Jayhawks Host South Florida In WNIT Championship Saturday
April 2, 2009
LAWRENCE, Kan. -
The Kansas women's basketball team will host South Florida on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m., in Allen Fieldhouse in the Women's NIT Championship game. South Florida (26-10, 8-8 Big EAST) advanced to Saturday's title game by defeating Boston College, 82-65, on Wednesday night on the road, while the Jayhawks moved into Saturday's game by knocking off Illinois State, 75-72, in Allen Fiedlhouse Wednesday evening. Kansas (22-13, 6-10 Big 12) will be playing in the WNIT Finals for the first time in program history. The 2009 WNIT Championship game will be broadcast live on CBS College Sports.
Kansas has won nine of its last 11 games, including wins over Top-25-ranked teams #5 Baylor and #22 Iowa State. The Jayhawks have also won their last six home games and own a 16-3 mark in Allen Fieldhouse this season, including a perfect 11-0 mark versus non-conference opponents.
First Team All-Big 12 guard-forward Danielle McCray has scored 20 or better in 22-of-35 games on the season, including 30 or more points in six games. McCray, who is leading KU with 21.5 points per game, ranks fifth on the KU single-season scoring chart with 753 points on the season. She has averaged 30.7 points and 10.0 rebounds in KU's three games WNIT games. McCray has tallied 123 points during KU's four WNIT games and needs just six points versus South Florida to tie the WNIT record for points in a tournament. Jolene Anderson of Wisconsin recorded 129 points in five games in the 2007 WNIT.
Kansas junior Sade Morris has come on strong as of late. Morris turned in a career-high 24 points in KU's win over Nebraska in the opening round of the 2009 Big 12 Championship. She also had seven rebounds, four assists and two steals versus the Cornhuskers. She went over the 20-point mark versus Creighton with 21 tallies and had another 23 versus Arkansas. She is averaging 17.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.3 steals during the six-game postseason stretch.
KU freshman forward Aishah Sutherland has also been solid for KU over the last six games. Sutherland has averaged 10.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks and has connected on 27-of-45 shots from the field, good for 60.0 percent, over the last six outings. She collected her first career double-double versus Creighton with 15 points and 12 rebounds and had eight points and 11 boards against Arkansas. She followed that up with 15 points, seven boards and four blocks at UNM. Sutherland had nine points, seven boards and three blocks in the win over ISU.
KU sophomore center Krysten Boogaard has been a force in the paint in KU's last two WNIT games. Boogaard tallied 11 points, seven rebounds and three blocks against New Mexico and followed that up with 18 points, seven rebounds and three more blocks versus Illinois State. Over the two-game stretch, Boogaard has averaged 14.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks. She has also knocked down 10-of-14 shots from the field and 9-of-11 shots from the foul line.
Jayhawk senior Ivana Catic dished six assists against three turnovers in Kansas' win over Illinois State in the WNIT Semifinals. She had already collected 32 dimes against just three turnovers in KU's other five postseason outings, giving her 38 assists, comparied to just six miscues during her last six games.
A LOOK AT SOUTH FLORIDA
South Florida is 26-10 on the year, with wins over NCAA Tournament teams Rutgers, DePaul, Iowa and Villanova. The Bulls finished 8-8 in the Big EAST Conference this season, earning the eight-seed in the conference tournament. South Florida is led on the season by senior All-Big EAST First Team honoree Shantia Grace with 14.8 points and 4.9 assists per game. Grace had 16 points and seven assists in the Bulls' win over Boston College in the WNIT Semifinals. Junior guard Janae Stokes comes off the bench to provide double figures with 12.7 points per game. Stokes has knocked down a team-leading 115 three-pointers on the season. Senior forward Jazmine Sepulveda turns in 11.7 points per game, while also leading USF with 94 steals. Senior forward Jessica Lawson leads the Bulls on the boards with 6.6 caroms per contest, while also dropping in 10.5 points. USF outscores its opponents by 12.7 points per game and pulls down nearly two more rebounds per game than its foes. The Bulls shoot 34.1 percent from beyond the arc, and have knocked down 270 threes on the year. USF has also recorded 158 more steals than its opponents. South Florida head coach Jose Fernandez is 142-133 in his ninth season with the Bulls. His overall coaching record is the same.
