Archive for Tuesday, March 17, 2009

KU left out of NCAAs, to play in WNIT

Kansas women's basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson and the Jayhawks are picked to finish in a tie for second in the Big 12 conference.

Kansas women's basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson and the Jayhawks are picked to finish in a tie for second in the Big 12 conference.

March 17, 2009


KU women left out of NCAA tourney

The Jayhawks will participate in the WNIT instead of the Big Dance this season Enlarge video

Kansas’ Danielle McCray visits with the media after the Jayhawks learned Monday they were headed to the Women’s NIT.

Kansas’ Danielle McCray visits with the media after the Jayhawks learned Monday they were headed to the Women’s NIT.

For the ninth year in a row, Kansas University’s women’s basketball team failed to earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

But the Jayhawks were close this time, probably closer than they’ve been during the long drought.

“I really felt if we weren’t the last one in,” KU coach Bonnie Henrickson said after Monday night’s bracket was announced, “we’d be the first one out.”

Perhaps the Jayhawks were the first one out. Maybe they weren’t, but it seems likely KU was on the cusp because Georgia made it, and the Bulldogs’ compiled the same 18-13 record as Kansas.

“I think Georgia and Minnesota (19-11) and us were probably in the same conversation,” Henrickson said.

In the final analysis, the Jayhawks were unable to overcome their miserable 2-9 start in conference competition. Still, Henrickson and her players held out hope because of their late surge.

Kansas won five of its last seven, and two of those wins — Baylor and Iowa State — were against ranked teams.

“I thought because of who we beat it would help us,” Henrickson said, “because everyone on the bubble has lost games they shouldn’t have.”

Three of those galling Kansas defeats occurred during the conference race — road games against tail-enders Missouri and Colorado, and a home game against Texas Tech in which the Jayhawks shot a miserable 28.1 percent.

As the KU players and coaches watched the selection show on television in the Naismith Room at Allen Fieldhouse, the tension built with each passing regional revelation. Then when the last regional bracket was announced, again without Kansas, a pall fell over the room.

“I was pretty disappointed,” senior Ivana Catic said. “I had to hold back tears. We had a good feeling because we played so well down the stretch.”

Six Big 12 Conference teams — the entire first division and all of them ranked, incidentally — were tapped. Of the remaining six, Kansas had the best overall record, but KU shared seventh place in league standings with Texas Tech and Nebraska — all with 6-10 records — and that may have been a factor.

“I think 7-9 would have made it,” Henrickson said, “because 7-9 went last year.”

Henrickson was referring to both Texas and Iowa State making the NCAA field in 2008 despite 7-9 conference records.

“We have nobody to blame but ourselves, and we understand that,” Henrickson said. “Now we need to stay motivated and continue to play well down the stretch. We’re still excited to play in the WNIT.”

The Jayhawks will play the winner of the first-round game between UC-Riverside and Creighton at 7 p.m. Monday at Allen Fieldhouse.


Confrontation 9 years, 2 months ago

Way to earn all those pay raises, Bonnie! The WNIT is quite prestigious. Yeah, right.

sourpuss 9 years, 2 months ago

You'll go great in the WNIT, ladies! Good luck. It can take a long time to build up a program and we should all support them.

eric poncharello 9 years, 2 months ago

I feel it's time to move on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ms. Bonnie must GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I really wanted her to do well here, it just hasn't happened. I hope Lou doesn't turn this into a coach washington error, just because he hired her.. I really believe there is enough good talent just in this area to be better than competitive. Personally, I like Bonnie, but, she must GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Steve Jacob 9 years, 2 months ago

I would guess accepting the WNIT bid means she stays. If you going to fire a coach, you do it quick. Said it before, 5 years in a major conference without a NCAA bid puts your job in jeopardy. They are all your players at that point.

Noweigh 9 years, 2 months ago

We should all support the program. That support means standing behind them now and then asking and thinking hard about whether this coach is the right one to stick with or not. She has had plenty of time to develop a winner and develop a greater fan base. She's also had the full support of the athletic administration, far more than her predecessors and previous administrations. Held by most coaching standards, it would suggest time for a change. That, or win huge next year with no more excuses.

countrygirl 9 years, 2 months ago

Here's what bothers me about Bonnie. Only one Kansas girl on her roster. K-State has 6 young ladies from the state of Kansas. Why is Bonnie not recruiting closer to home? Or would the Kansas girls rather play for Deb Patterson?

rgh 9 years, 2 months ago

These girls have improved every year that Bonnie and staff has had them. They have an absolutely brutal schedule in the Big XII with Baylor, Texas, OU, Iowa State, etc.

