Kansas University’s women’s basketball lineup could be a little more lethal in its second exhibition game.
The Jayhawks had no problem disposing of Emporia State in its 2011-12 preseason debut Wednesday, but they did have a key piece missing.
Conspicuous by her absence in an 83-61 victory was sophomore guard Keena Mays, who averaged 12 points and four rebounds and started 13 games during her freshman season.
KU coach Bonnie Henrickson summed up Mays’ unavailability after the ESU win by saying the sophomore guard needed to “compete every day” at practice, and when Mays does that it makes Kansas a better team.
The coach said Friday that Mays should be back in the lineup today when the Jayhawks play host to Pittsburg State at 2 p.m. at Allen Fieldhouse. Henrickson said she made her expectations clear to Mays, and she wasn’t punishing the 5-foot-7 guard for mistakes as much as she was sending a message that every player on the team has to practice with a competitive edge if the team is going to accomplish anything worthwhile in the Big 12 this season.
“You must compete every night in this league,” Henrickson said.
The eighth-year KU coach said Mays knows her practice production led to the benching, and the Arlington, Texas, native responded.
“She’s had some decent workouts since, and she understood, and I talked to her,” Henrickson said.
The addition of Mays won’t be the only thing different about KU’s lineup against the Gorillas. While playing time was distributed pretty evenly between veterans and young players against ESU, Henrickson indicated Kansas will rely more heavily on its starters in its final tune-up before the regular season.
None of the Jayhawks’ three junior captains — forward Carolyn Davis and guards Monica Engelman and Angel Goodrich — played more than 21 minutes against the Hornets, while KU went to its five freshmen — Natalie Knight, Catherine “Bunny” Williams, Asia Boyd, Donielle Breaux and Chelsea Gardner — and the rest of its bench for most of the second half.
Henrickson said she will be looking for more energy, better shot selection and more execution out of the Jayhawks’ returning players as they get closer to games that will count on the team’s win-loss record.
For instance, Davis went for 14 points and six boards Wednesday, but her coach wants to see more out of the 6-foot-3 forward.
“Carolyn’s gotta get on the glass,” Henrickson said. “She’s got to box out.”
With the first game of the regular season a week away, Henrickson said the Jayhawks have work to do.
“We’re not where we need to be from defensive intensity and ball pressure and positioning on the weak side,” she said. “We’re a work in progress. We’ve got a long way to go, though.”
KU is 3-0 against Pittsburg State in exhibitions and 4-2 in regular season games.
G — Angel Goodrich, 5-4, jr.
G — Natalie Knight, 5-7, fr.
G — Monica Engelman, 5-11, jr.
F — Aishah Sutherland, 6-2, sr.
F — Carolyn Davis, 6-3, jr.
G — Courtney Tate, 5-9, sr.
G — Drew Roberts, 5-6, jr.
G — Alexa Bordewick, 5-7, so.
F — Lizzy Jeronimus, 5-11, fr.
F — Larissa Richards, 6-3, sr.