KU women beat Nebraska in NCAA Tournament openerBy KATHLEEN GIER
Special to The Star
Angel Goodrich is a finalist for the Nancy Lieberman Award as one of the best point guards in women’s basketball. Now she has an NCAA Tournament victory to add to her ever-growing list of accomplishments.
Goodrich scored 20 points and led 11th-seeded Kansas to a 57-49 upset victory Sunday against former Big 12 foe Nebraska, the No. 6 seed in the Des Moines Regional.
The Jayhawks, 20-12, back in the tournament for the first time since 2000, won their first NCAA game since a first-round victory in 1999. They will play No. 3 seed Delaware, 31-1, in the second round at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Goodrich finished with five assists and played 39 minutes despite picking up two early fouls on charges. After recovering from two ACL injuries that ended her first two college seasons, she has played every game her junior year and led the nation with 7.5 assists per game.
“It wasn’t just this game that I felt like I needed to be more aggressive,” Goodrich said, “it has been this whole season really.”
She met with coach Bonnie Henrickson before the season about being more of a scorer. On Sunday, Goodrich led KU in scoring and assists, drew a charge and shot nine of 18 from the field. Goodrich also has been working with assistant coach Aqua Franklin, who played point guard for Texas A&M.
The victory also was a landmark for Henrickson, KU’s eighth-year coach who had to settle for WNIT appearances in recent years after a slew of season-ending injuries to starters.
“I’ve been blessed to work for administrators that realize three out of the last four years I have had a pro tear an ACL,” Henrickson said.
Despite losing junior forward Carolyn Davis to a torn ACL and dislocated knee on Feb. 12, the Jayhawks have rallied and won 20 games for the third time in the last four years.
Freshman forward Chelsea Gardner started in Davis’ place and had the best night of her career with 15 points and 16 rebounds. She played 35 minutes and shot six of eight from the field.
“I gained confidence all night,” Gardner said. “I just came out and felt that I needed to step up more if I wanted to contribute and I did.”
Nebraska, 24-9, shot just one for 19 from three-point range.