It didn’t look like it was in the cards for Shawna Kuehu early on during Saturday’s contest against BYU-Hawaii.
She had two points at halftime and UH was already up 33 at that point, so it didn’t seem likely that she’d need to go off in the second half.
But in the first 10 minutes coming out of the break, go off she did, scoring 13 points to finish with 15 and become the 18th player in program history to score 1,000 career points — exactly the amount she finished the night with. She is the 10th with 1,000 points and 500 rebounds.
And, oh yeah — UH prevailed 92-40. The 52-point margin of victory was tied for third-largest in the record books. UH set a record for fewest field goals allowed with nine, and its 92 points was the most for the program since Vince Goo‘s squad put up 97 twice in the 2000-01 season.
But it was really Kuehu’s night.
If she hadn’t done it against the Division II Seasiders, it was likely the Punahou product would have reached 1K on the road at Loyola Marymount or Cal State Bakersfield in one of UH’s next two games.
“It was huge (to do it here). You know, doing it, especially in six years … I’m glad I could finish it off with this team,” Kuehu said.
“Fantastic to be a part of Shawna’s 1,000,” coach Laura Beeman said. “Fantastic that the play couldn’t have happened any better, where it was the and-1 and where we could call the timeout after the free throw. It couldn’t have worked itself out any better. But we were just saying, ‘two more points and we’re getting her out … one more point. (Then), Get her out.’ Just a fantastic night all the way around.”
In the postgame press conference, Kuehu flashed up six fingers, exclaiming “Years in the making!” with a laugh. She missed most of one season due to injury and another because of the birth of her child, Kaiona.
But in actuality, Kuehu wasn’t very concerned about the milestone. UH was coming off three straight losses, with the previous one against Pacific the most disappointing. That was what weighed on her the most.
“I knew I was that close,” she said. “My mentality was, going into this game, I needed the girls to get better. Gain more confidence on the team. So whether or not I scored the thousand tonight or another night, it didn’t really matter, as long as we got better. But I’m really glad I was able to do it with this bunch of girls.”
Ashleigh Karaitiana gave her good friend a big hug during a planned timeout right after Kuehu hit a free throw to complete a three-point play to make it 1,000. Her feat was announced in the Stan Sheriff Center and she received a round of applause. After the final horn blew, Kuehu received the game ball from Beeman.
“She’s definitely a big leader on the team. Everyone on this team respects her,” Karaitiana said. “They all look up to her. With the experience that she has, it’s a big deal for the team. It’s not an individual sport but we all know that she leads us to where we need to go.”
The whole UH team was able to make it a festive night against the shorthanded Seasiders, who were missing their starting point guard Celeste Claw due to concussion-like symptoms. UH finished with better than 62 percent shooting to the field, compared to a woeful 22 percent for BYUH.
All 14 Wahine who suited up ended up playing, and 13 of them scored. Jasmine Redmon, Breana Jones and Raja Moreno-Ross scored the first points of their UH careers.
UH scored the game’s first 14 points and led 26-3, then 50-17 at halftime.
“We had some really intense, high-emotion games, so to be able to come in here and have a fun game, get everybody on the floor and actually work on some things against someone other than ourselves was really important,” Beeman said. “I think in some areas we made some pretty good steps. Shots in the paint felt better. We need to get more 3s and a better percentage from 3, but at least we were taking some shots for the majority of the night.”
Farrington alum Brydgette Tatupu-Leopoldo led the Seasiders with 15 points.