Heading into the third game of the season, Kansas University women’s basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson knows exactly which Jayhawks she can count on to make plays and score.
Widely recognized as two of the most talented players in the nation, senior point guard Angel Goodrich and senior forward Carolyn Davis — both Wooden and Naismith award candidates — have carried Kansas and will continue to do so.
The only problem, Henrickson said, is KU needs some of its leaders’ teammates to complement them better.
“I think we’ve got some (players) who think, ‘I’m supposed to make a play every time I touch it,’ which turns into bad possessions for us,” the coach said. “We’ve got to figure that out and calm down a little bit.”
Though Kansas is off to a 2-0 start, Henrickson said both she and the players are frustrated because they feel like they should be playing at a higher level entering today’s game against Wake Forest — 2 p.m. tipoff at Allen Fieldhouse.
Only five players scored for KU (No. 25 in the USA Today coaches poll) in its 68-58 defeat of Southeast Missouri State on Wednesday. Henrickson said the Jayhawks must find a way to play with more composure and maturity. At times, she pointed out, they fail to do simple things such as reversing the ball in the half court.
While Davis, Goodrich, sophomore guard Natalie Knight and substitute junior forward Tania Jackson combined to score 66 of the Jayhawks’ points against SEMO, starting senior guard Monica Engelman went 1-for-8 from the floor with two points. Henrickson, though pleased with Engelman’s career-high 11 rebounds, said KU needs Engelman to be more productive and confident and find other ways to contribute if her shot isn’t falling.
“You can see it all over Monica’s face,” the coach said. “She misses a shot, her shoulders drop, her head, chin drop. You’ve gotta play.”
The Demon Deacons (2-0) were picked to finish ninth in the preseason ACC coaches poll, but Henrickson said their size and athleticism make them a challenging opponent.
A new staff, led by first-year head coach Jen Hoover, is in place at Wake Forest, but three starters return from last season, when Kansas escaped Winston-Salem, N.C., with a 74-73 nonconference victory.
“We’ve got our hands full, and we’ve gotta be a lot better in a hurry,” Henrickson said.
Davis, who tore her left anterior cruciate ligament late last season, has been limited to 19.5 minutes in each of KU’s first two games, but is averaging 18.5 points on 69.6-percent shooting. Goodrich is averaging 12 points, 5.5 assists and 3.5 steals.
Junior Wake Forest guard Chelsea Douglas leads the team with 18.5 points a game.
The Jayhawks have won 45 consecutive nonconference regular-season home games, dating to a Dec. 31, 2006, loss to Xavier at Allen Fieldhouse.