Henrickson And The Jayhawks Meet The Media

Oct. 10, 2007

LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas women’s basketball team held its annual Media Day Wednesday afternoon in Allen Fieldhouse. Head coach Bonnie Henrickson and the Jayhawk players had the following to say regarding the 2007-08 season.

Head Coach Bonnie Henrickson

Opening Statement:

“Good afternoon. Well, it’s that time of year again and we are definitely looking forward to getting in the gym and kicking off the official start of the season. We had a great trip to Australia in August and were able to get some practice time in then that I think will greatly help us in the coming season. Since we returned, we have been very happy with the individual workouts the players have had and we are encouraged by the improvements they have made. I like our speed on the wing, our athleticism and our size has improved obviously with Krysten (Boogaard) and Nicollette (Smith) to give us some much needed height inside. I like Chakeitha (Weldon’s) athleticism, Sade Morris has put on about 10 pounds, gotten stronger and is playing more confidently. Danielle McCray is adjusting to life at the wing after playing inside for most of last year. She played very well in Australia, but her teammates of done a great job of challenging her everyday. They have not made anything easy on her. Overall, I am ready to get the season underway. We have a lot of work to do before we play any games, but I am looking forward to practice and I believe the players are as well. They are probably more worried about their Late Night performances, but we will let them have their fun on Friday and then get to work.” On sophomore guard-forward Danielle McCray’s improvement from last year:
“Night and day. Danielle is completely different than she was a year ago. Coming off the procedure she had on her shin, she had a rude awakening on the pace of the game, the intensity of the game and what would be expected of her everyday. She was behind everyone, not just the upperclassman; she was behind the freshman because she hadn’t been involved in anything. But now she’s confident. She played well in Australia and she’s definitely gaining confidence.”

On junior guard Ivana Catic:
“Very competitive. She is very competitive. There are times when she struggles defensively on what I expect from her, but that is a kid who can make a play. She understands the game. Making a play on weak side help, deflecting the ball out of bounds, she can be a difference maker from that end. I think she is starting to buy into that and realizing that it is important to her. Offensively, she is doing what we need her to do. She gets the ball to people that can score, if she’s wide open she takes the shot.”

On expectations for sophomore guard Kelly Kohn:
“Hopefully she can just be more consistent offensively and for her defensively to have the confidence to go up and guard people. Her intensity, her passion, her competitiveness is what gave her an edge last year. Honestly, she was one of the only freshmen who didn’t ride the roller coaster all last year. That kid was pretty consistent. She led us in minutes and led us in scoring which is a lot to be said about a freshman. From an intangibles standpoint she still leads that charge, with her and Taylor (McIntosh), where we probably get the most emotion from. She can carry that torch for us.”

On the competitiveness of Kohn:
“Not every great player is competitive. The first time I realized it, I was shocked and every time you realize it, it is a shock that someone with tremendous talent isn’t very competitive. But she is very talented and very, very competitive. It’s good in that it is contagious to everybody else. She has the ability to influence others and she can bring it out of people.”

On senior forward Taylor McIntosh:
“Offensively, what a great job she did for us. She made that stretch with six out of seven games in double figures. If we can come to expect that out of Taylor than we are a whole lot better offensively. It takes some pressure off of some of our other players, our perimeter players. We’ve been perimeter dominated because we have just not had somebody that we could throw it into and have a 50-50 chance of scoring. And she’s the voice. She is not afraid to get after them and she’s brutally honest, but they all respect Taylor because the talks the talk and the walks the walk.”

On the expectations for the team this season:
“I’m really excited about our speed and athleticism. I’m excited about the growth of our freshman class last year to sophomores this year. I’m cautiously optimistic that we have a chance to be pretty good. I think we can grow from our experience last year. We have worked pretty hard individually, we had a lot of kids that spent a lot of time in Allen Fieldhouse since we finished last year.”

On building off of last year’s impressive finish:
“We wouldn’t have gotten to that point and played so hard if (the players) didn’t believe in what we were doing. I think Kelly Kohn said it best when she said `I’ve never worked so hard in my life and been so unsuccessful in my life.’ But she believed in what we were doing. I give them credit because everyday they came back and were saying `okay, who are we playing next.’ You don’t have that kind of success at the end of the year if kids don’t believe in what you are doing, believe in each other and believe in themselves. And they did and we should be able to build on that.”

On the non-conference schedule:
“In our league, in the Big 12, you have to go 8-8 to make the NCAA tournament. Historically, if your 8-8, your going to make it. Everyone that has gone 8-8 has made it. With 13 other (non-conference) games to play with you have to go `do I want to go 10-3 or 12-1 or 13-0.’ It’s important for us to be successful and learn how to win. That schedule was too difficult for us last year. That was tough and it’s nobody’s fault but mine. The kids did a great job of rebounding from each one. We have 14 games that are against teams that were in the NCAA tournament. So I think it is similar (to last year). I think the lessons we learned from last year with more toughness and discipline. If we have more of that I think we’ll have a better non-conference record this year.”

