we got super excited.”
Turner Thorne hopes the summer season will help Amukamara and Kanoa adapt to the new team.
“I feel like the summer season is huge now and I think they get that,” Turner Thorne said. “I think that helped (freshmen forwards) Sophie (Brunner) and Kelsey (Moos). … I think if they come in and really take advantage of that. … They can come in and have a big impact.”
Turner Thorne has not set specific expectations for the new freshmen, but does expect them to contribute to her team.
“I feel all four of them are going to have a great opportunity to come in and impact the program,” Turner Thorne said. “I expect all four of them to play and contribute, and there’s going to be opportunity.”
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