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Monday, March 18, 2013

KU women earn No. 12 seed in NCAA Tournament

Members of the Kansas women's basketball team celebrate as they learn their fate in the 2013 NCAA Women's Tournament Monday evening at Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks earned the 12th seed in the Norfolk region and will play fifth seeded Colorado at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Members of the Kansas women's basketball team celebrate as they learn their fate in the 2013 NCAA Women's Tournament Monday evening at Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks earned the 12th seed in the Norfolk region and will play fifth seeded Colorado at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.

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When the Kansas University women’s basketball team bowed out of the 2012 NCAA Tournament after an impressive battle against perennial power Tennessee in the Sweet 16, the talk shifted to recreating the magic in 2013.

It may not have been what the 18-13 Jayhawks expected when this season began, but Monday certainly had that feeling of déjà vu as Kansas, for the second year in a row, learned that it had made the tournament as a double-digit seed.

“The drama of it (was) similar to last year,” said KU coach Bonnie Henrickson, whose Jayhawks earned the No. 12 seed in the Norfolk region and will play fifth-seeded and 19th-ranked Colorado at 5:30 p.m. Saturday in Boulder, Colo. “It feels a little different, but it’s a clean slate and let’s go.”

Although there was some doubt about whether the Jayhawks would be included in this year’s field, Henrickson said she believed her team, which finished 8-10 in conference play, got in because of the Big 12’s powerhouse reputation.

“We did, West Virginia did and then all the other seedings (were) based on the strength of the Big 12,” Henrickson said. “We talk about how important that is and we want to build on the challenge and competitiveness of the league once we get into postseason.”

The Jayhawks did exactly that in 2012. As an 11 seed and one of the last teams in, Kansas won back-to-back games against sixth-seeded Nebraska and third-seeded Delaware before falling to second-seeded Tennessee. Henrickson said she would not talk much about last year’s run but would emphasize what made it happen.

“History doesn’t have any impact on success in the future,” she said. “If we do anything, we’ll embrace how hungry we were, how excited we were, how much energy we played with and, defensively, how good we were.”

One of the true feel-good story lines of the Jayhawks’ inclusion in this year’s field is the fact that senior Carolyn Davis will finally get her shot to play in the Big Dance. Out with a knee injury during last year’s run, the emotions from that heartbreak came rushing back as soon as Davis heard Kansas announced on the ESPN broadcast, 21 minutes after the selection show began.

“I was sweating a lot,” Davis said. “I was nervous, my heart was racing and I was just really excited to see our name. I had a lot of emotions. Just to know that you’ve worked so hard for this, and this is what I’ve wanted since my freshman year.”

Asked if she expected the tears to flow on Monday, Davis was honest.

“Either way I was probably gonna cry,” she said.

Although the Jayhawks did not cruise into the field as many expected they would, the mere fact that they got in was enough to put the memories of a rough season behind them.

Senior point guard Angel Goodrich, who carried the Jayhawks during last year’s postseason run, said hearing KU’s name called also lifted a weight off of her shoulders. In addition, she said she was thrilled to go into battle beside Davis and fellow senior Monica Engelman this time around.

“I’m just looking to go out there and play my game, whatever I have to do to help us get a win,” Goodrich said. “We have three good senior leaders who can go out there and help us, and I feel like I don’t have it all on my shoulders now.”

As for the first-round opponent, that, too, is similar to last year, when KU faced former Big 12 foe Nebraska in the first round in Little Rock, Ark. The Jayhawks know a little about Colorado (25-6), which left the Big 12 for the Pac-12 in 2011, and are looking forward to learning more. Asked about their memories of playing at Coors Event Center in Boulder, Davis and Goodrich both pointed to the high altitude.

“We were kind of laughing about the last time we were there and someone mentioned electrolytes and stuff like that,” Goodrich said. “But it’s a tough place to play and it’s going to be a challenge.”

Added Davis: “I was tired.”

Monday was a long, nerve-wracking day for everyone involved with the KU program. At the end of the day, though, the Jayhawks got in and became the first KU women’s squad to make back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Tournament since qualifying nine straight times from 1992-2000.

“It’s where we think we belong,” said Henrickson, making her second appearance in nine seasons at Kansas. “It’s where we need to be, where we aspire to be.”

