Last time out, Bonnie Henrickson was seeing red.
This time, Kansas University’s women’s basketball coach had her players wearing red.
“Some holiday cheer there,” Henrickson said with a smile after Thursday night’s 81-53 romp over UMKC in Allen Fieldhouse.
Henrickson wasn’t very cheery after last Sunday’s victory over Northern Colorado, but all was forgiven after the Jayhawks overwhelmed the out-sized Kangaroos.
“We played totally different,” KU senior Sade Morris said. “We did a better job of communicating and our defensive intensity was there.”
Henrickson was particularly critical of Danielle McCray following the Northern Colorado game, blistering the preseason Big 12 Conference Player of the Year for shoddy defense.
Against the ’Roos, however, Henrickson showed her faith in McCray by assigning her to cover Chazny Morris, the ’Roos’ best player.
“As grouchy as I was with Danielle, she did a good job,” Henrickson said. “She was dialed in. She made (Chazny Morris) work. And that’s what great players do.”
McCray admitted she was too offensive-minded last Sunday so she concentrated on producing a better overall effort.
“This game was more balanced,” McCray said. “Coach challenged me by putting me on their best player, and I tried for more rebounds and assists.”
McCray finished with 18 points, eight boards and three assists. UMKC’s Morris scored a game-high 22 points, but needed 21 shots to do it.
And McCray, who logged only 27 minutes, wasn’t on Morris throughout.
“We made her rush a little bit,” Henrickson said of the ’Roos’ standout, “and made her take tough twos.”
Meanwhile, 6-foot-5 Krysten Boogaard was too much for the ’Roos inside, scoring 19 points and grabbing nine boards while playing just 22 minutes. Henrickson used mostly bench players during the last 10 minutes.
“There was a stretch,” Henrickson said of Boogaard, “where she was in front of the rim and demanding the ball and showing her numbers to the ball, and I thought she did a great job with that.”
As for the red uniforms, Henrickson had her players don crimson togs for the first time since two years ago against San Jose State.
“We nearly lost that game,” Henrickson said, “but our Adidas guy asked if we were ever going to wear them again, and my coaches convinced me it’s not the uniform, it’s the uniformees.”
And so the Jayhawks received a little pre-game surprise at their lockers.
“I had kind of forgotten about them,” KU’s Morris said. “But we saw the red before the game and, hey, that’s neat.”
All in all, Kansas (6-2) looked like the No. 23-ranked team in the country against the ’Roos (3-6).
“I expected them to be able to play the way they did,” UMKC coach Candace Whitaker said. “They will do really well in the Big 12.”
Next for the Jayhawks will be a visit by Creighton at 2 p.m. Sunday.
• KU’s 79.2 percent free throw shooting (19-24) was a season best. Krysten Boogaard ran her streak of consecutive makes to 12 before missing. She wound up 7-of-11.
• Angel Goodrich, who ranks No. 4 nationally with 8.1 assists a game, was credited with 10 for the second game in a row.
• Freshmen Monica Engelman and Carolyn Davis recorded career-highs with eight and six points, respectively.
• Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and her husband, Shade Little, watched with KU athletic director Lew Perkins just east of the north goal. The announced crowd of 1,893 was a season low.