Sutherland's Balanced Attack Spurs Jayhawks To Win Over Washburn

Nov. 8, 2010

Kansas junior forward Aishah Sutherland finished Sunday’s 80-46 win over Washburn with a modest 20 minutes of court time. However, what she was able to do during that stretch stands out.

While sophomores Monica Engelman and Carolyn Davis led the way in scoring with 20 and 15 points, respectively, Sutherland was busy stuffing the stat sheet with eight points, four rebounds, four blocks and a steal to help propel her team to an unblemished exhibition season.

“That is my job,” said Sutherland, who is majoring in Sociology. “I’m just supposed to come in and get some points, get some rebounds, get some blocks if I can.”

The Perris, Calif., native is one of the more athletic players on the Jayhawk roster and uses that to her advantage.

“I have long arms,” said Sutherland, who has started 29 games during her first two seasons in Lawrence. “Most teams think of me as a shot blocker, but I can also use my length to get steals and rebounds.”

Sutherland knows that aside from her defense and rebounding, her shooting is a vital component of the well-balanced threat she poses to other teams. That’s why she wasn’t satisfied with her 4-of-9 shooting performance from the field against Washburn. In her mind, the eight points on the final box score should have registered double digits.

“My shot was a little off,” said Sutherland, who ranked fifth in the Big 12 Conference in field goal percentage as a sophomore. “I even had an air ball from the corner in the first half that I should have just drove instead, but I need to work on my decision making and then my shot will fall more consistently.”

Sutherland was happy to see some of her other teammates get some buckets, while providing some much needed muscle under the basket.

“When we are balanced and everyone scores, it’s better and we win,” said Sutherland, who is KU’s leading returning rebounder from last season. “When it’s just one person scoring, it is easier for defenses to shut down our team, but when everyone scores we are tough to guard and will be hard to stop.”

In the end Sutherland knows her performance Sunday against the Lady Blues won’t count toward her career totals, but it does go a long way in telling her and her teammates what they need to work on before their season opener against South Dakota on Sunday, Nov. 14.

“These games are all about preparation,” said Sutherland. “We need to see what we have to fix, go back to practice and fix it.”

For Sutherland, practice will focus less on being great at one facet for KU, and more on being good at everything she does for the Jayhawks.