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Saturday, June 25, 2005

Kansas gains guard

Henrickson secures Aquinas standout Ballweg

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So much for a summer vacation.

In coach Bonnie Henrickson's quest to guide the Kansas University women's basketball program to national prominence, she put another key piece of the puzzle in place Friday with an oral commitment from Overland Park Aquinas High standout Lindsay Ballweg.

The 5-foot-10 shooting guard widely is considered one of the state's top recruits in the class of 2006, as well as one of the top female hoopsters in the Midwest. Her pledge marks the second commit Henrickson has landed for '06, having already received word from athletic Olathe East guard Danielle McCray.

"I just had an awesome time with the coaches and the other recruits," Ballweg said of her recent stay in Lawrence. "I played with Danielle awhile ago. It'll be awesome to be roommates with her."

Ballweg's final decision was between Kansas and Wisconsin. She ultimately chose Henrickson because of her goal-oriented style and comfortable environment.

Ballweg made a name for herself in the Metro area as a sophomore in 2003-04, helping lead Aquinas to the Class 6A state title. In that season, she averaged 16 points a game and shot an incredible 51 percent from beyond the three-point arc, which included a school-record 61 treys. She set another school benchmark with seven threes in one game against Blue Valley.

Last winter, she upped her average to 19 points a game, including a school single-game record 38 points against Blue Valley Northwest. Aside from earning a second straight all-state nod, she also was the Eastern Kansas League MVP, named to the Metro Sports First Team and All-Sun Country First Team.

More than likely, she will earn a nomination as a McDonald's All-American before her senior season begins.

Aquinas coach Rick Hetzel is convinced that the best is yet to come for Ballweg. She will more than likely finish her career with the Saints as the school's all-time leader in three-pointers and could be its all-time leading scorer as well. More importantly than any numbers, however, has been her progression as a player.

Hetzel said she has improved different facets of her game each year, and expects that trend to continue.

"She's a good-sized kid with a nice outside shot," Hetzel said. "She's expanded her game with dribble penetration and back cuts. She handles the ball pretty well on the move."

Like Ballweg, Hetzel said he's impressed with the new direction of KU's program, which includes more localized recruiting tactics.

"I heard from them more the first two weeks coach Henrickson was there than I had in the previous seven years," Hetzel said. "I just think the whole attitude with KU basketball has changed with coach Henrickson. It's more exciting, and there's some more life in the program."

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