Hoops and Hawai'i: Pac-12 Networks connects Cougars fans, family
It’s more than 3,000 miles from the Galdeira home in Kamuela, Hawai'i to Washington State, sophomore guard Lia Galdeira’s new home in Pullman, Washington. Thanks to Pac-12 Networks, parents Kunia and Momi Galdeira don’t have to travel all that way to see their daughter play basketball.
The Galdeira parents are seeing their daughter play in person for the first time this weekend at the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament in Seattle, but they follow the Cougs' women’s basketball team very closely.
“We watch every game at home, on TV or streaming,” said Momi, Lia’s mother. “My husband has to work on Friday nights and I could go with him to eat a buffet dinner, but I don’t need crab legs and prime rib. I’m staying at home to watch my daughter!”
“We’re so glad to be here," Kunia added. "All of Lia’s brothers are at home watching ... It means a lot to be here and have our family watching at home, it really does. We couldn’t have asked to be part of something so special.”
Saturday night’s Washington State-Oregon State Pac-12 Tournament semifinal on Pac-12 Networks was the 14th Cougars women’s basketball game to air on national television this season, delivering the most television coverage to the program in school history.
Washington State sophomore guards Lia Galdeira and Dawnyelle Awa both attended the same high school in Hawai'i and grew up an hour away from one another. The dynamic duo has made quite the impact on the Cougs’ program, and vice versa. Over the last two years, the Cougars have become "hanai" – part of the Galdeira family. The word is used for people so close or so intimate, they’re family without being blood relatives.
“I’m a musician and have a Cougar sticker on my ukulele," Kunia said in Seattle. "I run into a lot of alumni or people with family attending; there’s just this connection! You see another Washington State fan and you can’t help but say ‘Go COUGS!’”
Awa and Galdeira were local celebrities in high school, and Pac-12 Networks has helped maintain their star-status in Hawai'i.
“Where we’re from, there’s a big buzz about WSU. Lia and Dawnyelle have been playing together since high school and it’s exciting to see them at this level,” Kunia said.
Momi added, “Lia wanted to play big. While she expects me to be on a plane and in a seat in the stadium, I’m lucky and happy to be able to watch her at home.”