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Archive for Friday, April 13, 2007

Jayhawk women add Weldon

Athletic guard to help replace Shaquina Mosley

April 13, 2007

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Bonnie Henrickson recruited the size she needed. Now Kansas University's women's basketball coach has the backcourt performer she's been looking for.

Chakeitha Weldon, a 5-foot-8 guard from Atlanta, Ga., is the third and last member of Henrickson's recruiting class.

Weldon will join Krysten Boogaard, a 6-5 forward from Regina, Saskatchewan, and 6-2 Nicollette Smith of Tulsa, Okla., on next year's roster.

Weldon averaged 17 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals during her senior season at Atlanta Mays High. She also shot 87 percent from the free throw line while earning first-team all-city and second-team all-state honors.

Henrickson hopes Weldon will soothe the loss of Shaquina Mosley, who led the Jayhawks in scoring during the Big 12 portion of the schedule with a 14.6 average.

"She brings athleticism like Shaq did," Henrickson said of Weldon. "She's a capable scorer who will grow to be a very good defensive player. She's able to push to ball in transition like we want to, and she's a good passer and unselfish kid."

At the same time, Henrickson feels Boogaard and Smith will provide inside scoring punch and rebounding, commodities lacking on last season's team that finished 11-20 overall and shared the Big 12 basement with Kansas State.

Boogaard was one of 12 Canadians chosen for her country's National Elite Development Academy where she is currently averaging 14 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.

"Krysten brings the size we need in the Big 12," Henrickson said. "She is a very skilled player who runs the floor very well, not just for a player of her size, but for anyone."

Boogaard has been out of high school for a year, but will be classified as a freshman next season.

The 6-2 Smith was a four-year starter at Tulsa Kelley High, averaging 16.8 points and 6.9 rebounds during her senior season. She was a first-team all-city and second team all-state selection. Smith shot 34 percent from three-point range and 79 percent from the foul line.

"Nicollette is a very skilled player and a fantastic three-point shooter," Henrickson said. "She'll space the defense and teams will have to guard her from outside, even in transition."

During one stretch last season, Kansas lost 12 of 13 games, but then the Jayhawks won five of their last nine when Henrickson switched to an up-tempo approach that she plans to continue using next season with the addition of Weldon, Boogaard and Smith.

"They bring the size, speed and athleticism that you need in the Big 12," Henrickson said. "When we were our best down the stretch last season, our transition numbers were very good and that's the style we want to play."

Henrickson had three scholarships to give with the graduation of Mosley and Sharita Smith, and the decision by freshman Lindsay Ballweg to leave the program.

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