HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Every time Sarah Toeaina drives to the basket, it's become nearly a guarantee that she's going to convert a layup or draw a foul. Her aggressiveness with the ball in her hands has grown from confidence and a belief in her ability.
It's that belief which is why Sarah Toeaina, sitting at 990 points in her career for the Rainbow Wahine basketball team, is on the verge of cementing her legacy at Manoa as a 1,000-point scorer.
"It's a blessing. A blessing in disguise," Toeaina said. "It was a little bit of a troubled start my freshman year, being out with an injury. So we weren't sure (if I'd get 1,000 points). My family would always remind me, "Oh, a thousand is really cool' and I'd be like yeah if it comes, it comes but if not I'll just keep playing game-by-game."
This Thursday against CSUN, Toeaina has an opportunity to cross the 1,000-point mark if she scores 10 points or more, which appears likely since she's averaging a team-high 14.7 points per game.
If Toeaina is able to score 16 points tomorrow night, she'll crack into the program's Top 20 all-time scorers, leaping ahead of Vai Agee (1990-1993) who ended her career with 1,005 points.
Until her junior season, Toeaina wasn't the go-to option on offense. But she's credited her chemistry with head coach Laura Beeman and her improved game as the reasons why she's approaching the 1,000-point milestone.
"I would say that I'm a little more aggressive this year. Being the lone senior and understanding the program and what coach Beeman's looking for, I can kind of be her eyes on the court," Toeaina said. "And I have a really good relationship with our (point guard) Tia Kanoa and If I see something or she sees something on the court we communicate it well and get it throughout our team, which has helped us mentally this year."
During Beeman's tenure at Manoa, she's seen the likes of Kamilah Jackson, Shawna-Lei Kuehu, Ashleigh Karaitiana and Destiny King eclipse 1,000 points scored. But watching Toeaina blossom into the player she is today has been special.
"You know, she was a jump-shooter early on. But her ability to use her strength and her finesse and her size a little bit to get to the basket, I think is probably where she's had the greatest improvement," Beeman said. "Sarah's work ethic has always been just phenomenal. And so when you have someone who's always working that hard all the time, it's gonna pay off. And I think we've really seen that at the end of last year and through this year."
The Wahine will look to snap their two-game losing streak against CSUN tomorrow night at the Stan Sheriff Center. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. HT.