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Thursday, April 2, 2009

’Hawks fly past Redbirds to WNIT final

Students help provide fifth-largest turnout

Jaimes Naismith Court had never hosted an April college basketball game before Wednesday night.

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KU-Illinois State

Sade Morris and her teammates looked outside more than an hour before game time and saw people lined up at the Allen Fieldhouse ticket windows.

“We’d never seen that before,” said Morris, a Kansas University junior basketball player. “We were excited.”

KU officials had been expecting a crowd of around 3,500 for Wednesday night’s WNIT semifinal against Illinois State.

Instead, an announced throng of 8,360 showed up — the fifth largest women’s basketball attendance in school history — and they provided enough of a boost to help the Jayhawks hold off the Redbirds, 75-72, and advance to Saturday’s championship game.

“I was completely shocked,” Morris said when she heard the crowd count. “And, oh my god, the students came. We were thrilled.”

Even though students are admitted free to all KU women’s basketball games with a valid ID, they usually stay away in droves. Not Wednesday night. Students nearly packed the lower level of each end zone.

The Jayhawks needed all the vocal support they could get as the Redbirds shaved the Jayhawks’ 17-point early second half lead to just two points with 3 1/2 minutes remaining.

Kansas (22-13) held on by making free throws down the stretch, notably 7-of-8 by sophomore Nicollette Smith with less than a minute remaining.

Kansas will meet South Florida for the WNIT title at 1 p.m. Saturday in Allen Fieldhouse.

Tickets for that game are available at kuathletics.com or by calling 864-3141. The prices are $10 for adults and $8 for youth. Students again will be admitted free with their ID.

Comments

sevenyearhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

I would like to tip my hardhat to the North student section ...

you all were ROCKIN' last night!

One more game folks, one more game ...

Ryan Wood 10 years, 10 months ago

The crowd gives me a glimmer of hope regarding KU's bandwagon fan base. The crowds for women's basketball games have been terrible for as long as women have played basketball at KU, and I was beginning to think that KU fans were too stuck up to ever come around. I'm glad they're proving me wrong a little bit.

FlaHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

I am very proud of the late season sussess that KU WMBB had had. Love the crowd growth at AFH.

Before we get too excited we need to remind ourselfs that WNIT is a losers tournament. Case in point USF lost in first round of Big Eastt post-season tourney and is a second division Big East team. WIth the exception of UNM game all post season were in friendly AFH.

THe quality of the teams is not any better that pre Big XII scedule.

Nonelessless, winning and closing the season out on a high note, will help the players get ready for next year.

Still am singularly unimpressed with COach Bonnie. She still isn;t winning in Big XII or NCAAs. Nothing else matters as I said earlier WNIT is for losers. It is nice to be a winner against losers but better to compete and even lose against winners in my book (NCAA).

RockChalkJayBlog 10 years, 10 months ago

Wow, way to put down the team FlaHawk...

I'm guessing you're in Florida and are a bandwagon KU fan...

The Big 12 is the top RPI conference in the country two years running and KU just barely missed the NCAAs this year. They were the first or second team out.

K-State used the WNIT as a stepping stone a few years ago and now they're making the tournament every year.

This team returns every key player next season and they add Angel Goodrich, who was supposed to help out at point guard this year, something they lacked in years' past.

It's not a surprise that since Ivana Catic has stepped up, this team has played better.

Cody Stumma 10 years, 10 months ago

She isn't winning in the Big XII?

Then obviously you missed the last few weeks of confence play when they won their last 5-7 games (Lost to Iowa State at Iowa and against Oklahoma at OKC).

They have the potential to have a winning record next year in confrence play. And if KU would of just beaten Iowa State again or upset Oklahoma in the Big 12 Tournament, KU would of been in. And as RockChalkJayblog said, look at K-State.

The team is finally getting better (a little late, but as they said... better late than never). So, come to the game on Saturday and root them on... and hopefully result in hanging a WNIT banner and get ready to have a great season next year.

Brad Avery 10 years, 10 months ago

Aishah Sutherland,

Stop jogging back on defense. Sprint! Stop pretending how you play defense doesn't matter or that no one notices. It does and they do. The jersey says "Kansas" on the front not "YMCA." I don't care whether you can jump with your elbow above the rim or score 20 points a game. You're giving up as many points as you score because you don't get back and you don't provide help in the post. Stop playing as if you're a freshman in high school. Play up to your potential. A national championship may be at stake.

JD Chavez 10 years, 9 months ago

FLAHAWK- Your post really shows your ignorance and lack of knowledge of the Big12 and Basketball in general. I would suggest taking the hawk off of your name and worry about your schools in FL.

Omegatron 10 years, 9 months ago

Oh my god! I had to do a double take.

They finally gave the women some love on the front page next game blue box.

I've finally seen it all, I can die now.

kuhawksr1 10 years, 9 months ago

I have been walking into AFH for over 30 years (including time as a student) but never for a Women's game until last night. I'm one of the walk ups. Brought my wife and our two kids from KC and really enjoyed it. Late in the game, however, I thought I was watching the men cough up a big lead as they did throughout the season. Must just be a KU trait. College ball is a lot of 'clear out the lane and let em take it one-on-one to the basket' and in the first half, KU didn't have an answer. When IS returned to it late in the game, KU still didn't have an answer other than fouling. That strategy with a few threes mixed in and some misses on the KU end made it much closer than it should have been.

Great atmosphere and you could tell the team really enjoyed and appreciated it. I'm glad the turnout surpassed expectations. Now to my rant ...

Why did ticket prices for the WNIT championship jump by 67% for adults and 60% for kids? I realize they're still cheap, don't misunderstand, but what the heck kind of signal is 'the establishment' sending? That is outrageous. Stick folks because the game is on a weekend?? Since you got 8K plus in on a Wednesday night you can up pricing for Saturday, run the risk of having fewer show up and still make more $s? Perhaps another example of how this is more about money than it is putting butts in the seats.

Omegatron 10 years, 9 months ago

"Why did ticket prices for the WNIT championship jump by 67% for adults and 60% for kids? I realize they're still cheap, don't misunderstand, but what the heck kind of signal is 'the establishment' sending? That is outrageous. Stick folks because the game is on a weekend?? Since you got 8K plus in on a Wednesday night you can up pricing for Saturday, run the risk of having fewer show up and still make more $s? Perhaps another example of how this is more about money than it is putting butts in the seats."

I see the logic in it. It's the WNIT Final. The championship games are always more expensive then the rest of the tournament games.

Plus, unlike all the previous games, This one will be on TV. So there's no guarantee that as many will show up for the game.

oldrocker 10 years, 9 months ago

Speaking of losers...FlaHawk - go play in the street.

sevenyearhawk 10 years, 9 months ago

The WNIT committee sets the prices ... not the KU Athletic Department.

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