KANSAS-SOUTH FLORIDA SERIES HISTORY
Saturday's game will mark the first meeting between Kansas and South Florida in women's basketball. with the Jayhawks leading the series 3-0. Kansas head coach Bonnie Henrickson is also meeting USF for the first time in her coaching career. Kansas and South Florida met on the football field this season, with the Bulls rallying for a 37-34 win in Tampa.
A LOOK AT KANSAS
Kansas enters Wednesday's game with a 22-13 overall record, including a 6-10 ledger in Big 12 Conference play after picking up nine wins its its last 11 games down the stretch. Led by a pair of double figures scorers in Danielle McCray and Sade Morris, the Jayhawks are out scoring their opponents by 7.5 points per game. McCray tops the Jayhawk scorers with 21.5 points per game, while Morris adds 12.5. Sophomore Krysten Boogaard is next with 9.0 points per game. In addition, Nicollette Smith and LaChelda Jacobs are adding 6.6 and 5.9 points per game, respectively. KU is shooting 46.1 percent from the field, while holding its opponents to just 37.6 percent field goal shooting. Three different Jayhawks are making better than 50.0 percent of their shots, led by Boogaard at 53.8 percent. The Jayhawks have recorded 242 steals on the season, led by McCray with 48 pilfers. Ivana Catic is the leader in assists with 129 dimes, while Jacobs has dished 107 assists and Morris 86. McCray is pulling down a team-leading 7.8 rebounds and Boogaard is grabbing 5.4 per game. Kansas is also shooting well from the three-point line as it has connected on 158-of-422 shots from beyond the arc, good for 37.4 percent, tops in the Big 12 Conference. McCray is leading the way from beyond the arc as she has knocked 77-of-180 shots. Ivana Catic leads the Jayhawks from the foul line as she has connected on 29-of-34 attempts. McCray has connected on 83.5 percent of her foul shots.
SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION
Kansas does not field any Florida natives on its roster and likewise, South Florida does have any Sunflower State natives on its roster.
The Jayhawks and Bulls have shared three common opponents this season in Texas Tech, Iowa and Marquette. USF went 2-2 versus the three teams, defeating Iowa and Texas Tech in successive games in November and dropping both league games to Marquette in Big EAST play. KU also posted a 1-2 mark against those three foes. The Jayhawks defeated Iowa, and dropped games to Marquette and Texas Tech.
KU IN THE WNIT
KU is playing in the WNIT for the third time under its current format, and also played in the NWIT twice -- in 1978 and 1991 -- when it was an eight-team tournament. There was no NWIT tournament in 1997. In 1998, the tournament was brought back under the new name WNIT and in 1999, the field expanded to 32 teams. Last year, the tournament expanded to 48 teams. KU is 6-2 in the current WNIT format having knocked off Northern Iowa, 59-49, before falling to Ole Miss, 78-76, in the second round in 2006. KU defeated Evansville, 82-60, in Lawrence in the second round last season before dropping a 58-54 game at Michigan State in the third round in the 2008 WNIT. Combined with the Jayhawks' four wins in the 2009 WNIT, KU is 6-2 in WNIT games under head coach Bonnie Henrickson.
A KANSAS WIN WOULD...
Make Kansas 23-13 for the first time since the 1998-1999 season ... Give the Jayhawks a 1-0 mark versus South Florida, including a 1-0 mark in games played in Allen Fieldhouse ... Give Kansas a WNIT Championship for the first time in school history ... Make KU 11-7 all-time versus Big EAST Conference schools ... Improve Kansas head coach Bonnie Henrickson to 1-0 versus South Florida ... Give Henrickson a 80-78 mark at Kansas and a 238-140 overall record ... Make Kansas 676-476 all time.
A KANSAS LOSS WOULD...
Drop KU to 21-14 overall ... Give KU a loss in the semifinals of the WNIT in its first appearance ... Make the series versus ISU 3-1, including an 0-1 mark for KU head coach Bonnie Henrickson ... Give the Jayhawks a 1-1 mark versus the Redbirds in games played in Allen Fieldhouse ... Make KU 79-29 overall versus Missouri Valley Conference schools ... Drop Kansas head coach Bonnie Henrickson's record at KU to 78-79 and her overall mark to 236-141 ... Make Kansas 674-477 all time.