Kansas Wesleyan guard Courtney Heinen (SR/Axtell, Kan.) seldom, if ever, needs motivation when it comes to playing basketball.
Saturday night, though, was something special and she was eager to rise to the occasion. Which she did, in spectacular fashion.
Heinen scored a career-best 32 points and made history in the process, surpassing the 1,000-point plateau for her career in leading the No. 19 Coyotes to a 101-53 Kansas Conference victory over Saint Mary at Mabee Arena. The 101 points were the third-highest single-game total in program history.
The victory keeps the Coyotes tied with Sterling atop the KCAC standings at 17-3. They’re 22-5 overall, have won 10 of their last 11 games and 17 of their last 18 conference contests.
Heinen said the milestone was her motivation.
“I knew my thousand points were approaching and I knew getting this win was a big one, just one step closer to our goals,” she said. “I was just focused and ready to go.”
Heinen reached 1,000 points on her fourth 3-pointer of the game with 9:03 left in the third quarter. She was 11 of 22 shooting for the game, including 6 of 12 from 3-point range, and was 4 of 5 at the foul line.
“It’s awesome,” she said of the accomplishment. “I couldn’t have done it without the girls, either. I got this in high school as well and it’s just a great experience. I didn’t think a lot of it in high school, but in college I feel like it’s a bigger accomplishment.”
“Spectacular game aside, spectacular career up to this point, when I think of Courtney Heinen I think of a really hard worker who puts the time in in practice at a high, high level,” KWU coach Ryan Showman said. “She goes so hard in practice, it’s no wonder the success she’s had up to this point of her career.
“It’s what nobody else sees. They see her makes shots on the floor, but it’s the behind-the-scenes stuff that’s put her in this position to be successful.”
Heinen is doing her student teaching this semester at Oakdale Elementary School by day before coming to KWU for practice each evening.
“She teaches all day, comes to practice, gives us everything she has and then goes home and works on lesson plans,” Showman said. “That’s her day. And she wakes up and does it again. It’s incredible to watch her have this kind of success with the schedule that she has.”
Showman said he had a feeling something special was about to occur beforehand.
“I saw her in warm-ups and she had this look on her face I’ve seen a few times,” he said. “I didn’t talk to her, I didn’t say anything and I think you saw the results of it.”
The game was a rout from the get-go. The Coyotes scored the first 10 points and led 25-7 after one quarter. They were up 45-22 at halftime and 76-43 after three quarters.
Mia Needles (SO/Highland Ranch, Colo.) 3-pointer 26.4 seconds remaining pushed the point total past the century mark.
There were other heroines besides Heinen. Amanda Hill (JR/Rossville, Kan.) scored 15, Kelcey Hinz (SO/Whitewater, Kan.) had 14 along with seven rebounds, three blocks, three steals and three assists, Jayme Sloan (SR/Bennington, Kan.) scored a career-best 10 points and Haleigh Bradford (SR/Schertz, Texas) had eight assists and nine points. Fifteen Coyotes played and 13 scored.
The Coyotes posted 25 assists on 36 made field goals and shot 53.7 percent for the game (36 of 67), including 16 of 31 from long range. They also won the rebounding battle 44-30 and forced 19 Saint Mary turnovers that led to 21 points.
“We talked about executing better and getting the defense moving, not settling for early shots,” Showman said. “I thought we did that a lot the first half on Wednesday (against York).
“What you saw was a very patient, methodical attack and they finished plays. When you do that you’re going to get a lot of assists.”
Saint Mary (4-21, 4-17 KCAC) shot 33.3 percent (18 of 54) and was led by Danielle Cassady’s 13 points. Macy Walker added 12.
KWU plays Southwestern on Wednesday in Winfield. The Moundbuilders (12-13, 9-11 KCAC) defeated York 80-69 on Saturday in York, Neb.