Senior Forward Taylor McIntosh
On the trip to Australia:
“I think it helped people fit into their roles more. We did a lot of team bonding on and off the court. Porscha and Sade were the two players who played the best while we were over there. I think it allowed the younger people to gain more confidence and more experience.”

On the freshmen:
“I think they are fitting in well. Nicollette is similar to Rebecca. She is a face up post player. She shoots really well and gets the shot off really quick. Krysten gives us more height and we really need the height.”

On the team’s experience:
“I think we just have to learn to play the whole game. A lot of games we would start out good, but would go through a slump where we wouldn’t score for a long time. Coach would tell us that every possession counts because we were only down three or four points. We turned it around at the end of the season, but it was kind of too late. The people who were successful at the end of last season have confidence going into this season.”

On the team goals:
“To me it is to be more consistent, to play hard for 40 minutes and to cut down on our turnovers. We don’t have anything specific yet. We just want to be better than we were last year.”

On her personal goals:
“I want to keep the level defensively that I was at last year. I want to be more aggressive offensively and not wait until we are down to the last shot. I just want to be involved and help give other people energy during the game.”

Senior forward Jamie Boyd
On senior leadership:
“We have a really young team. We have five upper classman and everyone is doing their part to lead and show the underclassmen a good example.”

On the ultimate goal for this season:
“Our ultimate goal is to make it to the tournament, but with that improving and getting better every single game.”

Junior Guard Ivana Catic
On the trip to Australia:
“It was a really great experience as far as getting a couple of practices in. Practicing together gives us a great competitive advantage. The whole trip was a great bonding experience. It was a whole different setting. It wasn’t your typical gameday where we go through shoot around, tape and things like that. We were just able to play the games and have fun.”

On the freshmen:
“Nicollette (Smith), Chakeitha (Weldon) and Krysten (Boogaard) have great personalities. They are all committed to KU. They do the things we need right now and we need them to step up as freshmen. The Big 12 is a good conference and we need everyone to step up.”

On the team’s improvement:
“I think the fact that we have six people that are sophomores as opposed to being freshmen last year will help a lot. Going through those games and going back and looking at what we could have done differently will help a lot. The process of practice and training and going hard everytime. That is what will help us win more close games.”

Junior forward Marija Zinic
On her outlook for the upcoming season:
“We made a lot of progress at the end of last season. We continued to work hard through the spring and during the off-season. We have a lot of young players. We have to continue to listen and stay focused and be more consistent.”

On Kansas’ play in Australia:
“It was a great experience to play against other teams who were older and more experienced from a basketball perspective. It was different and I think we moved the ball well and did a great job running in transition. We made a lot of improvements that will help us this season.

On her personal goals:
“My goal is to be consistent because last year I struggled with that. I need to fill my role – rebound, run up and down the floor in transition and play hard at the post.”

On her leadership role as a veteran player:
“Everyone has stepped up as a leader; even the freshmen have found themselves in leadership positions at one point or another. That is a good thing because everyone needs to step up and that is the only way that we can count on each other to give 100 percent of themselves.”

Junior Guard Katie Smith
On her expectations for the upcoming year:
“For the team, we want to make the NCAA Tournament. We have some talented freshmen this year and our senior class has stepped up and taken a great leadership role. We don’t have seven freshmen on the team this year, so experience is going to help us out a lot. I think a realistic goal for us is to make the tournament. We have the talent, and we definitely have the drive.”

On her leadership role:
“It just comes naturally to me. It just comes from a love for the game and getting caught up in the moment. In women’s basketball, we feed off the energy, we feed off the fans; we feed off the bench. Wherever we can get energy, we feed off of. If I can help in that way, that is a big role for me.”

On improvements in her game:M/i>
“I have been working on my three-point shot. I talked to Bonnie about becoming more of a three-point threat this year and hopefully just producing more that way.”

Sophomore guard/forward Danielle McCray
In being named preseason All Big 12 Honorable mention:
“I think it’s great. I really didn’t know about it until now. It’s definitely an honor to have my name on that list, but those types of awards are a lot better after you have played the games because then you have proven that you are deserving. I am looking forward to proving with my play throughout the season that my name belongs listed next to all of those others.”

On improving for her sophomore season:
“I think there are going to be many improvements I’ve been working hard in the off season I feel that this year is going to be a great year for me as well as my team.”

On how experience will help in close games:
“I think so. It was kind of tough as a freshman being in that predicament, but if that situation were to happen again I think that we’d get over it because we’ve been in that situation before. It helps us out a lot.”

