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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Keegan

Wagon still has room

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It seemed like a good idea to Kansas women’s basketball star Danielle McCray at the time, so she told sky-walking Aishah Sutherland, a 6-foot-2 freshman from Perris, Calif., to dunk the ball during halftime warmups Monday night in Albuquerque.

McCray’s Midas touch being what it is, Sutherland dunked it, a feat she had tried in practice but never quite achieved. It was a defining moment for Danielle and the Miracles, who have advanced to the WNIT semifinals for a 7 p.m. tipoff today in Allen Fieldhouse against Illinois State.

They are reaching heights few thought possible. Could it be they will draw a loud and proud crowd to Allen Fieldhouse tonight in the first April game in the building’s history? That’s up to you. The bandwagon has thousands upon thousands of seats left on it. It’s parked at the southeast corner of Allen Fieldhouse, otherwise known as the ticket office. Five bucks gets you a seat, meaning it’s still possible to say the words “bargain” and “Allen Fieldhouse” in the same sentence.

A little something is happening here with Bonnie Henrickson’s program. The bandwagon no longer is stuck. Junior wing McCray has driven it out of the mud with the help of a push from rapidly improving teammates. Bonnie Ball has been taken off life support. Suddenly, the future looks bright.

That halftime dunk on a 10-foot hoop, the miracle from one of the Miracles, it wouldn’t have happened a few months ago. She would have tripped on her way to the hoop, triggering a chuckle at the Jayhawks’ expense. Back then, the players looked as if they were thinking about where to be and what to do. In recent weeks, they’ve looked like fluid athletes, not statuesque thinkers. They play with so much more confidence.

If McCray is the Michael Jordan of this team, then fellow junior Sade Morris is the Scottie Pippen. Morris does it all, except dunk. That’s Sutherland’s sole domain.

When Henrickson told Sutherland dunking in warmups can draw a technical, the player said, “Oh, I didn’t know that. Danielle was telling me to dunk the ball, so I said, ‘OK, I’ll dunk it.’”

Sutherland won’t be the halftime attraction tonight. Players from the men’s team will sign autographs then.

“It’s as exciting a time as our women’s team has seen in the last several years,” men’s coach Bill Self said. “It’d be great for everybody to come out and support the team. ... If we have a good crowd and were to beat Illinois State, maybe we’d have an opportunity to host the final.”

Comments

ohjayhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

I wish I were still living in Kansas. I'd be there! Good luck ladies!

kumax77 10 years, 10 months ago

cool. An April game in Allen Fieldhouse. I live in Colorado, but will be rootin' for the lady 'hawks and lookin' for a WIN. This kind of late season run can really solidify the program for next year, too! Great work, ladies!

sevenyearhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

If Aisha Sutherland dunks during a game ...

the place will go absolutely bonkers!

karkinrich 10 years, 10 months ago

I will be there. Got to support the Lady Hawks!

sousajosh 10 years, 10 months ago

A dunk would rock the AFH's foundation!

Cody Stumma 10 years, 10 months ago

Nah, the Women's Team is getting better because I'm there to support. :D Just kidding, but its nice to not have to hear about people wanting Bonnie to go anymore and start cheering on the Ladies.

LakeShawnee 10 years, 10 months ago

I don't know what it would be like for 1,800 people to go bonkers, but I doubt it would 'rock Allen Fieldhouse's foundation."

If a member of the women's basketball team dunked the ball during a game, it would, of course, be a monumental moment for the program. As a realist, however, I fear that only around 2,000 fans would be there to experience it.

As a season ticket holder for women's basketball, I hope thousands of fans show up for tonight's game, but I just don't think the culture is there yet.

Bigslick4KU 10 years, 10 months ago

Lake, go over to the KU Scout site. There are a couple threads rolling on there and if you have been a women's bball fan for a long time, you know that doesn't happen. There will be WAY MORE than 2,000 people that tonight.

5DecadeHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Here is the message board game thread for tonight's game.

We already have internet stream links posted in the thread. Come login and post your comments if you aren't able to make it to the game:

http://boards.kusports.com/showflat.php?Cat=0&Number=1378074&an=0&page=0#1378074

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