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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Good with the bad

Off day comes at wrong time

The Kansas women’s basketball team holds up the WNIT runner-up trophy. South Florida won the title, 75-71, on Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse.

The Kansas women’s basketball team holds up the WNIT runner-up trophy. South Florida won the title, 75-71, on Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse.

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2009 WNIT championship

South Florida defeats KU in WNIT championship

The Kansas women fell to South Florida on Saturday, 75-71. Danielle McCray scored 24 points against South Florida and 147 points in this year's WNIT tournament.

Everybody has a bad day at the office now and then. Danielle McCray had one Saturday.

“It’s just frustrating,” McCray said of her sub-par shooting in Kansas University’s 75-71 loss to South Florida in the WNIT championship game.

McCray scored 24 points, but the Jayhawks’ go-to player missed 18 of 25 shots. The 5-foot-11 junior even missed a couple of free throws, also rare for her.

“I’m not begrudging Danielle,” KU coach Bonnie Henrickson said. “She’s been a monster down the stretch. We needed some other people to step up.”

McCray had been monstrous indeed during the previous three WNIT outings — hammering Arkansas for 35 points, humbling New Mexico with 32 and hurting Illinois State with 31 in Wednesday’s semifinal.

But McCray is human, after all.

“It was bound to happen, I guess,” she said. “Coming off 30, 30, 30. I’m just sad it happened tonight.”

Twice during the regular season, McCray had similar shaky shooting nights in Allen Fieldhouse. She went 7-for-24 against Texas Tech and 6-for-23 against Oklahoma. The Jayhawks lost both games.

In KU’s only other home loss prior to Saturday, McCray went 10-for-25 against Kansas State. So in the Jayhawks’ four defeats in Allen Fieldhouse, McCray shot just 31 percent. During the first four WNIT games, she shot 54 percent.

Not that South Florida didn’t play sound defense against the Jayhawks’ leading scorer. At least three of McCray’s shots were blocked, and she was hounded incessantly by the Bulls’ Jazmine Sepulveda.

“Dee was taking good shots,” teammate Ivana Catic said, “but they were physical, and I think they got her to play a little faster.”

McCray missed eight of her first nine shots and 11 of 15 in the first half.

“Danielle was a little antsy early, but give (the Bulls) credit,” Henrickson said. “I didn’t think her rhythm was very good, and she rushed shots.”

But McCray wasn’t the only one out of sync. Double posts Krysten Boogaard and Aishah Sutherland were a combined 8-of-21 and missed a handful of stick-back attempts.

“That’s as bad as we’ve shot for a long time,” Henrickson said.

Only Sade Morris was immune from brick-itis. Morris was 7-of-13 from the floor and 5-of-6 at the foul line for 19 points. Sutherland wound up with 12 and Boogaard 10, but the other Jayhawks managed only six points combined.

Despite their shooting woes, the Jayhawks were within a point with 21⁄2 minutes left when Boogaard flipped in a left-handed shot underneath to slice the Bulls’ lead to 67-66.

“We were in the game,” Morris said, “and we said, ‘All right, get a stop, go down and score, get a stop, go down and score.’”

Instead, they didn’t get stops, and they didn’t count another basket until McCray swished a meaningless three-pointer at the buzzer.

“We didn’t get enough stops,” Morris said. “That killed us.”

Adding to the Jayhawks’ postgame mental anguish was the knowledge they had failed in front of 16,113 fans — the largest crowd ever to watch a women’s basketball game in Allen Fieldhouse and, since KU’s facility is the largest in the Big 12 (16,300), also the biggest crowd ever to witness a game in a conference arena.

“If there’s anything good in this,” Catic said, “it’s that we packed the house, and even in the last two weeks that was far from realistic.”

Kansas had, in fact, drawn crowds of fewer than 2,000 for its first two WNIT games against Creighton and Arkansas. Then the Jayhawks lured 8,360 for the Illinois State game and almost doubled that Saturday.

Comments

kymock 10 years, 9 months ago

"...since KU’s facility is the largest in the Big 12 (16,300)..."

