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Archive for Wednesday, October 12, 2011

All the right pieces: KU women aim for more successful March

The Kansas women's basketball team held its annual media day Tuesday, Oct 11, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

The Kansas women's basketball team held its annual media day Tuesday, Oct 11, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

October 12, 2011

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It wasn’t easy for Kansas University forward Carolyn Davis to watch NCAA Tournament games from her apartment last year — especially after seeing a few teams the Jayhawks had beaten.

“As the years have gone on, it’s gotten more disappointing and more disappointing (to miss the NCAAs) with the more talent we’re gaining,” Davis said. “This year, we have all the talent. We have all the right pieces.”

It’s why the preseason All-Big 12 selection wasn’t shy about sharing her expectations for her team during KU women’s basketball media day on Tuesday at Allen Fieldhouse.

For Davis, it’s NCAA Tournament or bust for the Jayhawks this season.

“The only excuse is us,” Davis said. “If we don’t make it this year, we can’t blame anybody but ourselves.”

The Jayhawks have plenty of reasons to be optimistic.

For one, KU returns 83.4 percent of its scoring from last season, when it finished 21-13 overall and eighth in the Big 12.

Not only that, the Jayhawks return the Big 12’s top field-goal percentage shooter (Davis), three-point shooter (Monica Engelman), and assist leader (Angel Goodrich).

KU coach Bonnie Henrickson— still searching for her first NCAA Tournament appearance in her eighth season — says a trip to the Big Dance would be the next step for a program that has come close in recent years.

“It’s been important, it will be important, it is always important. Absolutely,” Henrickson said. “It’s frustrating. That’s where we’re trying to get. That’s what we work every day (toward), and you take a couple nights off in this league, and you ruin all the work you put in.”

Much of Henrickson’s excitement with this year’s team comes from the belief that the Jayhawks have plenty of room to grow defensively.

Already, the coach has preached a few key statistics to her players in practice: KU was last in the Big 12 in defensive field-goal percentage (46.3 percent) and rebounding margin (-5.8 per game) during conference play last season.

The Jayhawks are slowly buying into the added emphasis on defense.

“I want them to fall in love and marry it, and they don’t want to add it on Facebook or follow it on Twitter, if you talk in their language,” Henrickson said with a smile. “We need to have wedding bells here on the defensive end.”

KU also should get immediate help from five newcomers —and especially freshman Natalie Knight.

The 5-foot-7 freshman guard from Olathe needed just 10 practices to earn a starting spot for the team’s exhibition trip to Italy in August.

Davis, meanwhile, will be KU’s unquestioned leader after averaging 19 points per game last season.

The Houston native said part of the reason she came to KU was to try to help turn around the program.

After watching the NCAA Tournament selection show last year, only to have KU left out once again, she’s ready for a new experience next March.

“I want to be cheering when they call our name,” Davis said. “That’s the plan.”

Comments

dragonwagon2 2 years, 10 months ago

May the force be with you!

Looking forward to the season and really excited to see how it all comes together.

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firebird27 2 years, 10 months ago

If Henrickson does not make significant progress this year in the Big 12, it's time to get another coach. In women's athletics at KU, it seems the athletic department is willing to put their coaches to the same tests of success as they do for the men's teams. Can you imagine Henrickson surviving with her past record if she was the men's coach?

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CLARKKENT 2 years, 10 months ago

I DO NOT KNOW HOW SHE SURVIVES WITH HER PAST RECORD AS THE WOMENS COACH.

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flux 2 years, 10 months ago

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71_Hawk 2 years, 10 months ago

No change here this year. Nice picture - represents Kansas University very well - really organized coach!

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thanksforcoming 2 years, 10 months ago

Really 71-Hawk?! Since when does a goofy picture have any relationship to how the University is represented and how organized a coach is?! I guess 18-22 year olds have to be serious all the time. I guess playing basketball isn't any fun. What about the skits that the kids do at Late Night?! Those sure aren't representative of the University or the Coach, Men's or Women's. What's the old addage, don't judge a book by it's cover. I'm sure those Division 1 athletes know when to take things seriously or they wouldn't be where they are.

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Robert Rauktis 2 years, 10 months ago

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Robert Rauktis 2 years, 10 months ago

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Jayhawk1963 2 years, 10 months ago

Good, you waste YOUR time and money following them ! They look to me like a bunch of undisciplined parasites living off of Title IX money from the leagues football revenue distribution and Bill Self's team !!! They sure as hell haven't EARNED anything themselves. People look like fools clowning around when they haven't really ever been any good. And I thought Washington's teams were pathetic !

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thanksforcoming 2 years, 10 months ago

You don't think they took a serious picture first?! C'mon. Have you ever been on a team?

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thanksforcoming 2 years, 10 months ago

Those aren't real gang signs! Get out of Lawrence once in a while. Are we really that ignorant about this goofy picture?!

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DedicatedAlum 2 years, 10 months ago

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Jayhawk1963 2 years, 10 months ago

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thanksforcoming 2 years, 10 months ago

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Flap Doodle 2 years, 10 months ago

Flashing gang signs, how very classy.

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Jayhawk1963 2 years, 10 months ago

My, my. Aren't the PC police really active today on this thread??? You people are a pathetic joke !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wonder how long this response will last?

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DRsmith 2 years, 10 months ago

Are they really flashing gang signs? Nice. Maybe they will be better this year.

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Lisa Rasor 2 years, 10 months ago

OMG, the men's team would never take a goofy photo like this! http://matthiasclamer.blogspot.com/2009/12/kansas-jayhawks.html

No, they usually go in for more serious photos that reflect well on KU and KU Athletics. http://www.fox4kc.com/news/wdaf-kansas-basketball-player-mario-121610,0,6676767.story

I love this photo of the women's team; it shows their cameraderie and sense of humor. I look forward to seeing them play this season.

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thanksforcoming 2 years, 10 months ago

Thank you! This is exactly what I was getting at! I'm glad you did the research because I didn't have time today! I knew a goofy pic of the fellas was out there.

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thanksforcoming 2 years, 10 months ago

Thugs?! Better check to see what cities and what areas of those cities alot of good ball players come from. I bet S. Collins never flashed a gang sign. C'mon!!!

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Lisa Rasor 2 years, 10 months ago

The thing is, there were probably several photos for the editor to choose to run with this article, including more "serious" photos from the same photo shoot. Why did you choose this one, LJW? I would like to know your reasoning, if any.

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