Kansas University women’s basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson knows she’ll have to look to her bench during the Basketball Travelers, Inc., Tip-Off Classic at Allen Fieldhouse this weekend.
With three games in three days — starting with a tilt against North Dakota State (2-1) at 7 p.m. tonight — Henrickson has confidence in her reserves. And she thinks the whole team will be fired up.
“Every player on every team that’s playing back-to-back-to-back would rather play back-to-back-to-back than practice,” Henrickson said. “The young kids are all for this. They think this is a scheduling dream here.”
After facing North Dakota State tonight, the Jayhawks (3-0) will face Memphis (2-2) at 6 p.m. Saturday and Fordham (3-1) at 1:30 p.m. Sunday. The tournament is a round-robin format, with Kansas playing in the second game each day. Fordham plays Memphis at 4:30 p.m. today to open the tournament.
The Jayhawks’ opponent tonight — North Dakota State — scores 81 points per game and spreads the scoring around. Sophomore center Janae Burich (18.0 ppg), sophomore guard Danielle DeGagne (16.3), junior guard Katie Birkel (15.7) and junior forward Abby Plucker (14.0) lead the potent attack.
Henrickson said that the experience her team got from winning 93-86 on the road at Wisconsin on Sunday would only help the young team in this weekend’s tournament.
“Not only that the outcome was a win, but the process we went through to get a win: being up and being down and getting in a one-possession game and having to get it into overtime,” Henrickson said. “I thought it was great energy.”
Solid rebounding and free-throw shooting helped the Jayhawks leave Madison with a victory. Kansas is outrebounding its opponents by 24 per game and is third in the Big 12 with 51.7 rebounds per game.
Junior forward Aishah Sutherland leads the team with 11.3 rebounds per game.
Henrickson is looking for her 100th career victory at Kansas, but she didn’t even realize she had a chance at the milestone tonight.
“News to me,” Henrickson said. “Any win, whatever number it is, we’ll be excited about it.”