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Kansas defeats Colorado, 71-45

  • 11 a.m., March 8, 2011
  • Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City, MO

Originally published March 8, 2011 at 12:56p.m., updated March 9, 2011 at 12:00a.m.

KU women top Colorado, 71-45, advance to play top-seeded Baylor on Wednesday

Kansas forward Aishah Sutherland goes to block a shot by Colorado's Chucky Jeffery in the first game of the Big 12 women's tournament in Kansas City on Tuesday. KU won the game, 71-45.

Kansas forward Aishah Sutherland goes to block a shot by Colorado's Chucky Jeffery in the first game of the Big 12 women's tournament in Kansas City on Tuesday. KU won the game, 71-45.

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— With its 71-45 pounding of Colorado in Tuesday’s opening round of the Big 12 tournament at Municipal Auditorium, the Kansas University women’s basketball team made sure there would be no warm and fuzzy farewell tour for the Buffs, who will bolt for the Pac-10 next season.

On the strength of 17 points from sophomore guard Monica Engelman and 16 more from sophomore forward Carolyn Davis, Kansas (20-11) snapped a two-game losing streak, knocked off CU for the third time this season and, most importantly, moved on to today’s second round, where a matchup with top-seeded Baylor awaits.

“(This was) a good win,” KU coach Bonnie Henrickson said. “Survive and advance in March.”

Although the KU offense was sharp throughout Tuesday’s victory — the Jayhawks shot 50 percent from the field, including 6-of-11 from three-point range — it was the defense, particularly in the second half, that decided this one. CU shot just 26 percent for the game, 29 percent in the first half and 24 percent in the second.

“I think (for) a chunk of the second half they were shooting 18 percent,” Henrickson said. “(I’m) just real proud of the defensive effort. I thought we were disruptive. I thought they struggled to get into rhythm because of our pressure.”

Tied at 14-apiece midway through the first half, the Jayhawks ripped off a 13-0 run to gain some separation heading into halftime. Three straight Kansas three-pointers (two from Engelman and one from Tania Jackson) pushed KU’s lead to 25-14, and Engelman (7-of-13 shooting) added a jumper with a toe on the line to make it 27-14 with 3:50 to play in the half. Colorado responded with an 8-2 run to close the half and then opened the second half with a 7-2 run to cut the Jayhawks’ lead to two, 31-29. All seven CU points in the second run came from senior forward Brittany Spears, who finished with a game-high 21 points and became Colorado’s all-time leading scorer.

“Oh, yeah, we thought that we (were) back in the game because we were only down by two,” said Spears of the run. “But then they went on a run and we all just panicked and went separate ways.”

From there, KU held CU scoreless for more than eight minutes — from 14:53 to 6:49 — and the Jayhawks’ pressure defense produced several steals and easy baskets during a 16-0 run that blew the game open.

“We always talk about not letting the other team come out and make a run,” Davis said. “When they came out and did that, it wasn’t what we had planned to do. And I think that it was great for us to just fight back. We didn’t let them continue to make a run. We got stops and we pushed in transition, and that’s what cut the run.”

That and the fact that several Jayhawks elevated their play while Davis sat on the bench for nearly six minutes of the second half with three fouls. Engelman took over the scoring burden. Point guard Angel Goodrich controlled the tempo. And reserve guard Keena Mays flourished during the decisive run, scoring seven points and gathering multiple loose balls. For the game, Mays finished with nine points, seven rebounds, four assists and a steal. In three games against CU this season, Mays averaged 11 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals per game.

Engelman, who also had her share of success against CU this season, averaging 14 points per game, said she was proud of her team’s ability to put the hammer down with its leading scorer on the bench.

“I’m not surprised,” Engelman said. “Gotta be prepared for situations like that. With Carolyn out, you have to find different ways (to score).”

Kansas did that Tuesday and, in doing so, flashed a little of the untapped potential that Henrickson and the Jayhawks have been waiting for all season.

