Engelman Provides Spark As She Returns To Starting Lineup

Dec. 17, 2011

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Junior guard Monica Engelman had not started the previous four games, but she was called upon Saturday night against UMKC and made the most of her opportunity. Engelman was a key cog that helped the Jayhawks pull away from UMKC, 77-52 in Allen Fieldhouse.

She got off to a hot start as she scored 10 of her 14 points in the first half off of 4-for-6 shooting, while also knocking down a pair of free throws. The hot start seemed to be exactly what she needed after shooting only 35 percent from the field over her past three games.

“I was just trying to put myself in a rhythm and not think about it too much,” the San Antonio, Texas native said. “I just have to do what I’ve been doing (my whole career).”

Coming into the season Engelman was arguably the best outside shooter Kansas had on its roster, but after tonight’s contest, Engelman has made just two threes.

“We’re going to have to let her play through it,” said head coach Bonnie Henrickson on Engelman’s shooting. “It was good to see Moni (Engelman) get back on track and get a little bounce back in her step. Turnover-wise she has to make better decisions, but I thought her rhythm was better from the field.”

She played a total of 31 minutes on the night, which are the most minutes she has played in her last six games.

“That’s what I’ve been trying to work towards, so it’s good to get back into the starting lineup,” Engelman said.

Aside from her 14 points off 5-for-11 shooting, she also finished with three rebounds, two assists and a block.

“She looked more confident tonight,” Henrickson said. “Other than the turnovers, which has nothing to do with her shooting, we’re going to need the kid to score. There isn’t a person in the locker room that doesn’t believe that. She’s one of the best shooters we’ve had here. She’ll get out of it. It’s just going to take more work, which means getting in the gym and even watching some film. Tonight should give her some confidence.”

Engelman and her 10 points were an integral piece that helped the Jayhawks go on an 18-4 run late in the first half to give KU a big enough cushion to cruise to their ninth win of the season. After both teams traded baskets for a majority of the first half, the big run helped KU to a 39-21 halftime advantage.

“It’s always fun (to go on a big run), especially when you get it from what you are doing on the defensive end,” said Henrickson. “Getting out in transition gives us momentum.”

Kansas will play the third contest of its four-game homestand when it hosts Oral Roberts on Wednesday, Dec. 21. Tip-off for the game is slated for 7 p.m. at Allen Fieldhouse.