Kansas Set To Host Illinois State In WNIT Semifinals Wednesday

March 31, 2009


Game Notes in PDF Format


The Kansas women’s basketball team will host Illinois State on Wednesday evening at 7 p.m., in Allen Fieldhouse in a Women’s NIT Semifinal game. Illinois State (27-7, 15-3 MVC) advanced to Wednesday’s game by defeating Indiana, 66-55, on Sunday afternoon at home, while the Jayhawks moved into Wednesday’s game by knocking off New Mexico, 78-69, on the road Monday evening. Kansas (21-13, 6-10 Big 12) will be playing in the WNIT Semifinals for the first time in program history. The Kansas-Illinois State winner will advance to face the winner of the other Semifinal game between Boston College and South Florida in the WNIT Championship on Saturday.

Adult tickets for Wednesday’s game are $6; youth tickets are $5. Admission is free for any KU student with a valid ID. Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-800-34HAWKS or by visiting the Kansas Athletics website at www.kuathletics.com.


-Kansas has won eight of its last 10 games, including wins over Top-25-ranked teams #5 Baylor and #22 Iowa State. The Jayhawks have also won their last five home games and own a 15-3 mark in Allen Fieldhouse this season, including a perfect 10-0 mark versus non-conference opponents.

-Junior guard-forward Danielle McCray has scored 20 or better in 21-of-34 games on the season, including 30 or more points in five games. McCray, who is leading KU with 21.2 points per game, ranks fifth on the KU single-season scoring chart with 722 points on the season. She has averaged 30.7 points and 10.0 rebounds in KU’s three games WNIT games.

-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 19.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.4 steals during the five-game postseason stretch.

-KU freshman forward Aishah Sutherland has also been solid for KU over the last five games. Sutherland has averaged 11.2 points and 7.6 rebounds and has connected on 23-of-41 shots from the field, good for 56.1 percent, over the last five 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.

-Jayhawk senior Ivana Catic dished five assists against no turnovers in Kansas’ win at New Mexico in the WNIT Quarterfinals. She had already collected 27 dimes against just three turnovers in KU’s other four postseason outings, giving her 32 assists, comparied to just three miscues during her last five games.


Illinois State is 27-7 on the year, with wins over NCAA Tournament teams Wisconsin-Green Bay and Evansville. The Redbirds finished 15-3 in the Missouri Valley Conference this season, claiming the regular season title. Illinois State is led on the season by senior All-American candidate Kristi Cirone with 18.6 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. Cirone, who was named MVC Player of the Year, had 10 points and five steals in the Redbirds win over Indiana in the WNIT Quarterfinals. Junior guard Maggie Krick is also in double figures with 12.6 points per game, and pulls down 4.0 caroms per contest. Junior center Nicolle Lewis is the top rebounder for the Redbirds as she grabs 7.4 boards per game. Lewis adds 10.1 points, while junior forward Ashleen Bracey turns in 9.2 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. ISU outscores its opponents by over 11 points per game and pulls down over four more rebounds per game than its foes. The Redbirds shoot 73.3 percent from the foul line, led by Krick who has made 82.2 percent of her free throws. Cirone leads ISU with 66 triples on the season. Illinois State head coach Robin Pingeton is 116-72 in her sixth season with the Redbirds. Her overall coaching record is 310-148 in her 14th season in the business.


Wednesday’s game will mark the fourth meeting between Kansas and Illinois State with the Jayhawks leading the series 3-0. Kansas head coach Bonnie Henrickson and ISU head coach Robin Pingeton will be meeting for the first time in their coaching careers as neither coach has faced the opposing team in their respective careers. The two teams have not met since 1995 when the Jayhawks defeated ISU, 91-66, in Normal, Ill.


Kansas enters Wednesday’s game with a 21-13 overall record, including a 6-10 ledger in Big 12 Conference play after picking up eight wins its its last 10 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 7.6 points per game. McCray tops the Jayhawk scorers with 21.2 points per game, while Morris adds 12.7. Sophomore Krysten Boogaard is next with 8.7 points per game. In addition, Nicollette Smith and LaChelda Jacobs are adding 6.6 and 6.1 points per game, respectively. KU is shooting 45.9 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 53.0 percent. The Jayhawks have recorded 238 steals on the season, led by McCray with 48 pilfers. Ivana Catic is the leader in assists with 123 dimes, while Jacobs has dished 106 assists and Morris 80. McCray is pulling down a team-leading 7.9 rebounds and Boogaard is grabbing 5.4 per game. Kansas is also shooting well from the three-point line as it has connected on 157-of-413 shots from beyond the arc, good for 38.0 percent, tops in the Big 12 Conference. McCray is leading the way from beyond the arc as she has knocked 76-of-175 shots. Ivana Catic leads the Jayhawks from the foul line as she has connected on 29-of-33 attempts. McCray has connected on 83.5 percent of her foul shots.


-Kansas and Illinois State have two ties that bind when connecting the men’s and women’s basketball programs. KU men’s basketball junior guard Sherron Collins and ISU junior forward Kenyatta Shelton both prepped at Crane Tech in Chicago. In addition, ISU men’s basketball head coach Tim Jankovich was an assistant coach at Kansas for four season prior to taking his current position with the Redbirds.

-The Jayhawks and Redbirds have shared two common opponent this season in Creighton and Marquette. ISU went 2-1 versus the two teams, splitting with Creighton and defeating Marquette in the WNIT Third Round. KU also posted a 2-1 mark against those two foes. The Jayhawks defeated Creighton twice, once during the regular season and also in the WNIT Second Round. KU fell at Marquette in December.


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 5-2 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’ three wins in the 2009 WNIT, KU is 5-2 in WNIT games under head coach Bonnie Henrickson.


Make Kansas 22-13 for the first time since the 1998-1999 season … Give the Jayhawks a 4-0 mark versus Illinois State, including a 2-0 mark in games played in Allen Fieldhouse … Give Kansas a win in the WNIT semifinals for the first time in school history … Make KU 80-28 all-time versus Missouri Valley Conference schools … Improve Kansas head coach Bonnie Henrickson to 1-0 versus Illinois State … Give Henrickson a 79-78 mark at Kansas and a 237-140 overall record … Make Kansas 675-476 all time.


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.