When the Kansas University women’s basketball team lost two of its top players to season-ending injuries within a three-week span, it became quickly apparent that the Jayhawks’ hopes of survival would depend largely on the remaining players’ ability to account for the loss of production.
It was hard to imagine, though, that so much of that contribution would come courtesy of forward Carolyn Davis, a true freshman who, until three weeks ago, hadn’t started a collegiate game.
“She’s been aggressive and she’s finished around the rim, and that’s really helped us get a little bounce inside,” said KU coach Bonnie Henrickson, whose team will take on No. 14 Texas at 1 p.m. today in Allen Fieldhouse. “And I’m a firm believer in playing through your bigs. As good of guards as we’ve had, it’s got to start inside.”
In the past three games, which include victories over Missouri and Kansas State, the freshman from Houston has averaged 14.7 points, nine rebounds and 2.3 blocks, as the Jayhawks have managed to stay afloat — some would say they’ve done much more than that — despite the loss of all-American wing Danielle McCray and standout point guard Angel Goodrich to season-ending ACL tears.
Davis proved especially vital in the Jayhawks’ near-upset of No. 3 Nebraska on Wednesday night. In 34 minutes, she scored 17 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked three shots, making big plays on multiple occasions during Kansas’ second-half comeback attempt.
“She understands what we need from her, and she’s willing to give what we need from her,” Henrickson said. “She’s finished on the move well, finished down low well, and I think she’s playing with a lot of confidence right now.”
Henrickson said she’s been pleased with how her team has responded following what figured to be a pair of devastating injuries.
“I think after Angel’s injury, our response was good with people stepping up, and I think we’ve done the same thing after Danielle went down,” Henrickson said. “They’ve gathered around each other and played for both those kids, and I think the kids have done a good job of playing confidently, attacking and playing aggressively.