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Kansas defeats Nebraska, 57-49

  • 6:30 p.m., March 18, 2012
  • Little Rock, Ark.,

Originally published March 18, 2012 at 09:25p.m., updated March 19, 2012 at 12:54a.m.

Kansas women knock off Nebraska in first round

Kansas’ Angel Goodrich (3) passes the ball around Nebraska’s Jordan Hooper during the second half. KU won its NCAA Tournament opener, 57-49, on Sunday in Little Rock, Ark.

Kansas’ Angel Goodrich (3) passes the ball around Nebraska’s Jordan Hooper during the second half. KU won its NCAA Tournament opener, 57-49, on Sunday in Little Rock, Ark.

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— Having spent plenty of time the past few days watching both men’s and women’s NCAA Tournament games, Kansas University’s women’s basketball team couldn’t ignore an obvious trend.

Junior forward Carolyn Davis, out for the season because of an ACL tear, pointed out to her Jayhawks teammates prior to their Sunday night first-round game against Nebraska that this is the time of year for unsung heroes.

That was the case for KU, too, as freshman forward Chelsea Gardner’s career night helped the Jayhawks upset the Huskers, 57-49, in their first tournament appearance in 12 years.

Gardner, a 6-foot-3 freshman forward thrust into the starting lineup after Davis’ injury, finished with 15 points and 16 rebounds — both career highs. Her impact wasn’t lost on KU coach Bonnie Henrickson, who related Davis’ remarks about the postseason being a chance for players to take their games to uncharted territory.

“Somebody else comes in and steps in and is a big contributor and helps the team win,” the eighth-year KU coach said following KU’s first NCAA win in her tenure.

Much of Gardner’s success came by crashing the offensive glass, where she collected eight of her boards, and Henrickson said many of those were set up by junior point guard Angel Goodrich’s ability to drive to the paint and draw away potential defensive rebounders. With Gardner leading the way, KU (20-12) out-scored Nebraska, 19-9, on second-chance points and 40-28 in the paint.

Said the De Soto, Texas, native after going 6-for-8 from the floor and 3-for-7 at the foul line in her eighth start of the season: “I didn’t buy real estate, but Bonnie told me I might have a chance tonight to just work hard under the basket and get open shots.”

Her play became crucial for Kansas once senior forward Aishah Sutherland got in foul trouble in the first half and ended up playing only 20 minutes and finishing with eight points and five boards.

“I just came out and was excited about this game,” Gardner said. “I just felt like I needed to step up more.”

Henrickson said the Jayhawks ended up running plays for Gardner, which they used to have reserved for Davis. Gardner said the injured Davis provides her with tips every chance she gets, and that proved immensely helpful against No. 6 seed Nebraska (24-9).

Goodrich, as she has become accustomed to doing, played for 39 minutes in her NCAA debut and scored 20 points to go with five assists and five rebounds. The Huskers, who never led, couldn’t keep her out of the paint, and Goodrich’s floaters and layups helped KU lead by as many as 10 points.

“It was just about being aggressive,” the junior point guard said.

The Jayhawks led by just four with less than four minutes remaining when a Goodrich miss was gathered by Gardner for two of her second-chance points. Next, CeCe Harper drove in for a layup to put KU up 48-42 with 3:13 left. The following Kansas basket came on a steal and layin by freshman guard Natalie Knight, and the Jayhawks extended their advantage to 52-44 on an up-and-under move by Sutherland in the paint with 1:44 to go.

Nebraska cut the lead to five with just more than a minute remaining, and NU guard Lindsey Moore was headed for a layin when she lost the ball off her knee, turning it over to Kansas. On the ensuing KU possession, Nebraska elected not to foul, and Goodrich scored inside off a pass from Knight, putting the Jayhawks ahead 54-47.

Goodrich then secured a defensive board on the other end following a Moore miss. She drew a foul and sank two free throws with 32 seconds remaining to seal the program’s first NCAA Tournament win since 1999.

Nebraska’s three-point shooting had been an enormous concern for the Jayhawks entering the match-up with their former Big 12 opponent, but the Huskers went just 1-for-19 from downtown, dooming their chances of advancing to the second round.

Said Nebraska coach Connie Yori: “We lost the game on our offensive end.”

Goodrich said the Jayhawks did all they could to contribute to Nebraska’s off shooting night.

“That’s what we were going into this game focusing on —getting back, finding match-ups and at least contesting the shot,” Goodrich said.

Henrickson said Nebraska had a few good looks in rhythm, but many of them were rushed. And given the way things turned out, she didn’t mind taking a light-hearted approach to what the KU defense had to do with the dismal shooting.

“I’m mad they got off 19, to be honest with you,” she said with a smirk.

The Huskers made just 20 of their 61 field-goal attempts, while KU went 25-for-66 from the floor. The victory was far from pretty, but the Jayhawks’ stay in Little Rock will continue a couple more days as they prepare to face No. 3 seed Delaware (31-1), which beat Arkansas-Little Rock, 73-42 Sunday.

KU-Delaware will tip off at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Comments

nwhawkfan 2 years, 1 month ago

Better double down on Delle Donne...at 28 ppg, she could be the best player in the country not named Britney Griner.