Uhh, actually Texas' Frank Erwin Center has the largest capacity in the Big 12:

"capacity for the Erwin Center has increased to 16,755 (largest in the Big 12 Conference)" Link: http://www.texassports.com/facilities/erwin-center.html

Brad Avery 10 years, 9 months ago

The big problem was not Danielle McCray's shooting problems, it was the Jayhawks couldn't guard anybody. Too many easy layups and dishes off of penetration. Kansas tried a zone for one possession; it might have helped if they had tried it long enough to force USF to adapt.

KGphoto 10 years, 9 months ago

kymock are you serious?

What a season.

Can't wait. Can't wait! For next year.

LakeShawnee 10 years, 9 months ago

And the Texas women play in the Erwin Center? I know some schools have separate facilities for men's and women's basketball. The UT women may have their own arena. It, of course, could hold less than 16,300.

KEITHMILES05 10 years, 9 months ago

Horrible coaching by BH. The entire first half USF pressed, we broke it every time but yet never ONCE did we even attempt to drive to the basket. Absolutely dumbfounding and disgusting. Second half she went to zone for one possesion and USF missed the shot so........we go back to m2m (or in this case, w2w)????????????????????????????

USF guards way too quick for KU and we paid dearly for the non-zone coverage.

Bonnie has become a disciple of former mens coach when it comes to not calling TO's. The first half got away from her and she stood on the sideline with no emotion. Silly.

Boogard (14) missed at least 200 easy chippers. I've never in my life seen such a display of ineptness. The lack of inside play on both ends was brutal to watch. KU ran the clock down first half only to have no idea how much time was on the clock as the big center refused to shoot it only to have it go out of bounds with .2 left. No way you can score and that is what happened.

How this team managed to come back is amazing. For all the bad coaching and easy, easy missed chippers to lose by only 4 is astounding.

McCray was the only offensive threat today. She had a very hard earned high point person but was hounded all the time. Of course it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out when your other guards refuse to shoot you need to closely guard the other teams best player.

USF had quicker guards, played smarter, and better coached.

No doubt some of you hardcore women BB fans won't like what I have to say but the truth hurts. Bonnie let this one slip away. It was winnable, for sure.

Cody Stumma 10 years, 9 months ago

You've already said this entire speech once before KEITHMILES05, just please shut up! Nobody is listening to you!

westernkshawk 10 years, 9 months ago

None of the girls look very happy with their trophy. Having come SO far this year, even though they wanted to win it all, they should still feel proud of happy about what they DID accomplish!

Cody Stumma 10 years, 9 months ago

Maybe it was because they had come so close... they did have South Florida on the ropes, when it was down to 1 with almost 2 to go. And then came that painful turnover 1 minute later.

They felt like they could of won on (and they could), but knew they let it slip between their fingers.

Osagehawk 10 years, 9 months ago

I have to agree that we missed many opportunities in the first half against the press. We easily could have had 3on2 and 2on1 situations if we had been agressive. You don't make pressing teams take any risks when you don't make them pay on the other end.

Also our defense played decent defense for about 25 seconds but unfortunately there is a 30 second clock. Too many breakdowns in the last 5. This has to improve next year to really be a major factor.

I also agree that we missed many chippees during the game, but most of the girls couldn't throw it in the ocean when we had good looks. That sometimes just happens. I don't know how you can blame coach H for that.

Also you have to give credit to SF for their excellent guards who really hounded McCray. I know we don't have other guards that can be a big outside threat and give her relief. I don't know how you can blame Coach H for the injury to our freshman point that could have made things considerably different.

I'm looking forward to next year when we really need to make a major move to get the women's program where it needs to be.

jayhawker_97 10 years, 9 months ago

excellent play by both teams in the WNIT closure. couldn't be prouder than being a Jayhawk for what women's team & staff have achieved. one step at a time. next season, i really believe this team is gonna get stronger and tougher - don't be surprise if we're back in the tourney! show what you got, gals!!! go Jayhawks!