Sophomore Forward-Center Rebecca Feickert
On the upcoming season:
“I feel that, as a team and specifically that my class has had a year of experience, we are really excited to get out and show the improvements we have made over the summer and just how comfortable we are now with Bonnie’s (Henrickson) system.”

On her goals for the season:
“Individually, I am rehabbing my wrist, so my main focus is to start out practice well and to get healthy. I think our main goal is to come out every game with great intensity and to show how much we have improved.”

On her excitement for the upcoming year:
“I am extremely excited. We have worked so hard in the off-season with coach (Andrea) Hudy, getting everybody ready and in shape and incorporating the freshmen into our system. We are all just excited to get the season going, and I think Late Night is going to be a lot of fun.”

Sophomore Guard Sade Morris
On changes from her freshman year:
“The biggest change I have noticed is that I feel more comfortable just playing the game. I can see how much better we all have gotten from practices and going to Australia.”

On the team’s improvements:
“We have made a wonderful improvement. I feel that as a team, we have gotten better defensively and we have gotten better offensively. If something doesn’t work for us, we can figure out different ways to do it.”

On her goals for the season:
“My personal goals are to just do better than I did last year. Our team goal is to reach the NCAA Tournament.”

Sophomore Guard Kelly Kohn
On the mentality of the team:
“I think we definitely have a different mentality this year. I think our bonding and gelling is just as good as last year was. We have so much more experience coming back. We are no longer seven freshmen, we all have a year of experience. We know what to expect throughout the season and once we get into conference play. I think we all have a much better idea of what it will take to be successful this year.”

On her off-season improvement:
“I spent a lot of time on my ball handling and wearing work gloves while I was dribbling so I had a better feel for the ball. I wore goggles so I had to look straight out and not down. A lot of consistency on my shooting and shooting the ball the same way every time so that it will be a lot more different than last year.”

On the best part of the Australia trip:
“The Great Barrier Reef. Words can hardly explain it. Going underneath and snorkeling and really getting to see it, it’s like a whole different world underneath the water.”

On the benefits of the trip to Australia:
“I think it was great for us. It was great extra time for us to get together and spend time together. We got to practice and play basketball too, but at the same time we got to do things that a family would on a vacation. The coaches and administration did a great job of planning things for us to do. We couldn’t have had a better trip.”

On the schedule:
“I think that we are all really excited for conference this year. I feel like we going to have much better results than we did last year as far as our wins and losses. I think most of us just have the number 20 in our heads. We want to win 20 games and we want to go to the NCAA tournament. I don’t think we care who it is at this point we just want to get those wins.”

Sophomore Guard LaChelda Jacobs:
On this being the year that Kansas breaks out:
“I just think that we had a lot of momentum going from last year after beating K-State. We are more experienced after having seven freshmen last year.”

On the maturity of the sophomore class:
“We handled (the early playing time) well last year. Coach allowed us to play as freshmen and we are thankful for that. We had to grow up fast and be prepared and they (coaches) prepared us right.”

On Krysten Boogaard’s post presence:
“She is a 6-5 post, so we are looking for a lot from her. She has been doing well in pickup and practice so I think she will be ready.”

On playing with Kelly Kohn:
“She is definitely a great competitor and she loves to win. She is always out there getting loose balls. I think she is a great teammate.”

Freshman guard Chakeitha Weldon
On her style of play:
“I’m a defensive player, but I also like distributing the ball to my teammates and shooting the ball off the dribble.”

On why she chose to come to Kansas:
“I watched the last game Kansas played against Baylor and I felt that I would fit into the program really well. I saw an opportunity to help out the point guard position and I thought it would be a lot of fun to play here. I have had a lot of fun playing on this team in the short time I have been here. My teammates motivate me and pump me up whenever I get down. We have a great connection and I like it here a lot.”

On her moving to Kansas from Atlanta:
“A lot of people here have tried to tell me that the weather is the same [in Kansas], but it’s not. The heat and humidity here are different from Atlanta. So far, the greatest adjustment has come in getting used to the environment and the people. But I love Kansas.”

Freshman Center Krysten Boogaard:
On being a post presence:
“I am here so hopefully I am going to try my best and do my best to work hard and see where that gets me. Hopefully we make it to the NCAA tournament. I think I will help set up the offense. When the ball comes in we can pass it out and then pass it back in. It will space everything out.”

On her style of game:
“I see myself as a scoring player, but also an all around player. I think I have picked up on a lot of things since I have been here. I am going to work my hardest and hopefully I will play because everybody here wants to start.

Freshman Forward Nicollette Smith
On her transition to college:
“I feel very comfortable. The coaches and the whole team have made me feel very comfortable with being here away from my family.”

On her personal goals:
“I want to make as big an impact on the team as I can. I want to help contribute to getting the team as far as possible. We want to make the NCAA Tournament because we haven’t been there in a long time. I just want to get on the court and help the team get as far as we can.”