Archive for Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Woodling: Kansas women stuck

March 5, 2008


Even the most hardcore Kansas University women's basketball fan must concede the program is treading water.

Or spinning its wheels. Or running in place. Or whatever expression you want to use to describe a program that isn't deteriorating but isn't improving, either.

Coach Bonnie Henrickson's four seasons at Kansas have been remarkably similar. Bonnie Ball has produced impressive starts against decent non-conference competition followed by disappointing second-division Big 12 Conference finishes.

If the Jayhawks knock off Kansas State tonight in Allen Fieldhouse, they'll finish with a 5-11 league record, the same record Henrickson compiled during her first two seasons on Mount Oread. If the Jayhawks lose tonight, they'll wind up 4-12 in the league, matching last year's record.

Looking at it another way, KU's non-league record under Henrickson is a solid 35-14. But her record against Big 12 foes, including a 1-3 mark in the postseason tournament, is an ugly 19-48.

At least the Jayhawks won't finish in the league basement like they did last year when they shared the cellar with Kansas State. But they certainly haven't made the meteoric rise K-State has. If the Wildcats win tonight, they'll clinch at least a tie for first place, meaning they can go from worst to first in the Big 12, an almost unbelievable feat.

And to think the 'Cats were picked to finish eighth in the coaches' preseason poll last October. Where was Kansas picked? Tenth. And that's about where KU will wind up.

If there's one thing about the Jayhawks, it's that they're pretty easy to predict. That isn't to say Henrickson is a poor coach. Far from it. Nobody knows X's and O's better than Henrickson, whose rapid-fire commentary is constantly filled with technical jargon.

Nevertheless, I've never seen a coach win with X's and O's. Coaches win with talent, and the bottom line is this: Henrickson hasn't recruited enough quality players to be competitive in the Big 12.

Look at it this way: How many of KU's starters would be starting for Kansas State? Answer: One.

KSU coach Deb Patterson would find a place for Danielle McCray, but the other four KU starters would open on the bench. If that sounds harsh, I'm sorry. It's just the truth.

What really hurts, though, is that 9 of the 11 players on K-State's roster are products of either Kansas high schools or Kansas City suburbs. KU has only two players in that category - McCray (Olathe) and Taylor McIntosh (Wichita).

It goes without saying Henrickson had hoped to be competing for the Big 12 title in her fourth season. Perhaps, though, the fifth year will be the charm.

Henrickson is bringing in a talented point guard in Angel Goodrich, an Oklahoma small-school superstar, to fill one of the Jayhawks' biggest needs. In my mind, the best teams in the Big 12 are the ones with the best point guards.

A point guard who can penetrate and shoot off the dribble makes everyone around her better. A quintessential point guard will make McCray and 6-foot-5 freshman Krysten Boogaard, KU's two most talented players, much more effective.

So there is hope the Jayhawks can perhaps sneak into the league's first division next year, then maybe become a legitimate challenger a year later.


kujayhawk 10 years, 3 months ago

She makes a lot of money and this program hasn't shown much improvement since she's been here.

Angel Gillaspie 10 years, 3 months ago

I really love it that NO ONE at the Journal-World uses their 4 free women's basketball tickets (they're too busy with men's basketball and football) to actually go to the games, but they can write a scathing editorial about how the team is struggling. Is the headline supposed to be "Stuck" or "Suck?" Did you even go to any of the games, Chuck? Or watch them on TV? Have you even looked at the scores of the Big XII games? It's important to note that some of the games we lost were by very small margins. We lost three away games by 6 pts (KSU), 4 pts (TTU), and 3 pts (MU). Three of the games we lost at home were by 7 pts (A&M), 5 pts (OSU), and 4 pts (Texas). Maybe if we shared some of the love that we have for the men's team with the women's team, it might boost their confidence and help them to win. The games are exciting and hard-fought, yet the average attendance is 2,775. The only two Big XII teams whose home game attendance is lower than ours are Mizzou and Colorado. Perhaps you should check out the Big XII site to see that we have several players ranked in statistical categories - Danielle McCray and Nicolette Smith for 3 pionters made; Krysten Boogaard for blocked shots and offensive rebounds; Taylor McIntosh for rebounds and offensive rebounds; Ivana Catic for assists and assist/turnover ratio; McCray for steals, free throw percentage, field goal percentage, rebounds and scoring. KU ranks third in the conference for defensive rebounding with 33.4 per game, that's worth something, isn't it? We may be second to last in the conference standings, but our record is nearly identical with both Texas Tech and Colorado. If you count the other teams whose records are identical, essentially we are tied for 7th place. I suppose you feel obliged to write something since you have virtually written NOTHING about women's basketball this season, but don't you feel ashamed for criticizing a team and their coach when you can't even bother to go to a game? We lost to the Wildcats by 6 on their home court. I'll be there tonight to cheer them on whether they win or lose. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

Sannah77 10 years, 3 months ago

The KU Women's Basketball coach is devoted to turning the program around, ask anyone around the program. She has what it takes to make the gap between the men's and women's basketball programs closer...Coach Henrickson deserves a couple more seasons to build program interest (which has grown tremendously under her reign) She's done what she can with what she was given coming in. It takes time to develop a program by gaining the interest of big name recruits. If you're going to pick apart a low revenue sport, take a look at the KU Volleyball record books under the current coach. Now thats a program in need of saving. For a coach who has had a decade to develop a program, please explain to us all why it still lingers at the bottom of the Big 12 yet no one raises so much as an eyebrow, nor questions the validity of the leadership there. The second most popular sport in the world, but nothing more than an event aimed at "entertainment" to the Lawrence community. Men's Basketball has always been expected to be atop the national rankings. There are several KU sports teams making their way to the top (track teams are both in top 25 rankings, baseball and softball teams were Big 12 champs), but when are we going to pressure all of KU sports into respectable rankings to make the university a well-rounded athletic powerhouse?

-concerned fan

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