Jayhawks Set Sights On Upcoming Season With Backcourt Confidence

Oct. 27, 2011

LAWRENCE, Kan. – As the wind blows a bit colder and the leaves start to change color, two things are inevitable: it’s October and the start of the basketball season is upon us.

The 2011-12 Kansas women’s basketball season starts next week and although that may seem fairly soon, the team has been preparing all month for the upcoming season.

“Our conference presents a tremendous amount of challenges with the quality of players and teams in our league,” said Jayhawk head coach Bonnie Henrickson.

But ready to do battle is a deep is a deep and experienced backcourt that has added three extremely talented newcomers. Incoming freshmen Natalie Knight, Asia Boyd, and Donielle Breaux are looking to take the court by storm and improve the Jayhawks’ 21-13 record from the 2010-11 season.

“Natalie (Knight) is a young lady that can knock down the open shot. She guards and has been able to pick up defensive concepts quick for a freshman,” Henrickson said.

“Donielle (Breaux) has a competitive streak in her that is really going to help us at this level, and Asia (Boyd) is a capable three-point shooter that brings range and brings size. Her attitude is good every day.”

Henrickson went on to say Boyd reminds her a lot of former Jayhawk All-American Danielle McCray.

But as the season ahead is as uncertain as any other, Jayhawk fans can take solace that returning junior guards Monica Engelman and Angel Goodrich and sophomore guards CeCe Harper and Keena Mays are sure to take the court by storm.

Captains Goodrich and Engelman are looking to make the team better by improving themselves-no small task considering Goodrich led the league in assists and smashed the Allen Fieldhouse record for most assists in a game for both women’s and men’s basketball last season.

“They both have high expectations of themselves. That’s really good for young players to be around. Neither one of them has an ounce of selfishness in them; they put team first,” KU’s eighth-year head coach said of her experienced backcourt leaders.

With three incoming freshmen on the rise and four returning guards, two of which are team captains, the defensive squad is looking to breakdown its opponents before they even get started. As the competition grows ever stronger, the Jayhawks know what must be done to be successful.

“If you start to not show up for practice, just plow through and just put in time, you start to do that on game night,” explained Henrickson. “The more consistent we are in practice, the more likely we’ll be consistent in games. Our sights are set on improving every day and getting better individually makes us a better team.”

Henrickson acknowledges that the NCAA Tournament is most certainly on every player’s mind, but that shouldn’t be the only priority for the season. As the team experiences gains and hardships throughout the season, Henrickson stresses that their theme will not change; it will always be go hard.

Kansas women’s basketball opens its 2011-12 season Wednesday, Nov. 2 in an exhibition game versus Emporia State. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse.