The good news keeps rolling in for Kansas University’s women’s basketball team.
Three days after the Jayhawks nabbed their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2000, the team learned Thursday that juniors Carolyn Davis and Angel Goodrich were selected as All-Region nominees for the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association All-America Team.
A 6-foot-3 junior forward, Davis (16.9 points per game, 5.7 rebounds) earned the recognition despite missing the Jayhawks’ previous eight games due to a season-ending knee injury.
Point guard Goodrich, meanwhile, leads all NCAA Div. I players with 7.5 assists a game and averages 13.1 points for Kansas (19-12).
The honors came in the middle of a blissful week for the Jayhawks, who have been preparing for their first-round match-up with Nebraska (24-8), set to tip off at 6:50 p.m. Sunday at Little Rock, Ark.
KU coach Bonnie Henrickson appreciated that Davis was included among the nominees and said her inclusion showed how much respect Davis has earned in the Big 12 and around the country.
The Jayhawks have been bombarded with congratulations and well-wishes the past few days since becoming the first KU team to make the NCAA Tournament in Henrickson’s eight seasons with the program. Former Kansas players such as Kelly Kohn and Kaylee Brown, as well as other coaches and Kansas boosters have let Henrickson know how excited they were.
“Everybody, for the right reasons, were pulling for this group to find a way down the stretch to get it done,” the coach said.
Reactions have been no different for the players, according to senior forward Aishah Sutherland.
“I got a lot of phone calls and text messages and tweets and Facebook congratulations,” she said. “It was great.”
Freshman forward Chelsea Gardner, whose minutes have gone up drastically since Davis’ injury, said the vibe in the KU locker room hasn’t been the same since earning a trip to the tourney.
“I think we’ve been more excited than we’ve ever been,” she said.
Still, Gardner said the Jayhawks, seeded No. 11 in their region, will need to play motivated against No. 6 seed Nebraska, ranked No. 17 in the country. The players received a pretty clear message from Henrickson about capturing the joy of the past few days: “Just bring the excitement to the court.”
Davis and Goodrich were two of 52 candidates named to the All-Region list. A selection committee will trim the list to 40 finalists Monday. The finalists all will be in the running for the 10-member All-America team.