Guarding Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne, the nation’s leading scorer, in the paint led to foul trouble for Kansas. But Jayhawks junior guard Angel Goodrich powered the attack as KU pulled off a 70-64 upset of the third-seeded Blue Hens in the second round of the NCAA Women’s Tournament. The Jayhawks advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 1998.
Kansas will face Tennessee in the Sweet 16 on Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa. Baylor and Kentucky are only other teams besides KU to have men and women’s teams in Sweet 16.
“I am really, really excited,” Kansas coach Bonnie Henrickson said. “That goes without saying.”
Goodrich got the Jayhawks started when she scored the first five points of the game and the first basket of the second half. Throughout the game she matched Delle Donne almost basket for basket and finished with 27 points. “I thought she did a great job today with her decision-making and that was the difference in this ballgame,” Delaware coach Tina Martin said.
Delle Donne ended up with 34 points.
Kansas shot 50 percent in the game and held Delaware to only 37.5 percent in the game. The Kansas forwards were able to work around Delle Donne and outscored Delaware 34-24 in the paint.
Kansas went on a 16-6 run early in the second half and built up a four-point lead with a series of forced turnovers that they converted into baskets. Goodrich kicked off the run, and freshman guard Natalie Knight drained a three pointer and followed with a jump shot. Knight, an Olathe South graduate, hit another one minutes later.
Kansas struggled in the first half with two fouls on senior forward Aishah Sutherland and three on sophomore forward Tania Jackson, but a trio of freshman forwards kept the Jayhawks in the game. Bunny Williams, Asia Boyd and Chelsea Gardner all took turns guarding Delle Donne and were able to score by adjusting their games and relying more on jumpers.