Sunday, April 5, 2009

Jayhawks draw a packed house

Record crowd cheers on team in loss

A crowd of more than 16,000 basketball fans watch the women’s Kansas University basketball team prepare to take on the South Florida bulls in the WNIT championship game Saturday in Allen Fieldhouse. The crowd was the largest ever to watch a KU women’s game in the fieldhouse.

A crowd of more than 16,000 basketball fans watch the women’s Kansas University basketball team prepare to take on the South Florida bulls in the WNIT championship game Saturday in Allen Fieldhouse. The crowd was the largest ever to watch a KU women’s game in the fieldhouse.


Audio clips

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.

It might have been a different basketball team in a different tournament from what most Jayhawk fans were accustomed to cheering for this time of year. But that didn’t stop a huge crowd from pouring into Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon to watch Kansas University play the University of South Florida in the championship game of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.

“This is such a basketball-crazy town. So if anyone is going to be playing basketball in Allen Fieldhouse in April, people are going to come,” said KU junior Todd Brown, who was sitting just a few seats below the rafters.

And come they did. A total of 16,113 fans piled into Allen Fieldhouse, setting a record for both attendance at a KU women’s basketball home game and single-game attendance for the women’s Big 12 Conference.

The crowd had all the trappings of a men’s basketball game with giant cardboard cutouts of the players’ heads, a boisterous student section that turned newspaper into confetti during starting lineup intros and cheering that tipped into the triple-digit decibel range.

“It’s amazing, I would have never thought it could be this packed for a women’s game,” said Lexi Smith, a guard on Free State High School’s basketball team. “I thought it was cool for the women to be in the WNIT let alone the championship game.”

For Alicia Elliott, Saturday was her first time at a KU women’s game. She brought her family from Topeka.

“I thought it was exciting and I wanted to come out and support them,” she said.

It definitely wasn’t Diana Huseby’s first time. Fifteen years ago, she would bring her children to the women’s games when they played on Saturday mornings. For the championship game, she had her four granddaughters and niece, who had decorated signs.

“I played basketball when I was a girl and I think they are as amazing as the guys,” she said.

Before the game, Carrie Mayhew was in the east lobby pointing out pictures from her days on KU’s Track and Field team in the early 1970s. She’s a die-hard men’s basketball fan, but said it was nice to see the women’s team in the spotlight.

“It’s the women’s turn. They never get that much attention,” she said.

The fans left Allen Fieldhouse disappointed with the Jayhawks’ 75-71 loss to the Bulls. Waiting to greet the players after their defeat was 17-year-old Emma Kruger, a forward for Eudora High School’s basketball team. She started following the team she describes as “like a second family” four years ago. This season she’s missed just one home game.

“This has never happened in the school’s history. This was a great accomplishment,” Kruger said. “Hopefully, next year they can just build on it.”


jayhawkinATL 12 years, 7 months ago

That is awesome!!! Way to show support for the Lady Jayhawks.

esteshawk 12 years, 7 months ago

It's always nice to see a photo of a packed Fieldhouse. Way to go for everyone who showed up yesterday to show support.

KEITHMILES05 12 years, 7 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.

mbmerriman 12 years, 7 months ago

who cares KEITH

obviously youre still recoving from the mens loss and decided to come on here and bitch to take youre mind of michigan st. loss. cleary this was the first game you have seen all year. mccray didnt even score the most points for KU, sade morris did so that is another weapon. Bonnie demonstrated this year that she can coach, there is very little talent on this team but she still managed to get this team on a huge streak.

JayhawkJazz 12 years, 7 months ago

Sorry mbmerriman, but I was at the game too (BTW - it was not the first one I attended this year) and would have to completely concur with the comments from KEITH. These opportunities don't come often and unfortunately the ladies gave this one away!

MinnesotaJay 12 years, 7 months ago

Keith has posted the same tripe on three separate threads now. He obviously doesn't know what he's talking about, but more power to him. He doesn't let that deter him.

MinnesotaJay 12 years, 7 months ago

JayhawkJazz, you're right, and the ladies themselves are saying just what you're saying. They did perform below both their recent level of execution and their own expectations. But, the very fact that they did miss so many open, and in many cases, easy shots, in and of itself, proves that Bonnie's coaching was not to blame. Had it been, they wouldn't have had all the open looks and 'easy chippers' as moron boy calls them.

To conclude that Bonnie did a poor job of coaching would be no different than accusing Roy Williams of doing a poor job of coaching the men's team in their loss to Syracuse, when he himself could probably have hit better than 12 of 30 free throws.

jayhawk2062 12 years, 7 months ago

The atmosphere at the game on Saturday was electic. The fans need to give themselves a HUGE pat on the back for all that they did. It felt like a big-time men's game in there. The crowd was hanging on every basket.

However, KEITH does bring up a good point. The margin for error with this program is slim to none and being down double digits at home in front of probably 12,000 or more first timers to the game is an opportunity lost.

I will add that while the coaching adjustments are valid that were spoken about earlier on here......the main point of the game was that it was EXCITING. It was ENTERTAINING....and even though it was a loss everyone that got a free ticket, or paid for their cheap ticket to get in GOT THEIR MONIES WORTH!!!!

Congratulations ladies....this is something you can build on.

Tom Shelton 12 years, 7 months ago

Obviously, Keith is a very negative person. Also, he would be a poor coach, Go Ladies, next year will be fun !!!!!

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