Late Season Surge Gives Kansas Women's Basketball Look Into the Future
April 4, 2007
With half of its roster consisting of freshmen and four new starters, the <?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>University of Kansas entered the 2006-07 season optomistic and with a goal to get better everyday. And get better they did, as the young `Hawks rallied late in the year to finish the season strong, building enthusiasm for years to come under third-year head coach Bonnie Henrickson.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>
The Jayhawks faced a schedule that at the end of the season was ranked the 33rd-toughest in the nation by www.collegeRPI.com. The slate included 20 games against teams that reached the postseason, including 12 against NCAA Tournament squads.
Kansas won four of its last seven regular season games and carried the momentum into the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship to defeat NCAA Tournament bound OklahomaState in the first round, 71-62. The tournament victory was KU’s first since 2001, giving the Jayhawks a 5-3 record down the stretch before Baylor ended KU’s run in the quarterfinals. The Jayhawks finished the season 11-20 overall and 4-12 in the Big 12.
KU opened the season with a 14-point victory over Seton Hall in the Metro Sports/WBCA Classic at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City. After a setback to Iowa in the finals, Kansas rattled off three-straight victories to open the year 4-1.
The young Kansas squad then experienced growing pains and managed two victories in its next 17 contests. Despite the defeats, the Jayhawk didn’t go down without a fight. KU held second half leads against No. 16 California and Northern Illinois and were tied at halftime against No. 25 Nebraska in Lincoln. The streak also saw heart-wrenching loses where KU was only down by a basket with under a minute to go against Xavier and Kansas State and tied with 17-seconds remaining versus Texas Tech. Minus a home loss to Iowa State, Kansas was within six-points or less in the final minutes of every game during the streak.
The Jayhawks’ late season surge started with a thrilling overtime victory against Colorado. A buzzer-beater by senior Shaquina Mosley against Texas gave KU its second-straight victory and marked the second time in two seasons the Jayhawks knocked off the Longhorns. KU made it three victories in its last four games with a double-overtime win against KansasState. The defeat of the Wildcats snapped KU’s 12-game losing streak to its in-state rivals.
In the regular season finale, Kansas spoiled Missouri’s senior night with a 70-66 victory over the Tigers in Columbia. The win meant Kansas picked up victories over rivals Missouri and KansasState in the same season for the fist time since 1999-2000.
Senior Shaquina Mosley was the spark plug for KU’s late season surge. After averaging 5.9 points in KU’s first 16 games, the Lancaster, Calif. native was inserted into the starting lineup for the Jayhawks Jan. 17 victory over Sacramento State and never looked back. Over the remaining 15 games of the season, Mosley established herself as one of the top guards in the Big 12, averaging 16.7 points, 7.1 rebounds and 4.7 assists.
Mosley hit the game-winning or go-ahead basket in KU victories over Colorado, Texas and Missouri. Mosley notched a career-high 26 points in KU’s regular season finale victory over Missouri. The 26 points were the most scored by a Jayhawk on the season. Big 12 coaches recognized Mosley’s strong play when they named her to the All-Big 12 Second Team. She finished the 2006-07 campaign leading the Jayhawks in points (11.1) and assists (115) and was second in rebounds (148).
KU’s other senior, Sharita Smith, was also instrumental in the Jayhawks’ turnaround. After playing just 83 minutes in the Jayhawks’ first 15 contests, Smith earned starts in the final 16 games. While not much of a scoring threat (2.8 ppg on the year), Smith was called upon to handle the opposing teams’ top perimeter player.
Junior Taylor McIntosh was one of two Kansas players to start every game. The Wichita, Kan. native saved her two best-offensive performance for KU’s last two victories. McIntosh scored 17 points against Missouri then finished the OklahomaState game in the Big 12 Tournament with a career-high 19 points while pulling down 13 rebounds to record her first double-double of the season.
Freshman Danielle McCray also came on late in the season to finish the year averaging 10.5 points per contest – third most among Big 12 rookies. McCray set a season high with 25 points in KU’s double overtime victory over KansasState. The Olathe, Kan. native scored in double-figures in KU’s final four games of the season and 16 total on her way to gaining a spot on the Waco Tribune-Herald’s All-Big 12 Freshman Team.
Fellow freshman Kelly Kohn joined McIntosh in the starting lineup for each of KU’s 31 games, becoming the first Kansas freshman to start every game since Jennifer Jackson during the 1997-98 season. Kohn led all Big 12 players with a 1.55 assist-to-turnover ratio in conference games. The Adrian, Mich. native led KU in minutes (1,019), steals (46) and 3-pointers made (49). Kohn became the third Jayhawk ever to be named Big 12 Freshman of the Week on Dec. 17.
After starting 15 of the Jayhawks first 16 games, freshman Sade Morris provided a spark off the bench for Kansas late in the year. Morris tallied double-figures in scoring 10 times while using her long wingspan to amass 13 blocks.
Other rookies who contributed for the Jayhawks were LaChelda Jacobs and Porscha Weddington. Jacobs scored 18 points twice during the season including against No. 9 Baylor on Jan. 6. Weddington started 12 games on the season and pulled down five or more rebounds seven times.
KU’s freshman class, which also included Rebecca Feickert and Lindsay Ballweg, combined to score 55 percent of the Jayhawks’ points and pulled down 44 percent of the rebounds on the season.
Sophomore Marija Zinic and junior Jamie Boyd contributed to the Jayhawks front court. After scoring 31 points in KU’s first two games of the season, Zinic was named to the Metro Sports/WBCA Classic All-Tournament team. A leg injury slowed Zinic mid-way through the season as the Serbia native finished with a 5.2 points per game average.
Boyd started two games during the season and saw action in 15 total. In a near homecoming against Creighton, the Underwood, Iowa native scored eight points and pulled down five rebounds to lead KU to a victory. Boyd set five career-highs during the course of the season.
Sophomore Ivana Catic saw action in 23 games including seven starts. Catic scored nine points twice on the season while dishing out 30 assists. Fellow sophomore Katie Smith entered three contests and scored her first career point on a free throw against SacramentoState.
Boyd and Catic were named Academic All-Big 12 First Team while McIntosh and Zinic were selected to the Second Team.
A total of 42,508 Jayhawk fans passed through Allen Fieldhouse’s turnstyles during KU’s 16 home games. The 2,657 fans per game ranked as the third most all-time.
2006-07 AWARD WINNERS
-Academic All-Big 12 First Team
-Academic All-Big 12 First Team
-Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week (Dec. 17)
–Waco Tribune-Herald’s Big 12 All-Freshman Team
-Academic All-Big 12 Second Team
-All-Big 12 Second Team
-Academic All-Big 12 Second Team
-Metro Sports/WBCA All-Tournament Team