No one expected Bonnie Henrickson to perform miracles during her first year as Kansas University's women's basketball coach.
Henrickson took over a team that had dropped its last 10 games and 14 of its last 15. Moreover, the Jayhawks' roster was down to nine scholarship players following a handful of defections and dismissals.
Nevertheless, Henrickson guided the depleted Jayhawks to a dozen victories, the most since 2000-01. The next step is to bring an end to the string of five consecutive losing seasons.
"The growth we've had this year isn't enough, obviously, because we're not in the postseason," Henrickson said after the Jayhawks bowed to Missouri, 62-57, in the first round of the Big 12 Conference tournament.
Still, the Jayhawks did improve, so that was worth at least one rung on the comeback ladder.
"It's growth that was important for us this year," the KU coach said. "We understand as a group we need the same amount of growth next year."
Henrickson lost only one contributor, guard Aquanita Burras, to graduation and will add at least four players to the roster next year. Two of them -- point guard Shaquina Mosley and forward Sophronia Sallard -- are expected to help right away.
Mosley, who played at Central Arizona CC, was named national junior-college player of the year by the Women's Basketball Coaches Assn. The 5-foot-10 Sallard led Syracuse, N.Y., Nottingham High to a state championship.
Henrickson will have four returning starters in Crystal Kemp, Erica Hallman and Kylee Brown -- all seniors -- and sophomore Taylor McIntosh. Kemp led the Jayhawks in scoring (13.8) and rebounding (8.8) during the 12-16 season.
"We already have a year under our belt under coach Henrickson," the 6-2 Kemp said. "The fact that we're going to be seniors, I think, is a plus because we know what to expect, and we know how to lead the team now."
Hallman, a 5-8 guard who averaged 13.1 points a game, is expected to surrender the point to Mosley and move to shooting guard. She was a 39 percent shooter from three-point range last season.
"When our freshmen come in, we've got to get them on the same page," Hallman said, "and just keep listening to coach because we've been successful this season, and we will be more successful next season."