The Kansas women's basketball, ranked No. 22/20 nationally, opens its Big 12 Conference season Wednesday night at 7 p.m., inside Allen Fieldhouse when the Jayhawks host in-state rival Kansas State.
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Wednesday night is the first of two scheduled Dillon's Sunflower Showdowns of the women's basketball variety, as the two in-state rivals will meet again Feb. 2, in Manhattan, Kan.
Senior Monica Engelman enters the game needing only two points to become the 25th player in Kansas history to score 1,000 points in a career.
Carolyn Davis and Angel Goodrich are both on the watch lists for the Wade Trophy, the Wooden Award and the Naismith Award, as two of the top players in the nation.
Under head coach Bonnie Henrickson, KU is 60-62 (.492) in games coming off of a loss.
Over Henrickson's tenure, the Jayhawks are 2-6 in league openers and 1-7 in their first league home game.
Goodrich enters the game riding a four-game double-digit scoring streak and leads the Jayhawks during that span with 18.0 points per game, including two 20-point performances.
For the sixth-straight week, Kansas is ranked in the Associated Press Top-25 Poll. The Jayhawks are ranked No. 22, dropping three spots after the loss at then-No. 8 Cal. The Jayhawks have been ranked each week this season in the USA Today Coaches Top-25 Poll, and are No. 20 this week.
Sophomore Natalie Knight understands ball security. Over the last seven games combined, Knight has 28 assists and only two turnovers. On the season, she has only surrendered six turnovers in 346 minutes of action.
Goodrich led the nation in assists per game with 7.4 last season and is currently averaging 6.5 assists per game this year. Goodrich was named to the preseason First Team All-Big 12 and was tabbed as a 2012 Associated Press Preseason All-America honorable mention selection.
In the first seven games of the season, no KU opponent scored more than 60 points. In the last four contests, all Kansas foes have scored 60-plus.
The Jayhawks enter the game with an 8-0 record at Allen Fieldhouse this season.
ABOUT KANSAS STATE
Kansas State is located in Manhattan, Kan., and has an enrollment of 23,566.
The Wildcats return two starters from a team that went 20-14 last season and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, before falling, 72-26, against Connecticut.
K-State was tabbed to finish ninth in the Big 12 Conference Preseason Poll, as voted on by the league's head coaches.
Senior Brittany Chambers was named to the World Vision Classic All-Tournament Team by averaging 20.3 points, 9.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.7 steals in the three games.
RINGING IN THE NEW YEAR
Head coach Bonnie Henrickson and the Kansas Jayhawks have fared well in the first game of a new year during her tenure. The Jayhawks are 5-3 in contests to open a new calendar year, including a 4-1 mark over the last five years.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
In the nine Kansas victories this season, the Jayhawks have held their opponent to 36.4 percent shooting from the field and posted an +11.9 rebounding advantage. However in the two losses, KU opponents are shooting 47.6 percent and the Jayhawks have a -14.5 rebounding deficit.
HOME SWEET HOME
Kansas is now in its 45th season playing at Allen Fieldhouse and head coach Bonnie Henrickson has built the venue into a home-court advantage for the Jayhawks. Since 2004-05, KU has posted a 107-45 record (.704) at home. Kansas owns a 395-210 (.653) all-time record on James Naismith Court at Allen Fieldhouse.
Senior national player of the year candidates Angel Goodrich and Carolyn Davis have built a career on complimenting each other. Goodrich, the nation's assist leader last season, is only 90 assists away from becoming the all-time leader at Kansas, while Davis already is atop the all-time career field goal percentage chart and boasts a 26 percentage point lead over the closest challenger. So the duo is truly the essence of start to finish. To highlight their senior season, a promotional website KUStart2Finish.com has been created to promote these player of the year candidates.
THIS KNIGHT IS SHINING
Thanks to her six-assist effort at California in her last game, sophomore Natalie Knight now has enough assists (35) to register on the Big 12 Conference's season stats for assist-to-turnover ratio. Not only is she leading the league in this category with a 5.8 ratio, but she is dominating the competition by doubling the rest of the field. The second-place individual owns a 2.7 ratio, which is 3.1 behind Knight, who has only committed six turnovers over 346 minutes this season.
National player of the year candidate Carolyn Davis has seen controlled minutes during the early part of the season as she works her way back from her season-ending knee injury last year. As a result, Davis is averaging just 24.1 minutes per game and is leading the team with 15.9 points per game. By prorating her production over 40 minutes, Davis would be averaging 26.4 points per game for KU.
#ALLOWING60 IS TRENDING
Over the first seven games of the season, no Kansas opponent scored 60 points in a game. However, in the last four contests, all four of the Jayhawk foes have reached the 60-point plateau.
Sophomore Chelsea Gardner became the fourth player on the Kansas roster to post 20 or more points in a collegiate game when she tossed in a career-best 26 points against Grambling State. Gardner also added 10 rebounds to record the second double-double of her career. Against Minnesota, Gardner came off the bench and scored 14 points. In her last six games combined, Gardner is averaging 13.8 points per contest, along with 5.3 rebounds per game. She also shot a combined 36-for-51 (.706) from the field.
A KNIGHT'S TALE
Sophomore Natalie Knight does all the little things that often go unnoticed, but one thing is for sure, Kansas is at its best when she is on the floor. Through 11 games, Knight leads the Jayhawks with a +12.91 plus-minus rating, which means that KU scores nearly 13 more points than its opponent per game when Knight is playing.
Since the third game of the season, junior Tania Jackson has been in the Kansas starting lineup. She doesn't appear to be leaving the starting five anytime soon either, as Jackson leads the Jayhawks in rebounding with 7.0 boards per game. She is also averaging 7.7 points per contest and leads the team with two double-doubles on the season.
Senior Monica Engelman posted back-to-back double-digit scoring games against Newman and Prairie View A&M, her first in nearly a calendar year. She is averaging 7.4 points per game, ranks third on the team in rebounding with 5.1 boards per contest and is tied for second in assists with 35.
SHE GIVETH and SHE TAKETH AWAY
Angel Goodrich led KU against Prairie View A&M with eight assists and five steals. That effort marked the 42nd game in her career where she posted the team high in assists and steals in the same game.
FIRST WADE, THEN WOODEN, NOW NAISMITH
Kansas seniors Carolyn Davis and Angel Goodrich are two of the 25 NCAA Division I women's basketball student-athletes to be named to the 2012-13 State Farm® Wade Trophy Watch List. The Kansas duo has also been tabbed for John R. Wooden Award Women's Preseason Top-30 List, and are both on the 50-player list for the 2012-13 Naismith Women's College Player of the Year presented by AT&T early season watch list.
O CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
For the third-straight season, seniors Carolyn Davis and Angel Goodrich will serve as team captains for the Jayhawks during the 2012-13 campaign.
Kansas is ranked in the Associated Press Top-25 Poll for the sixth-straight week, coming it at No. 22. KU has also been ranked in the USA Today Coaches Poll each of the eight previous weeks this season, including a No. 20 ranking in this week's poll.
MASTERS OF THEIR CRAFT
The senior writers of espnW collaborated and came up with the top-five players in the nation by position. Once again, Angel Goodrich and Carolyn Davis found themselves among the nation's elite. Goodrich was classified as one of the country's top-five point guards, while Davis was tabbed as one of the nation's best five centers.
SHOWING A LOT OF CLASS
Prior to the start of the regular season, senior Angel Goodrich was named one of 30 national finalists for the prestigious Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.
JOIN THE CLUB
Another milestone to watch for is that of Monica Engelman. The Kansas senior now has 998 career points scored and with only two more tallies will become the 25th player in Kansas history to join the 1,000-point club. Since the table is set, also keep an eye on Angel Goodrich, who now needs 72 points to join the club.
A NATIONAL LEADER
Senior Angel Goodrich entered this season as the reigning national champion in assists per game. Goodrich paced the Jayhawks with a school and Big 12 record 250 assists last season, or 7.4 per game. Goodrich currently averages 6.5 assists per game.
THAT 70's SHOW
Kansas' success during the Bonnie Henrickson-era has been pretty much based on 70 points. When the Jayhawks score 70 or more points, Kansas owns a 94-10 record (.904) during her tenure. When KU opponents score less than 70 points, the Jayhawks are 128-68 (.653) during that span.
When Carolyn Davis scores 20 or more points in a game, the Jayhawks usually come out on top. Davis has 31 20-point efforts in her career and KU boasts a 26-5 (.839) record in those contests.
WHAT DOES FIVE DIMES EQUAL?
In addition to being 50 cents, five dimes from Angel Goodrich in a game also equals a good chance for a Kansas victory. Goodrich has collected five or more assists 73 times in her career with the Jayhawks and KU was victorious in 51 of those games for a .699 winning percentage.
HOW SWEET IT IS
Kansas returned to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 last season for the first time since 1998. It marked the third time in school history that the Jayhawks advanced to the Sweet 16 and was Kansas' 12th NCAA Tournament appearance.
PLAN FOR POSTSEASON
Faithful followers of the Kansas women's basketball program have learned to plan for postseason play. In Bonnie Henrickson's eight previous seasons with the Jayhawks, KU has advanced to postseason play six times, including five straight. In fact, in Henrickson's head coaching career, she has led her team to postseason play 13 times in 15 seasons.
How does a top-25 program stay in the national polls? Sign a top-25 recruiting class. That's exactly what head coach Bonnie Henrickson and her staff did during the early signing period, inking the No. 14-ranked recruiting class in the nation, according to Collegiate Girls Basketball Report, and the top among Big 12 Conference schools. The class also ranked No. 25 nationally by Blue Star Basketball. The Jayhawks signed Jada Brown (6-0, F, Las Vegas, Nev.), Dakota Gonzalez (6-0, G, Pocatello, Idaho), Dylan Gonzalez (6-0, G, Pocatello, Idaho), Caelynn Manning-Allen (6-4, F, Chicago, Ill.) and Keyla Morgan (5-8, G, Rancho Dominguez, Calif.).