Already in possession of the most wins in conference play during her seven seasons at Kansas University, Bonnie Henrickson enters tonight’s women’s basketball game against Iowa State — 7 p.m. in Ames, Iowa — with a little more than a personal milestone on her mind.
Asked after last weekend’s home victory against Nebraska, where she thought the Jayhawks stood in relation to the upcoming NCAA Tournament, Henrickson kept her focus right where it’s been for the past few weeks — on the next opponent.
“We need to beat Iowa State,” Henrickson said. “And I think that is all we have talked about when we huddle up.”
Winner of five of its last seven games, Henrickson’s club has more than made up for a January swoon in which it lost five straight after opening Big-12 play at 1-1. In improving from 1-6 to 6-8, KU has matched the most conference wins it has recorded during Henrickson’s time in Lawrence.
With two games remaining before next week’s Big 12 tournament, this year’s squad has a chance not only to eclipse the six-win ceiling that Henrickson’s previous teams have struggled to break through, but also could be in line to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2000.
“If we continue this run, we enhance our chances to do something special,” Henrickson said. “But we have to keep the run going.”
That won’t be easy tonight, as Kansas (19-9 overall, 6-8 in Big 12) faces the 24th-ranked Iowa State team it defeated in overtime on Feb. 9. In that one, Kansas led by as many as 15 points before watching a furious rally from ISU send the game into overtime. Carolyn Davis’ bucket in the final five seconds proved to be the game-winner and Angel Goodrich’s 15 assists were the most in a single game in Allen Fieldhouse by a female.
Henrickson credits Goodrich for the team’s recent surge. The oft-injured Tahlequah, Okla., native has averaged 10.7 points, 10 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals during her last six games.
“It starts with Angel,” Henrickson said. “Her motor, her willingness to run and push and allow us to work like that in transition, challenge people defensively, her ability to create shots for people. (It’s also) Carolyn’s ability to catch everything and finish everything around the rim.”
KU is currently in a tie for seventh place with Texas. Iowa State (20-8, 8-6), which is led by sharp-shooting forward Kelsey Bolte, is in a tie for fourth place with Kansas State.
Iowa State is 16-1 at home this season, 6-1 in Big 12 games. The Cyclones’ only loss was a 60-51 setback against No. 5 Texas A&M; on Jan. 22.