She's continually building the foundation of a solid program and bringing in top recruits. People who have watched the lady Hawks during her tenure have certainly noticed the improvement! They lost their potential starting point guard to a knee injury before the season ever started.

A winning tradition takes time. Look at Mangino two years ago. KU didn't go to a bowl game yet turned around and went to the Orange Bowl then Insight Bowl. Should KU have fired him two years ago? Give her and the players a break. They're working hard to be a contender in one of the toughest women's conferences in the nation! They deserve more attention and attendance than what Lawrence and the surrounding areas currently give them.

Phillbert 9 years, 2 months ago

I do love the Couch Coaches, all of whom I'm sure are Hall of Fame players or coaches who just comment here in their spare time.

Yes, the team had a winning season, despite losing their All-American PG before it even started. KU beat the #5 team in the nation (a team that won the Big 12 tournament a couple weeks later) and was one win away from going to the NCAA tournament, is time to fire the coach? Makes a lot of sense.

As for recruiting Kansas players, the previous coaching staff had not gone after them like K-State did. As a result, KSU has better relationships with Kansas H.S. coaches - which take time to build up - than KU does. I remember reading in the Topeka paper a couple months ago that right after she got here Coach Henrickson actually offered Shalee Lehning a scholarship before K-State did, but K-State got her because of the relationship.

Next year KU has one Kansas player committed (Tania Jackson from Lawrence) and guess what, KSU only has one Kansas player committed too.

Next year has the potential to be special. I just hope more people show up to the games to see it. If KU women's basketball got the crowds that Iowa State does (routinely getting 9,000, despite being 7-9 in conference last year) some of those close losses would turn into wins.

Confrontation 9 years, 2 months ago

Gee, one win against a ranked team and the suspicion of possibly being one win away from the tourney. Let's give her a raise! She's a hero! She's had too many years to prove herself. Time to move on.

mom_of_three 9 years, 2 months ago

Two wins from a ranked team, confrontation, and most likely one win from the NCAA tourney, since other teams with the same record made the tourney. 5 years is hardly long enough to prove yourself and to turn a program around. Give her a break. Her recruiting brought us Danielle McCray who just made the Big 12 team first team. We have some good players developing and they have improved each year.
I wonder how long before KU can attract more area students to stay in Kansas and not go to other Big 12 schools. Big girl from Washburn Rural is going to OSU, Big girl from SM West going to OSU, McFarland from Derby going to OU (and I wasnt too impressed with what I saw anyway). And I know there is more.

cthulhu_4_president 9 years, 2 months ago

"who cares about women's basketball?"

You must, since you took the time to post. People crack me up.

Good luck, ladies!

JS82 9 years, 2 months ago

Good luck to the lady jayhawks! In saying that I still think that Bonnie needs to get in the tournament next year or she is out. 5 years is plenty of time to see her body of work and so far it hasn't been very impressive. I am sure that Lew will hold her accountable.

MIke Mallory 9 years, 2 months ago

confrontation, once again, you are a idiot. were you the kid that was cut from the high school jv team, get a life, have you once posted a positive comment, I am pretty sure you were the one calling for coach mangino to be fired, put your crack pipe down. and like wilt said, ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

StirrrThePot 9 years, 2 months ago

Good luck, Lady Jayhawks! You have worked hard and deserve a chance for post season play. Keep it up!

Rock Chalk!

Omegatron 9 years, 2 months ago

“I was pretty disappointed,” senior Ivana Catic said....

I'm not. Winning the WNIT brings the team back into the conversation during the off-season. Makes people question why KU was left out in favor of Georgia.

But it's up to this team to prove that they deserved a shot (at the NCAA's) by making alot of noise in the WNIT.

One and done isn't going to cut it.

danemary 9 years, 2 months ago

Bonnie is the Best womans coach in the country. About 100% better than Washingtom. Give her a nice raise. I wish her well!!!

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