And let's not duplicate the sorry fate of K-State. UConn beat them 72-26. Yowzah !!

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AFAN 2 years, 1 month ago

CONGRATULATIONS LADIES!!!! Now let's go and beat Delaware. Remember to play as a team, push the ball and play hard defense.

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jhawkrulz 2 years, 1 month ago

No second article, givng us a update of who stepped up, what the next game will mean. I expected something today and something tomorrow.

Kind of disappointing that there wasn't some type of article today.

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justiceseeker2011 2 years, 1 month ago

GGRRRRRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTT job ladies. Way to stick it out. Bonnie is a good coach with tough breaks. She deserves this opportunity to prove how capable she really is. ROCK CHALK.

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Tony Bandle 2 years, 1 month ago

Careful, Bonnie...at this rate people are going to actually start to like you and want you to stay.... :)

All kidding aside, congratulations to the team and the coaching staff for turning this season, filled with lots of lemons, into a pitcher of ice cold sweet lemonade!!

The Jayhawks and LadyHawks both still playing....it's a great day to be a [to all you sensitive, proper-name posters] University of Kansas Alumni!!!!

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KGphoto 2 years, 1 month ago

Rock Chalk ladies!

This is gonna be a helluva test in Little Rock, and it's very cool that we have an opportunity to play against my favorite student athlete. Elena Delle Donne is a machine, possessing every offensive weapon imaginable. In case you missed it, here is a great Outside The Lines on her.

As good as she is on the court (cliche, I know) she's even better off it. I hope we can find a way to win, but if we don't I'll be rooting for Delaware the rest of the way.

Any coverage of the game we can link up to?

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MorganR 2 years, 1 month ago

Wonderful game! Beating a good team like Nebraska should give you the confidence you can win any game! Rock Chalk!

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actorman 2 years, 1 month ago

What a great night to be a Jayhawk! Congrats, ladies, and good luck against the Blue Hens. (That's the Delaware mascot, right?)

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jayhawker_97 2 years, 1 month ago

great accomplishment ladies! we're very proud of you & the coaching staff! you've proven that you deserved serious attention! let's bust those brackets!

rock chalk!!!!!!

p/s: dear kusports.com, would you mind telling KU AD to spend a bit of their wealth to post each highlight of KU women's bball game? thx!

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Kman_blue 2 years, 1 month ago

Outstanding game by the women Jayhawks tonight! I just watched it on my DVR and it was impressive! Let's keep it going!

Rock Chalk Jayhawk! Beat Delaware!

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JayHawkFanToo 2 years, 1 month ago

Congrats Lady Hawks! You played with class under difficult circumstances and adversity. Keep it up... the Jay-hawk Nation is behind you.

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Nathan Scholl 2 years, 1 month ago

Not a big fan of women's basketball, but extremely proud of the Lady Jayhawks for outlasting a good lady Cornhuskers team! Rock Chalk ladies! Keep it up!!! Let's go Henrickson! Always rooted for you, you are a great coach! Take us all the way Angel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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like_n_Lawrence 2 years, 1 month ago

Amazing game ladies. Angel was phenomenal. Bunny did well in there, Asia, and way to go Chelsea. Thanks for a great game to watch! The men scared the #%*!? out of us!

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JHK71 2 years, 1 month ago

Congratulations! Great job, Jayhawks! Best wishes for a win on Tuesday.

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kupride4u 2 years, 1 month ago

Well if Bonnie didn't save her job by simply making the tournament, I'd say tonight secures her for another year!

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jayhawkinmullen 2 years, 1 month ago

Night job ladies proud of you!!!

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Jordan Gumm 2 years, 1 month ago

Watched the entire game and apparently missed the worst section of the men's game. Thank you ladies! Two KU wins in 5 hours. Woot Woot! Also, Angel Goodrich is amazing.

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Cody Stumma 2 years, 1 month ago

Way to go Hawks!

Now... let's break some more Women's Brackets on Saturday! Beat Delaware!

(Game starts at 8:40 pm central time on Tuesday)

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Kyle Coffey 2 years, 1 month ago

Watched this game quite a bit to distract me from men's game. Goodrich is a player. Good tall post players and solid defense. Can possibly challenge Delaware for 30 of 40 min. EDD is too good.

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gchawk 2 years, 1 month ago

Congrats ladies, very proud of you. Job well done! Rock Chalk

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MinnesotaJay 2 years, 1 month ago

Congratulations, ladies! Well done, well deserved!

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sundancewierdo 2 years, 1 month ago

Way to go ladies!!! Rock Chalk!!!

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Ben Kane 2 years, 1 month ago

way to go hawks! disagree with all the fire bonnie people, this team has been injuries away from being very good many times. here's to being that low seed with nothing to lose, go get 'em ladies!

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sevenyearhawk 2 years, 1 month ago

Take THAT you traitorous Bugeaters!!!

First NCAA tourney win for the ladies since defeating Marquette 64-58 in 1999

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ahpersecoachingexperience 2 years, 1 month ago

If I wake up tomorrow with my head sewn to the floor...

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Rick Aldrich 2 years, 1 month ago

Shouldn't this be front page HOME news. Had to dig to find the lady hawks game results.

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