Friday, October 16, 2009

Kansas women aim for NCAA Tourney

McCray-led Jayhawks made WNIT run last season


Those who believe Kansas University’s women’s basketball program turned the corner last season may be correct.

Led by junior Danielle McCray, the Jayhawks fashioned a 22-14 record — KU’s best in a decade — that concluded with a loss to South Florida in the WNIT championship game in front of a Big 12-record 16,113 fans in Allen Fieldhouse.

But if the corner was indeed turned, then there is still a roadblock ahead.

Last year’s euphoric season can’t mask the fact KU hasn’t qualified for the NCAA Tournament in a decade, or that the 1999-2000 season is also the last time Kansas finished in the upper division of Big 12 Conference standings.

Coach Bonnie Henrickson has basically the same cast as last year with one exception.

Kansas didn’t have a natural point guard last season, but Henrickson believes she has one now in Angel Goodrich, a smallish (5-foot-4) native of Oklahoma who possesses instinctive point-guard skills.

Henrickson had hoped to have Goodrich last season, but a preseason ACL injury wiped out that possibility. Goodrich sat out the entire year as a medical red-shirt, but has been pronounced good to go.

Still, the focal point of this KU team will be McCray, the 5-11 senior from Olathe who has already been tapped preseason player of the year by Big 12 coaches.

There isn’t much McCray can’t do on a basketball floor. She can’t play one-against-five, though. She’ll need help, particularly in point production.

Only McCray and Sade Morris, also a senior, averaged in double-figure scoring last year. Henrickson will also be looking for improvement from 6-5 junior center Krysten Boogaard, who averaged 9.0 points and 5.5 rebounds during an inconsistent sophomore season.

Junior Nicollette Smith, whose shooting tailed off in the second semester, is the other returning starter. When she’s on, she’s the Jayhawks’ second-best three-point shooter after McCray.

Quite likely, the Jayhawks will open with the same lineup Henrickson had hoped to use last season — Goodrich at point, McCray and Morris on the wings, and Smith and Boogaard in the double post.

Nevertheless, sophomore Aishah Sutherland, who developed into KU’s most productive bench player during the second semester, might be ready to challenge for a starting job.

Another possibility is Tania Jackson, a 6-3 forward who missed her senior season at Lawrence High because of a torn ACL. Also in the picture are a pair of unrelated Houston prep products — 6-3 Carolyn Davis and 6-1 Annette Davis.

Henrickson’s other new faces are guards — 5-10 Monica Engleman, a freshman from San Antonio, and a pair of junior college transfers in 5-9 Marisha Brown and 5-8 Rhea Codio.

Engleman and Brown are probably more suited to playing on the wing while Codo is listed as a point guard.


phogthedog 10 years, 7 months ago

Can't wait to finally see Angel on the court. Don't let Angel scrimmage at late night :) Keep her healthy! RCJHGKU!

Waylon Cook 10 years, 7 months ago

shes so good! You will have a neck ache afterwards cause your head will need to be on a swivel!;)

FlaHawk 10 years, 7 months ago

Angel must score in double figures to give this team enough punch to improve record. Ashah need to score 5 more points and rebounds a game and then the NCAA's and a 1st division Big XII finish would become reality.

If COach Bonnie can not due it thisyear, she never will (IMHO)!.

MinnesotaJay 10 years, 7 months ago

It's gonna be fun! More experience, more talent, and better depth spells an exciting product on the scoreboard.

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