“If there’s anything we’ve done consistently, it’s be inconsistent,” Henrickson said.

That makes today’s quarterfinal squabble with Baylor (28-2, No. 3 in the nation) an even scarier proposition. But it’s one the Jayhawks are looking forward to.

“It’s another opportunity,” Engelman said. “We played them in conference and we weren’t very satisfied with our performance. But I think we’re more excited. It’s the next game in the tournament, second round, so (our focus is on) trying to survive and advance.”

Comments

Steve Jacob 7 years, 5 months ago

That's a big margin of victory for an 8-9 game. I'd feel good going into the next game if it wasn't Baylor. I still can't see KU making the NCAA's without a win over Baylor.

Michael Auchard 7 years, 5 months ago

Do we need to win the tourney to get into the Dance, or is our ticket already punched here?

benward 7 years, 5 months ago

Yahweh: Option A. Jayhawks must win the Big 12 tourney or it's the WNIT again. The back-to-back losses to end the year pretty much sealed it.

Cody Stumma 7 years, 5 months ago

Actually, its quite false. At the moment, we are the 5th team out according to the Women's Bracketology (before the Colorado win), if we beat Baylor, the ticket will be punched, beat Iowa State/KSU, we seal the deal.

Cody Stumma 7 years, 5 months ago

I take that back, apparently we've been pushed further out. Gotta win the next two to have a shot again.

Michael Auchard 7 years, 5 months ago

Wow. Colorado has a player named Brittany Spears. That's chuckle-worthy.

KGphoto 7 years, 5 months ago

That's nothing. Last year they had Britney Spears AND Whitney Houston.

Dyrk Dugan 7 years, 5 months ago

we've dominated the Buffs this year.....now let's see if we can hang within 15 to the Bears. i expect though, we'll get our tail handed to us.

big12ku 7 years, 5 months ago

Okay guys reality check - KU is not making it to the NCAA tournament. They will not get past Baylor tomorrow much less win the whole thing. Talent aside Henrickson is no match for Mulkey. Heck Colorado's Lappe is more impressive than Bonnie. Bonnie is shaking in her boots right now and is preparing the team not for victory but for defeat - D.O.A. 3/9/11 11 a.m. Coward much? Feel free to prove me wrong, Coach. Oh well at least she has the WNIT or what I like to refer to as the consolidation thanks for participating tourney.

Congratulations on the win today, ladies. Good luck tomorrow. Show up tomorrow, please. If not for the fans, for yourselves. Have some pride about competing and take it to them and leave everything you have on the court. RCJH Go KU!

GoodGrief 7 years, 5 months ago

"consolidation thanks for participating tourney."

??? Maybe you mean "consolation" tourney? Either way, don't write the obituary on this women's team quite yet - anything can happen in March! I would suggest "consolidating" the negative part of your posts until (and only if) we lose.

The second paragraph of your post was great! We need dedicated fans like you to support the ladies! Now, let's unite behind our Jayhawks and cheer them on!

big12ku 7 years, 5 months ago

Goodgrief my apologies for the typo blogging from phone earlier what can I say auto correct strikes again; however, you get the point. Besides its a blog not English class. Why don't we chat again after the Baylor game. I'm curious to see if you'll be as concerned about misspellings then.

GoodGrief 7 years, 5 months ago

Thank you! (honestly) I'm impressed with your restraint in criticizing Bonnie after a big win. Now, let's cheer on the Jayhawks tomorrow and hope they pull off the big upset! Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

Cody Stumma 7 years, 5 months ago

I'm willing to pay any Band Member, Cheerleader, or player on the Women's team $20 if they clock Brittney Griner tomorrow.

courtsider 7 years, 5 months ago

It does not show on the stats sheet, but Aisha and Keena made the difference and helped get the distance after some tight minutes at the start of the second half. Go Hawks!

no_fan 7 years, 5 months ago

big12ku you don't Bonnie bash. You only write the truth about the team. You know what they say the truth hurt sometimes! Keep writing, I enjoy reading your post.

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