KU women end season with 80-63 WNIT loss to Duquesne

Kansas senior guard Marisha Brown, left, and freshman guard Diara Moore watch the closing minutes of Kansas’ 80-63 loss to Duquesne on Saturday, March 19, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Like so many times this season, Kansas University relied on Carolyn Davis to shoulder the bulk of its scoring.

But, like so many times this season, Davis couldn’t get it done on her own.

Despite the sophomore’s career-high 38 points, adding 10 rebounds for her ninth double-double of the year, the Jayhawks fell to Duquesne, 80-63, in the second round of the WNIT on Saturday night at Allen Fieldhouse, ending their season.

After the lead switched hands twice in the game’s first three minutes, Duquesne took hold of it and never let go.

DU point guard Vanessa Abel had nine points and six assists by halftime, and the Dukes appeared to have things well in hand going in to the break up, 41-24.

But KU didn’t go down without a fight.

Monica Engelman hit a jumper with 11:39 to go to spark a 14-0 run, adding a three-pointer during the stretch, to pull KU to within four.

“I was just wanting to hit something. I needed to get the shot, and we needed to get some type of momentum to get it started,” Engelman said.

But Engelman had trouble getting shots to fall. She had just one other field goal in the first half and made none after the run to finish a frigid 3-for-18 from the floor.

A 30-second DU timeout was enough to wake up the Dukes, who came out of it with a 6-0 run of their own to push the lead back to 10, ending a four-minute scoring drought. That was enough to hold off KU.

“Just disappointed, as much as we struggled to score. The more that happened, the more we looked defeated and deflated on the defensive end,” KU coach Bonnie Henrickson said.

“Another scorer on the perimeter is important for us, and it’s more magnified when Monica is struggling as much as she did.”

Davis said she was happy to lead the team, but it needed a scoring threat from the outside. The Jayhawks finished just 2-for-21 (9.5 percent) from three-point range.

“I always want to do that for them, but with that, though, other people have to step up and hit shots,” she said. “We can’t allow one person to carry the load.”

Duquesne’s balanced scoring attack was an overwhelming factor for the Jayhawks. All five starters all ended up in double figures, led by Wumi Agunbiade’s 16 points and a near triple-double from Abel, who finished with 13 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists.

DU shot 50 percent from the floor, leading the Dukes to their 14th road win of the year.

Duquesne head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio had nothing but glowing things to say about Davis’ performance.

“The one thing we couldn’t do is stop Carolyn Davis. I just told her that I knew she was good watching her on film, but I didn’t think she was that good. She put on a clinic,” McConnell-Serio said.

Davis seemed surprised after seeing the stat sheet.

“I don’t really know the points until after the game. I honestly thought I was missing a lot of shots. I didn’t think I was making as many as I was missing,” said Davis, who went 15-for-24 from the floor.

“She’s always very effective and she’s very efficient around he rim,” said Engelman of Davis’ big night. “She did her work early like always and it was easy for us to find her inside.”

Davis’ performance broke a couple of Kansas NIT records, including most points in a game — previously held by Krysten Boogaard, who had 37 against Prairie View A&M in 2010. Davis broke her previous record of field goals made, which was 14 Wednesday against Wichita State.

KU ended its season with a 21-13 record.