Sutherland Impressive In First Start
Nov. 1, 2009
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
In an 86-56 victory over Pittsburg State in which four Jayhawks scored in double figures, sophomore Aishah Sutherland’s performance may have been the most impressive. Setting the tempo early, Sutherland paced the team in the first half with 20 points and nine rebounds.
Head coach Bonnie Henrickson said that the sophomore forward was one of the players that stood out to her, noting that Sutherland found most of her opportunities while in transition.
“The post players realize that if they run they will get the ball,” said Henrickson. “That’s how she [Aishah] got most of her looks. It’s not like we went to her one-on-one much.”
With the presence of redshirt-freshman Angel Goodrich on the court, the Jayhawks were able to speed up the game and the players said that they fully expected the change in pace to continue as the season progresses.
“I expect to play like this and run the floor,” Sutherland said. “As long as they see me up the floor, I’ll put the same numbers up.”
In her first start as a Jayhawk, Sutherland played 26 minutes and finished the day with 20 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks and two steals. Her 20-point performance surpassed her previous career-best of 15 points.
There is no doubt that a performance like today’s game will prove to be a confidence booster for Sutherland. Both Henrickson and Sutherland said they thought that the forward was playing with more confidence than last season.
“She’s starting to play more confidently when she catches it at the free throw line and no one was in front of the rim, she just put it on the floor and went and tried to go score,” Henrickson said. “She wouldn’t have done that last year.”
Recalling the end of last season, Sutherland said that there were times when she wasn’t as poised in her time on the court and would look to pass before taking it to the rim.
“I feel way more comfortable out there,” Sutherland said. “Last year I wasn’t as confident, I was messing up a lot, but now I’m more confident. Practice is going well and I know what I need to do.”
Sutherland’s double-double performance against the Gorillas showed Henrickson a glimpse of what she saw in KU’s five-game WNIT stretch when Sutherland averaged 11.8 points and a team-leading 9.2 rebounds.
“She has started the year where she finished off last year,” Henrickson said. “If we can just get more growth, and she recognizes that, she’s got a chance to have a really good year for us.”
Sutherland and the Jayhawks will have one more chance to polish their game when Emporia State visits for an exhibition matchup Sunday, Nov. 8, at 2 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse.