Davis, Gardner propel women’s basketball past Golden Gophers

Ashleigh Lee/KANSAN
Senior guard Angel Goodrich goes for a layup during yesterday’s game against Minnesota in Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks won 65-53.

After another punch to the gut in the opening minutes, the Kansas Jayhawks rallied in the second half to improve to 7-0 on the year as they defeated the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

For the second straight game, the No. 20 ranked Jayhawks found themselves looking at an early deficit only to find a spark to climb out of it to get the 65-53 victory.

The much needed spark came from the bench as sophomore forward Chelsea Gardner, who backed up her career-high 26 with 14 points yesterday evening, and junior guard CeCe Harper. Kansas coach Bonnie Henrickson credited the bench for giving the Jayhawks the edge in the match-up.

“I don’t know if we get out that one alive,” Henrickson said. “With how the game played out in foul trouble, I couldn’t be more pleased with how our bench played.”

The Jayhawks had to rely on the bench play even more as the foul trouble started to increase. Senior guard Angel Goodrich picked up four fouls and senior forward Carolyn Davis picked up three, which forced the Henrickson to go to her bench for a more substantial amount of time.

“We have a lot of good team camaraderie and know what each other can do,” Harper said. “So we all just try and come in and contribute either way it goes.”

Minnesota’s top shooter, sophomore guard Rachel Banham, had 19 points but was held in check by Harper in the second half.

“I just knew she was a great one-on-one player, so it was more about staying under her and deny her the ball so she couldn’t get it,” Harper said.

In the opening minutes of the game, Henrickson said she could see the team wasn’t ready for the physicality and aggressiveness that the Big 10 Golden Gophers brought to Allen Fieldhouse.

“Big 10 teams are typically more physical,” Henrickson said of the 10-3 start for Minnesota. “It’s what they bring and they’re built to be. We responded, we reacted a little bit with shell-shock but then we settled down and made some adjustments.”

It was points in the paint that helped the Jayhawks settle down. Davis had a team-high 20 points on 8-11 shooting paired with Gardner’s 14 points.

“It’s great to have inside presence with either Chelsea or Carolyn,” sophomore guard Natalie Knight said. “That’s our goal: to get the ball inside to whoever is down low.”

Knight became the floor general for the Jayhawks once Goodrich — who had nine points, six assists and four steals — kept finding herself on the bench with foul trouble. But for Knight, she said being in charge doesn’t phase her.

“I just have to be more aggressive at the point guard position, get the play started and lead my team,” Knight said.

With the foul situations the way it was, it fell on the production of the bench to maintain the lead and eventually close it out. Harper said it wasn’t a huge deal because the team has great chemistry and with that, they know each other’s roles.

“We have a lot of good team camaraderie and know what each other can do,” Harper said. “So we all just try and come in and contribute either way it goes.”

  • Updated Dec. 2, 2012 at 10:51 pm
  • Edited by Brittney Haynes