Kevin Long 10 years, 9 months ago

2 is really hot! Just thought i would throw that out there.

sevenyearhawk 10 years, 9 months ago

There's no denying Kelly Kohn is a fetching lass ... but I wonder what happened to her outside shot - she had a stretch where she could really rain threes - kinda like Brady.

JBurtin 10 years, 9 months ago

Similar to the Men's team minus Cole Aldrich.

Danielle McCray is pretty much their Sherron Collins, and when the going got tough, they asked her to outplay five people. With the exception of Sade Morris, Nobody else would step up and shoot, even when they were open. She can make the drive, but when you receive the kick out, you have to be willing to shoot.

I honestly think the packed house kind of made them play nervous. They're used to being able to hear each other on the court.

On the positive side, this team has incredible potential next year.

Boogaard is only a sophomore and should continue to improve. She gives us our first real post presence that we've had in the Big Twelve. She had a bad game, but it happens to everyone.

Sutherland plays much stronger than her size inside and is only a Freshman. I think this experience will help her to take a big step up in aggressiveness.

Nicollette Smith will be a Junior, and can add some needed depth in the low post.

Sade Morris, Danielle McCray, La Chelda Jacobs, Kelly Kohn, Porscha Weddington, and Rebecca Feickert, will all be seniors next year. That's six players that will play ever game as if there is no next year.

With all of the players that I've already mentioned, simply being a year older would be enough to get them to the big dance next year. In reality, we'll get a huge upgrade in talent at the point with the graduation of Ivana Catic being replaced by the freshman phenom Angel Goodrich. Catic is a hard working player, but she's not the offensive threat that Goodrich will be. She can bring it down the floor and will take it straight to the rack. With the other team's best defender likely occupied by McCray, Goodrich should have a field day on nearly everyone we play.

I expect that we'll finally have the breakout year that I knew would eventually happen under Coach Bonnie. We'll finally be able to play and recruit with the big dogs.

pmohr13 10 years, 9 months ago

Bonnie's problem in recruiting is that she doesn't recruit Kansas. K-state has 5 or 6 Kansas girls and play 4 or 5 of them. Kansas only has 1 girl from Kansas. K-state beats us every year.

droberts1116 10 years, 9 months ago

The women's basketball program is just like Field of Dreams. "If you build it they will come". I could actually AFFORD to watch them play. They shouldn't expect big crowds like Saturday, though. Not until the NIT is considered beneath us.

Osagehawk 10 years, 9 months ago

I believe Rebecca Feickert has opted to not play her senior year. She is a very good student and I believe will graduate early. She has chosen to move on with her career.

Osagehawk 10 years, 9 months ago

You need to check your facts before you make the statement that Bonnie doesn't recruit Kansas girls. The previous staff didn't recruit Kansas girls. That is a fact. The first thing Bonnie did when she came was offer to the Kansas girls. By that time they had committed to K-State and had no interest. Some girls out west are K-State from the beginning and nothing could change that. Now Bonnie has to fight the perception players and coaches have of the KU program and try to cut into that. This will take time.

pmohr13 10 years, 9 months ago

My girlfriend is from Kansas and was getting recruited by Kansas State and MU but when asked if she walk onto KU because KU was the only one that had her chosen degree she was denied. She shot around 50% from the feild as a shooting guard. And what I've read from other posters on here is that we needed people who could shoot other than Mccray. She played on an AAU team that consistently went to nationals full of Kansas girls that would have liked to gone to KU. And the number of girls that are from the east that are KU from the beginning would be greater than the ones out west due to the number of people in the east compared to west. So please don't tell me to check anything.

kustretch 10 years, 9 months ago

So where did your girlfriend end up playing? You didn't say....perhaps she just wasn't Div one material?

pmohr13 10 years, 9 months ago

She came to KU because the school she wanted was #1 in the country. And I stated that K-state and MU offered her scholarships, where KU wouldn't even let her walk on.

pmohr13 10 years, 9 months ago

She would have gone to K-state or MU except they didn't even have the program she wanted to major in.

wewillrocku98 10 years, 8 months ago

come i went a lot of their games they weren't on their game well i hope Catic goes somewhere good.

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