Comments

wakeupcall 1 year ago

Good luck on Saturday ladies.

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Tony Bandle 1 year, 1 month ago

I have been among those critical of Bonnie, and I do believe she dodged a bullet here, needless to say, however, the chance for two 20+ win seasons and two straight NCAA invites plus a ranked recruiting class for 2013-2014 earns her one more shot with me.

Frankly, I don't think much will change but I say let her have one more try under the last year of her contract. All kudos to the LadyHawks whom I feel win sometimes in spite of the coaching. Congrats girls....long may you run!!!

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KGphoto 1 year, 1 month ago

Matt could you please shed some light on why Tania Jackson left? The whole thing is completely mysterious, and the LJW never even formally reported it.

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Waylon Cook 1 year, 1 month ago

How the hell did we get in??????????

Linda Lappe>Bonnie Hendrickson

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no_fan 1 year, 1 month ago

Senior point guard Angel Goodrich, who carried the Jayhawks during last year’s postseason run, said hearing KU’s name called also lifted a weight off of her shoulders. In addition, she said she was thrilled to go into battle beside Davis and fellow senior Monica Engelman this time around.

“I’m just looking to go out there and play my game, whatever I have to do to help us get a win,” Goodrich said. “We have three good senior leaders who can go out there and help us, and I feel like I don’t have it all on my shoulders now.”

LOL.....Guess Angel passed the ball to herself, shot the ball, rebounded it, and all that by herself. Get real, Davis and Engelman is not the greatest, especially on defense. If this team is going to win, it will take all 11 or 12 players to pull it off, just like least season. Better start thinking team, and not 3 Musketeers...Take some notes from Bill Self, he does not care who scores, as long as the team wins. Recipe for Success !!!!

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Phil Leister 1 year, 1 month ago

The only bad part of this is that it masks an otherwise dismal season. I hope Zenger can see past it because I'm still convinced Bonnie is not the future of this program. She hasn't shown the ability to put together decent showings in the Big 12. I'm very happy for this team, but I'd still like to see some new leadership.

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Born_And_Raised_A_KU_Fan 1 year, 1 month ago

Nice going, girls! Go spoil another Big 12 defector's season like you did last year with Nebr@$$ka!

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Steve Zimmerman 1 year, 1 month ago

GREAT ACCOMPLISHMENT BY THE TEAM & COACHING STAFF! You all deserve the dance. Best of luck & fight hard, 'Hawk gals!

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Pbbut 1 year, 1 month ago

Congrats and good luck to the team. I can't help but believe that the Athletic Department was more than a little surprised by the invitation. This may be more of a commentary on the strength of the conference and the overall condition of women's basketball than a reward for the season's work.
OK...let's shock he world.

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arch007bak 1 year, 1 month ago

Unless I miscounted, 7 of the 10 Big XII women's teams in the tourney - wow

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Ludwig Supraphonic 1 year, 1 month ago

Great reward for the Seniors. Bring it to Allen West.

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MinnesotaJay 1 year, 1 month ago

Best of luck, KU women! Give it all you've got!

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Lash 1 year, 1 month ago

Great job ladies! Enjoy this, you deserved to make it. I guess I can handle one more come from behind win. RCJHK!

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Dyrk Dugan 1 year, 1 month ago

i can't believe they made it. one more time, Bonnie may survive, because we'll probably win this first game......and how do you fire a coach, who has won at least three games in two years, in post season play?

we'll see how it goes....but maybe the lady Buffs will finally put us all out of our misery. that being said.....Go Jayhawks!

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lawrenceloser 1 year, 1 month ago

Bonnie lucks out again and gets another year. When will the A.D. start feeling impatient?

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djchawk 1 year, 1 month ago

Congrats, ladies! I'll be watching. Wish you the best, and Rock Chalk!

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Marc Frey 1 year, 1 month ago

Best of luck to the Lady Jayhawks!

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mom_of_three 1 year, 1 month ago

they upset the 3 seed last year, so its entirely possible

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LeBo 1 year, 1 month ago

Congrats! A tough season, but a great new season begins on Saturday! Rock Chalk :)

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Ethan Berger 1 year, 1 month ago

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