Best Ever: Judy Mosley-McAfee

Best Ever: Judy Mosley-McAfee

We’re just going to come out and say it: Judy Mosley-McAfee is the most dominant basketball player to ever wear a University of Hawaii uniform.

Oh, there may have been more athletically gifted athletes. And certainly there have been players with more flair and showmanship. But in her four seasons as a Rainbow Wahine – from 1986 to 1990 – no one was as productive as the six-foot-one forward out of Los Angeles.

The numbers speak for themselves: Mosley-McAfee is Hawaii’s all-time leader (men and women) in points (2,479) and rebounds (1,441). She also holds the women’s program career records for scoring average (21.7), rebounding average (12.6), 20-point games (71), 30-point games (19), field goals made and attempted (901/1,866), and free throws made and attempted (677/874). Her UH single-season records include points (772), scoring average (26.7), rebounds (431), rebounding average (14.4) and free throws (214).

And, yes, in case you were wondering, Mosley-McAfee also holds the school record for most points in a single game. On Feb. 20, 1989, in a Big West Conference road game against Pacific, the then-junior put up 46 in an 80-59 victory. The men’s record is 45 by Tony Davis in 1959.

Judy Mosley came to the Islands in 1986 after graduating from La Puente H.S. in Los Angeles. She chose Hawaii over Fresno State and UC Irvine. Her impact was immediate, as she averaged 16 points and 10 boards through the team’s first nine games. Honolulu Advertiser sportswriter Ann Miller noted, “Mosley, beyond anything else, is a rebounder. In the paint, she is tireless, driven, stubborn and almost always in the right place.”

Mosley-McAfee herself explained, “I’m just hungry for the ball. Wherever the ball is, I want to be there.”

On February 7 that season, the Rainbow Wahine pulled off the program’s first-ever win over a nationally ranked team, shocking No. 4 Long Beach State in overtime, 67-66. Mosley-McAfee led the way with 20 points and 19 rebounds – both game highs. For the visiting 49ers, it was their first loss in 20 contests.

Hawaii finished the 1986-87 season with a 21-7 record. For her efforts, Mosley-McAfee was named the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference “Freshman of the Year.” In addition, UH head coach Bill Nepfel was selected as the league’s “Coach of the Year.”

Nepfel left for the University of San Francisco after the season, making way for Vince Goo. For Mosley-McAfee and her teammates, even better days were ahead.

In 1989, with fellow Rainbow Wahine standouts Ayesha Brooks, Tondi Redden, Kalei Namohala and Lisa Mann, Mosley-McAfee led Hawaii to the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance. The next season, Mosley-McAfee’s senior campaign, the team returned to “The Big Dance” and posted a first-round victory over Montana.

By the time her UH career ended, Mosley-McAfee was a two-time All-American who owned no less than two dozen UH records. She became the first player to lead her team in scoring and rebounding for all four seasons of her Rainbow Wahine career, and she remains the only UH player to score more than 2,000 career points.

Despite her achievements and accolades, Mosley-McAfee always kept her humble roots. “We are a team,” she once told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin’s Randy Cadiente. “Everybody on the floor is part of the team. I couldn’t do anything if it weren’t for them.”

Mosley-McAfee was the seventh overall draft pick in the WNBA’s inaugural draft in 1997. She played one season for the Sacramento Monarchs before retiring. That same year, she was inducted into the UH Sports Circle of Honor.

Sadly, Mosley-McAfee passed away at the age of 45 on September 16, 2013 after a three-year battle with cancer. In a statement, her former coach Vince Goo remarked: “This is a sad day for the University of Hawaii ohana. Judy Mosley was the most dominating basketball player—male or female—that ever played for UH. No one has come close to equaling her records in scoring and rebounding. She was a great student who graduated in four years and was someone who was very proud to be a Rainbow Wahine. Judy was an All-American in every sense of the word and we have lost one of the school’s all-time greats.”

Mosley-McAfee was survived by her husband, Marvin McAfee, and their four children.

For more on Judy Mosley-McAfee’s life and UH career, watch this UH-produced tribute video:

Chris Gaines and Judy Mosley-McAfee share a moment in this 1990 Honolulu Advertiser photo. Sadly, both have passed away. Gaines died of a heart attack in December 2010. Mosley-McAfee died in September 2013 after a lengthy battle with cancer.

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