KU women headed to the Cayman Islands in November
From the WNIT to the Cayman Islands, that’s the itinerary for the Kansas women’s basketball program, which has been invited to be one of eight teams competing in the inaugural Cayman Islands Classic Nov. 24 and 25 in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands next season.
The tournament field includes 2023 national champion LSU, Final Four participant Virginia Tech, along with UConn and UCLA, who both finished the season ranked in the top 15. Kansas joins Niagara, Tulane and Virginia in rounding out the field.
Kansas will play two pre-determined opponents in the Cayman Islands, with matchups to be announced at a later date. The 2023 tournament is the first women’s edition of the Cayman Islands Classic, which will be played at John Gray Gymnasium, just minutes away from Seven Mile Beach.
Like the Kansas men’s basketball team, which played in the Bahamas last Thanksgiving and is slated to return to the Maui Invitational this November, the KU women have played in some kind of multi-team event the week of Thanksgiving during the past several years.
The Jayhawks are set to return all five starters from their 2023 WNIT championship team, which finished 25-11 after defeating Western Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas, Washington and Columbia to win the WNIT.
All-Big 12 selections Zakiyah Franklin, Taiyanna Jackson and Holly Kersgieter have each announced their intention to exercise the option for an extra year of eligibility, as granted by the NCAA for student-athletes in response to the impact COVID-19 had on college athletics during the 2020-21 season.
Jackson was a unanimous All-Big 12 First Team and All-Big 12 Defensive Team selection in 2022-23, while Franklin earned also All-Big 12 First Team honors. Kersgieter received All-Big 12 Honorable Mention, her third All-Big 12 selection as a Jayhawk. Kansas also welcomes back Wyvette Mayberry and Chandler Prater, who combined to start 64 games last season, while adding one of the highest-rated recruits in program history in five-star prospect S’Mya Nichols of Overland Park, Kansas.