The Kansas women's basketball team heads to new Big 12 Conference member West Virginia looking to do something that hasn't happened since the 1998-99 season. The Jayhawks have a chance to open league play with a 2-0 start, as KU travels to West Virginia Saturday for a conference tilt at 6:30 p.m. CT at WVU Coliseum.
West Virginia was tabbed to finish tied for second in the Big 12 Conference Preseason Poll, as voted on by the league's head coaches. The Mountaineers received one first-place vote.
HAVEN'T SEEN THIS SINCE THE 29¢ STAMP
Kansas will be traveling to West Virginia in the first-ever Big 12 Conference meeting between the two schools. The two programs have played each other twice in the past, with KU winning both meetings, but the last game was back in 1994. A lot has changed since then. Nelson Mandela was elected president of South Africa, while U.S. figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was the victim in a crazy assault scheme in which three people were arrested, including teammate Tanya Harding. O.J. Simpson and Al Cowlings had 95 million people locked in watching their low-speed police chase, we said goodbye to Kurt Cobain, John Candy and Richard Nixon while "Friends" and "ER" debuted on NBC and set the stage for "must-see TV."
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
In the 10 Kansas victories this season, the Jayhawks have held their opponents to 36.4 percent shooting from the field and posted an +10.8 rebounding advantage. However, in the two losses, KU opponents are shooting 47.6 percent and the Jayhawks have a -14.5 rebounding deficit.
THIS KNIGHT IS SHINING
Thanks to her six-assist effort at California on Dec. 21, sophomore Natalie Knight now has enough assists (38) to register on the Big 12 Conference's season stats for assist-to-turnover ratio. Not only is she leading the league in this category with a 5.3 ratio, but she is dominating the competition by doubling the rest of the field. The second-place individual owns a 2.5 ratio, which is 2.8 behind Knight, who has only committed seven turnovers over 379 minutes this season.
ONE GIANT POINT
Senior Carolyn Davis enters the West Virginia game with 1,499 career points. With just one more point, Davis will become the 11th player in Kansas history to score 1,500 or more points in a career.
Senior Angel Goodrich led the Jayhawks with nine assists against in-state rival Kansas State Wednesday night. With the nine dimes, Goodrich now has 606 assists in her career. She joins Lisa Braddy as the only two players in KU history to post 600 or more assists in a career. Braddy dished out 686 assists.
Senior national player of the year candidates Angel Goodrich and Carolyn Davis have built a career on complimenting each other. Goodrich, the nation's assist leader last season, is only 81 assists away from becoming the all-time leader at Kansas, while Davis already is atop the all-time career field goal percentage chart and boasts a 25 percentage point lead over the closest challenger. So the duo is truly the essence of start to finish. To highlight their senior season, a promotional website KUStart2Finish.com has been created to promote these player of the year candidates.
National player of the year candidate Carolyn Davis has seen controlled minutes during the early part of the season as she works her way back from her season-ending knee injury last year. As a result, Davis is averaging just 25.1 minutes per game and is leading the team with 15.8 points per game. By prorating her production over 40 minutes, Davis would be averaging 25.1 points per game for KU.
#ALLOWING60 IS TRENDING
Over the first seven games of the season, no Kansas opponent scored 60 points in a game. However, in the last five contests, each of the Jayhawk foes have reached the 60-point plateau.
Sophomore Chelsea Gardner became the fourth player on the Kansas roster to post 20 or more points in a collegiate game when she tossed in a career-best 26 points against Grambling State. Gardner also added 10 rebounds to record the second double-double of her career. Against Minnesota, Gardner came off the bench and scored 14 points. In her last seven games combined, Gardner is averaging 12.3 points per contest, along with 5.6 rebounds per game. She also shot a combined 37-for-54 (.685) from the field.
A KNIGHT'S TALE
Sophomore Natalie Knight does all the little things that often go unnoticed, but one thing is for sure, Kansas is at its best when she is on the floor. Through 12 games, Knight leads the Jayhawks with a +12.50 plus-minus rating, which means that KU scores nearly 13 more points than its opponent per game when Knight is playing.
Senior Monica Engelman posted back-to-back double-digit scoring games against Newman and Prairie View A&M, her first in nearly a calendar year. She now has scored double-figures in three of the last four games. Engelman is averaging 7.6 points per game, ranks third on the team in rebounding with 5.1 boards per contest and ranks third in assists with 37.
