When the Kansas University women’s basketball team knocked off Iowa State in a double-overtime thriller on Jan. 11 at Allen Fieldhouse, junior forward Carolyn Davis played 32 minutes, scored 21 points, grabbed four rebounds and dished three assists.
During that same game, KU freshman Chelsea Gardner logged eight minutes, one rebound and one turnover.
With Davis now sidelined for the rest of the season and the Jayhawks and Cyclones slated for a rematch at 7 tonight in Ames, Iowa, Gardner knows exactly what she’s facing as she prepares to make the first start of her college career.
“I’ve got some big shoes that I need to fit into,” said the 6-foot-3 forward from DeSoto, Texas. “And I just feel that I need to practice harder and come out and work hard in the games.”
KU coach Bonnie Henrickson said Monday that she would not ask Gardner to become Davis. Putting that much responsibility on a true freshman is simply too much to ask. After all, it was Davis who dominated the two overtime periods against the Cyclones in the first meeting, scoring 12 of her 21 points in the extra frames and playing all but a few seconds while going 3-for-5 from the floor and 6-for-7 from the free-throw line to seal the victory.
“She’s not gonna get the touches and the shots that Carolyn had,” said Henrickson of Gardner. “But it’s not like we’ll throw all of that out. I know her teammates have confidence in her, and I would think that would give her confidence in herself.”
While Gardner will slide into Davis’ spot in the starting lineup, several other Jayhawks will be asked to pick up the slack for their fallen leading scorer. With Davis’ 17.5 points and 60 percent shooting out of the lineup, Henrickson said she was anticipating a drop-off in her team’s efficiency on the offensive end. She has a plan to combat that.
“We’ll have to defend better,” Henrickson said. “When you lose someone who’s able to score like that, you don’t have as much wiggle room. But the defensive end, we can control that.”
That will be particularly important tonight against Iowa State’s dangerous trio of post players, Hallie Christofferson, Chelsea Poppens and Anna Prins, who combined average 33 points and 21 rebounds per game.
“Every freshman post I’ve ever taken up there, (ISU coach) Bill Fennelly has flare-screened the fool out of them and jacked up threes all night on us,” Henrickson said. “I do know that about them. Poor Carolyn just got picked on her freshman year up there, so we’ll anticipate the same thing this time.”
Although the Jayhawks lead the all-time series, 44-27, the two have split their season series in three of the past four years, and KU has not won in Ames since 2006. The Cyclones have won three straight at home and are 10-2 at Hilton Coliseum this season. They had a three-game winning streak snapped last weekend at Texas Tech, when they fell to the Red Raiders, 51-41.
“They’ve played really well since they were here,” Henrickson said. “They’re a team on a run right now.”
Three Jayhawks named Academic All-Big 12
Junior point guard Angel Goodrich and sophomore forward Tania Jackson earned first-team Academic All-Big 12 honors, the league announced Tuesday. Goodrich and Jackson were two of the 30 members on the first team who own a grade-point average of 3.2 or better.
Junior forward Carolyn Davis earned a spot on the second team, which consists of 16 players who maintain a GPA of 3.0-3.19