In the wake of a rain-free Bonnie Henrickson golf tournament Saturday at Alvamar, each member of the women’s basketball team took a turn at the microphone and shared her favorite thing about the NCAA Tournament in which the Jayhawks advanced to the Sweet 16.
“Trending on Twitter,” senior Angel Goodrich said.
Last March 20, for much of the second half of Kansas University’s upset victory against Delaware, #Angel Goodrich was one of the top 10 topics in the world being discussed on Twitter.
The pregame TV hype centered on the nation’s leading scorer, Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne. Say that 10 times and your tongue will become as tripped up as the feet of the Blue Hens’ defenders who tried to keep up with Goodrich. On that night, the nation’s leader in assists (7.4 per game) stole the show from the leading scorer, despite at 5-foot-4 standing 13 inches shorter. Goodrich had 27 points and six assists.
Without leading scorer Carolyn Davis (ACL surgery), Goodrich led the Jayhawks, a bubble team on Selection Monday, into the Sweet 16. Not bad for a guard who has played most of her home games in front of small crowds.
Maybe the global fame the magician of a point guard received will make people realize the live entertainment she provides in Allen Fieldhouse beats anything anybody could see on television.
Last season, the team endured a number of setbacks, from Keena Mays quitting to Monica Engelman slumping to team unity wobbling to Davis suffering a season-ending knee injury. The NCAA Tournament made all that seem like a distant memory.
“Once we came back from the Sweet 16, we went on Mass. Street, and everybody was celebrating the guys’ stuff, but people would stop us and say, ‘We saw you play. We were watching you guys.’ And it was students,” Goodrich said. “It was amazing because we never really saw students at our games. But they told us they saw us (on TV in the tournament) and said they were going to start coming to our games.”
Targeting the marketing of the women’s basketball team to freshmen would be a smart play. Visits to dorms, sororities and fraternities from members of the coaching staff emphasizing that only the students can really change the culture of the program might help. In Goodrich, KU has an unusual player to market.
Her eyes-on-fire intensity, phenomenal court vision and remarkable passing, mixed with stop-and-pop jumpers and clutch threes make her as entertaining as any player in women’s college basketball.
“For us to not pick up where we left off would be very disappointing for me,” Goodrich said. “I really have high expectations for this team. The chemistry’s great, and I feel like we can start off strong.”