SHE GIVETH and SHE TAKETH AWAY
Angel Goodrich led KU against Kansas State with nine assists and two steals. That effort marked the 43rd game in her career where she posted the team high in assists and steals in the same game.
FIRST WADE, THEN WOODEN, NOW NAISMITH
Kansas seniors Carolyn Davis and Angel Goodrich are two of the 25 NCAA Division I women's basketball student-athletes to be named to the 2012-13 State Farm® Wade Trophy Watch List. The Kansas duo has also been tabbed for John R. Wooden Award Women's Preseason Top-30 List, and are both on the 50-player list for the 2012-13 Naismith Women's College Player of the Year presented by AT&T early season watch list.
O CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
For the third-straight season, seniors Carolyn Davis and Angel Goodrich will serve as team captains for the Jayhawks during the 2012-13 campaign.
Kansas is ranked in the Associated Press Top-25 Poll for the seventh-straight week, coming it at No. 21. KU has also been ranked in the USA Today Coaches Poll each of the nine previous weeks this season, including a No. 20 ranking in this week's poll.
MASTERS OF THEIR CRAFT
The senior writers of espnW collaborated and came up with the top-five players in the nation by position. Once again, Angel Goodrich and Carolyn Davis found themselves among the nation's elite. Goodrich was classified as one of the country's top-five point guards, while Davis was tabbed as one of the nation's best five centers.
SHOWING A LOT OF CLASS
Prior to the start of the regular season, senior Angel Goodrich was named one of 30 national finalists for the prestigious Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.
JOINING THE CLUB
With 10 points against Kansas State on Jan. 2, Monica Engelman became the 25th player in Kansas history to join the 1,000-point club. Engelman now has 1,008 career points and joins Carolyn Davis as 1,000-point scorers on the roster. Also keep an eye on Angel Goodrich, who is looking to join the club and only needs 55 points.
A NATIONAL LEADER
Senior Angel Goodrich entered this season as the reigning national champion in assists per game. Goodrich paced the Jayhawks with a school and Big 12 record 250 assists last season, or 7.4 per game. Goodrich currently averages 6.7 assists per game.
THAT 70's SHOW
Kansas' success during the Bonnie Henrickson-era has been pretty much based on 70 points. When the Jayhawks score 70 or more points, Kansas owns a 95-10 record (.905) during her tenure. When KU opponents score less than 70 points, the Jayhawks are 129-68 (.655) during that span.
When Carolyn Davis scores 20 or more points in a game, the Jayhawks usually come out on top. Davis has 31 20-point efforts in her career and KU boasts a 26-5 (.839) record in those contests.
WHAT DOES FIVE DIMES EQUAL?
In addition to being 50 cents, five dimes from Angel Goodrich in a game also equals a good chance for a Kansas victory. Goodrich has collected five or more assists 74 times in her career with the Jayhawks and KU was victorious in 52 of those games for a .703 winning percentage.
HOW SWEET IT IS
Kansas returned to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 last season for the first time since 1998. It marked the third time in school history that the Jayhawks advanced to the Sweet 16 and was Kansas' 12th NCAA Tournament appearance.
PLAN FOR POSTSEASON
Faithful followers of the Kansas women's basketball program have learned to plan for postseason play. In Bonnie Henrickson's eight previous seasons with the Jayhawks, KU has advanced to postseason play six times, including five straight. In fact, in Henrickson's head coaching career, she has led her team to postseason play 13 times in 15 seasons.
How does a top-25 program stay in the national polls? Sign a top-25 recruiting class. That's exactly what head coach Bonnie Henrickson and her staff did during the early signing period, inking the No. 14-ranked recruiting class in the nation, according to Collegiate Girls Basketball Report, and the top among Big 12 Conference schools. The class also ranked No. 25 nationally by Blue Star Basketball. The Jayhawks signed Jada Brown (6-0, F, Las Vegas, Nev.), Dakota Gonzalez (6-0, G, Pocatello, Idaho), Dylan Gonzalez (6-0, G, Pocatello, Idaho), Caelynn Manning-Allen (6-4, F, Chicago, Ill.) and Keyla Morgan (5-8, G, Rancho Dominguez, Calif.).