Jayhawks big fans of women’s team, too

Friday, March 23, 2012

— If Kansas University’s basketball team wins tonight against North Carolina State in the Edward Jones Dome, it will spend the entire weekend in St. Louis. But for two hours Saturday, the players’ hearts will be in Des Moines, Iowa, rooting for their female counterparts, Angel and the Miracles.

Angel Goodrich, the KU women’s basketball team’s 5-foot-4 junior point guard, led the 11th-seeded Jayhawks into the Sweet 16 with a pair of upsets. She scored 20 points in the Nebraska game and 27 points in the shocker against Delaware.

“Our girls are playing good right now,” junior power forward Thomas Robinson said. “They’re playing with a lot of confidence, and that’s all you need at this time of year.”

Asked for his thoughts on Goodrich, Robinson said, “I’ve been thinking (for a long time), ‘Angel’s amazing, man.’ She’s good. She’s a great player.”

Point guard Tyshawn Taylor has nearly a foot on Goodrich, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t learn from her.

“Love Angel’s game,” Taylor said. “Love Angel’s game, man. Every time I watch her, I take some stuff out of her game. She’s got look-away passes. She’s nice, real nice, man. I’ve been watching her for three years now, and I’m impressed. I’m really impressed with her game.”

Junior guard Elijah Johnson used the same word as Taylor to describe Goodrich’s game.

“I think Angel’s nice, honestly,” Johnson said. “I said that when I first got here. We were in the gym my first day on campus. We were in the gym shooting, and I was watching her, and I always thought she was nice. She went through some injuries, and she stuck it out.

“I think she could play with us. If she needed to come practice with us, I think she could do it. I’m not blowing smoke. I honestly think she can come practice with us. She’s tough. I like her.”

Junior Travis Releford watched the Delaware game in his room, and he laughed when asked if any particular player had impressed him.

“Of course, I mean, Angel,” Releford said. “Everybody would say that. She stole the show. And getting a win on top of it was great.”

Center Jeff Withey watched the game and said he wished their busy schedules allowed for catching more of the women’s games.

“Angel was great against Delaware,” Withey said. “Stealing the ball, passing. Aishah (Sutherland, the team’s lone senior) also played awesome. They’ve been struck by injuries all season. For them to still be able to win games like they are, it just shows how tough they are. ... They have such a young team. It just shows how good they are going to be in the future.”

Goodrich scores buckets on drives to the hoop against far taller players. Could she score on the 7-foot Withey?

“I don’t know,” Withey said. “She’s awfully good, but I pride myself on blocking shots, so I don’t know.”

The women tip off against perennial powerhouse Tennessee at 11 a.m. Saturday on ESPN.