Danielle McCray did something unusual the other night.
Kansas University’s senior basketball player recorded her career scoring high without attempting a single free throw.
“That was a little strange,” KU coach Bonnie Henrickson said.
In Tuesday night’s 89-69 thumping of Houston in Hofheinz Pavilion, McCray scored 37 points, and every one of them came via a field goal — 14 two-pointers and a trio of three-pointers.
“A lot of them were off rebounds,” Henrickson said, “and they didn’t foul her driving the lane.”
McCray also led the Jayhawks with 11 rebounds, including five offensive caroms.
Her 17 field goals weren’t far off the school record of 19 accomplished by Lynette Woodard, who also holds KU’s single-game scoring record with 49 against Missouri State three decades ago.
Prior to her outburst against the Cougars, McCray’s previous scoring high was 35. The 5-foot-11 wing player did that twice last season.
However, in netting 35 against Baylor, she made 6-of-7 free throws and in notching a similar number against Arkansas in the WNIT, McCray was 9-for-10 at the line.
Going into the holiday break, McCray is averaging 21.7 points a game. During all of last season, she averaged 21.6 so she has basically picked up where she left off.
Against Houston, she was in a scoring zone. McCray made her first seven shots, missed, then hit another seven in a row.
“Going 14 of 15 was phenomenal, really,” Henrickson said. “She had really good balance and good lift.”
Meanwhile, the Jayhawks have won six in a row and their record has climbed to 9-2. Then again, they were 9-2 at this time a year ago.
“But we’re a better 9-2,” Henrickson said. “Our bench has gotten better. Monica (Engelman) is giving us some scoring.”
Engelman, a 5-11 freshman from San Antonio, is averaging just 4.1 points a game, but she’s shooting 53.3 percent (8 of 15) from three-point range.
Another boost has been supplied by red-shirt freshman point guard Angel Goodrich who tied her career high with 11 assists Tuesday.
Goodrich ranks in the Top Five nationally in averaging 8.3 assists a game. Last year’s KU assists leader, Ivana Catic, averaged 3.7 per outing.
The other difference between this year’s 9-2 team and last year’s is the Associated Press poll. Last season at this time the Jayhawks weren’t ranked. This week they’re in the No. 21 slot.
Most of the Jayhawks and members of Henrickson’s staff are either home for Christmas or on their way. Henrickson, in fact, was traveling to her hometown of Willmar, Minn., on Wednesday.
All the players and coaches will report back on Sunday for the resumption of practice that evening. KU’s next game will be against Pepperdine at 1 p.m. Wednesday.
Although the Jayhawks customarily play weekday games at night, Pepperdine requested the afternoon start in order to make a flight back to Los Angeles that evening.