Sutherland's Second Half Surge Plays Pivotal Role in KU Victory
Dec. 1, 2011
LAWRENCE, Kan. – It may have been a chilly night outside Allen Fieldhouse Thursday, but senior Aishah Sutherland did not let the temperature affect her game, as she warmed up in the second half, pouring in 10 of her total 14 points.
The 6-2 forward scored just four points in the first 20 minutes versus SMU, but found her stroke in the second, getting to the basket a total of eight times and converting on five of those chances.
“I came out of the first half in foul trouble, so I began the second half a bit more focused,” Sutherland said. “I knew I was not that productive early on, so I needed to get a lot more shots in the second half.”
Sutherland found those shots rather easily, netting six points in a little more than six minutes early on in the second half. The combination of her and teammate Carolyn Davis made SMU coach Rhonda Rompola, shake her head. The duo combined for 31 points and 10 rebounds against her Mustangs.
“I’m sure I am not the first coach to sit here and try to figure out how to defend Davis and Sutherland,” Rompola said at her post game press conference. “I think Kansas has the best duo of post players around.”
Sutherland went 2-for-4 from the field in the first half, netting a jumper and a lay-up almost 10 minutes apart from one another. Her coach sees her second half improvement as a matter of hustle as well as shot selection.
“She runs well in transition and gets to the defensive glass,” KU coach Bonnie Henrickson said. “She has been so good for us on the offensive glass the last couple games.”
The senior’s performance under the boards gave her six rebounds for the contest, two more than her counterpart, Davis.
“We have told Aishah that from 15 feet if you can rip and drive or catch and shoot there is going to be room for you to do that,” Henrickson said. “That is because she is talented enough in rhythm to be a really good 15-foot jump shooter.”
“The middle is usually the most open spot on the court and that gap where I shoot is usually pretty open,” Sutherland explained. “When teams crowd the middle of the floor it will get other people open. From that spot I can see the whole floor and pass it to whoever is open.”
While number 11 was the one taking the majority of the shots from that spot on the floor Thursday night, she was able to create chances for others in the Crimson and Blue, dishing out one assist and coming away with two steals against the Mustangs.
Sutherland has now scored double-digits in all but one game this season, and is averaging 13.5 points per contest. The senior from Perris, Calif., will look to make it seven out of eight games in double figures as she and the Jayhawks take the floor against Alabama in Tuscaloosa Sunday, Dec. 4.