Jon Kreiner knew he was getting a great player when he landed Nova Scotia guard Tasia McKenna in 2006.
But the women’s basketball coach never once thought he might be getting someone who might ultimately become the team’s all-time leading scorer.
Defying expectations, the fifth-year guard is 70 points shy of the record of 1,968, set by Kathy Harrison between 1988 and 1993.
It’s not something that’s played heavily in her mind until recently, when her teammates starting taking note of her pursuit.
“We were laughing about it last night at practice. We were calculating how many points I would need per game. I think it’s like 14, if we head into one playoff game. It’s something I’d like to achieve as a personal goal, but if I don’t score that many points and come out with a banner –something I’ve wanted since I was younger – obviously I’d accept that.”
McKenna, who graduated from Halifax’s Queen Elizabeth High School, an all-star who was virtually ignored by hometown schools Saint Mary’s and Dalhousie, can be forgiven for her mistaken math.
Kreiner each week posts a running tally of each player’s career points, but had yet to factor a pair of exhibition games played in Florida over the Christmas break. Add in those 28 points, and McKenna can break the record averaging just 10 points a night the rest of the way.
“We know it’s going to be close,” Kreiner said. “We figure if she averages about 12 points a game she should be able to do it in the regular season. Hopefully we’ll have a couple of playoff games to help her out with that too.
“It’ll be a nice cap off to a great season for her. More so, she wants to give us a chance to at least challenge for an OUA title or get us to nationals. With more teams at nationals this year, it’s a much more realistic goal.”
Ironically McKenna and Harrison had a chance to meet recently, though the record wasn’t discussed.
“I just shook her hand. Then later on in the night I asked coach if she knows I could maybe break her record. He said, ‘Yeah, I think she was a little upset and kind of excited, but we’ll see.’”
January was a month of honours for McKenna, who came two points shy of tying an OUA single-game mark two weeks ago when she landed 35 points against McMaster.
Not surprisingly the performance, believed to be an LU record, earned her OUA player of the week honours, and more recently, her sport’s nod as the school’s athlete of the month.
However, January ended on a sour note, a pair of losses to No. 2 Windsor at the Thunderdome last weekend. She’s hoping to rebound this weekend and improve on the 20 points combined she collected last weekend, but more importantly to get the 10-6 Wolves back in the win column.
A trip to winless Waterloo for a pair this weekend might be just what the doctor ordered.
“You can’t put it past them thinking we’re just going to win two games, but I think we’ll be able to pull out two this weekend. And I think our best record is having 12 wins at the end of regular season, so I think this year we’ll be able to have one of our best records and bring us a home playoff game again.”