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Prep star Kuehu eyes Rainbow Wahine


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POSTED: Friday, March 27, 2009

Former Punahou standout Shawna-Lei Kuehu took an unofficial visit to the University of Hawaii yesterday and met with Rainbow Wahine assistant coaches, a source close to the team said.

Kuehu, a three-time Star-Bulletin player of the year and one of the top high school girls players in state history, committed to California for the 2008-09 season but never enrolled there. She was recently released of that commitment by the Golden Bears.

In February, Kuehu told the Star-Bulletin at a Honolulu Quarterback Club meeting that she planned on enrolling at UH for the 2009-10 academic year and playing basketball there.

“;That's the plan,”; she said at the time.

The spring signing period begins April 15. UH, which went 8-23 this season in coach Jim Bolla's fifth year, suffered the most losses in team history but has three scholarships to offer.

If Kuehu signed with the team, it would mean a huge boost for a reeling program.

Bolla has been on a paid leave of absence since Feb. 13. The outcome of an investigation — in which he is alleged to have kicked a player in a fall practice — is pending, and Bolla hasn't had contact with the team's players or recruits. Top assistant Pat Charity has assumed duties as head coach while Bolla is away. That included coaching the final nine games of the season.

The 5-foot-10 Kuehu suffered an ACL injury in December 2006, her junior year with the Buffanblu, but gradually recovered as a senior to average 15.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.7 blocks and 2.6 steals per game.

In the state final that year against 'Iolani, Kuehu exploded for 20 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks to secure Punahou's third championship in her four years.

Kuehu's twin sister, Shaena-Lyn, was a big part of the Idaho women's basketball team this season as a freshman; she started 18 games, averaged 10 ppg and 5.3 rpg and was named to the Western Athletic Conference all-freshman team. If Shawna-Lei plays for the Rainbow Wahine, the sisters are guaranteed at least two matchups per year — home and home — as WAC opponents.