Bonnie Ball!

Something special is happening with Kansas women's basketball, and the fans can feel it.

After advancing to the WNIT championship game last April, Jayhawk fans are pretty excited about head coach Bonnie Henrickson's 2009-10 team.

The Lady Jayhawks drew 3,525 fans for their exhibition opener against Pittsburg State and then 4,201 fans for the final exhibition game versus Emporia State. This is a marked improvement from last November during KU's exhibition games versus Fort Hays State and Washburn, where Kansas drew 1,489 and 1,742 fans, respectively.

Here's hoping KU women's basketball fever will keep rising and many more fans will storm the Phog for the Jayhawks' regular-season opener against Oral Roberts this Sunday at 2 p.m.

There are plenty of reasons to make Kansas women's basketball a priority this season. You have a once-in-a-decade player in Danielle McCray, an All-American candidate who can do everything on the basketball court but dunk. Her partner in crime on the wing, Sade Morris, is a smooth player who keeps improving every year and poised for a banner season.

Up front, 6-5 center Krysten Boogaard is much stronger and confident this season and could become a dominant post player. She recorded a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds in KU's victory over Emporia State.

Then there is sophomore Aishah Sutherland, an athletic, high-rising 6-2 forward who could become the first KU women's player in school history to dunk in a game.

Sutherland, who finished last season with a bang, is starting this year right where she left off. She posted double-doubles in both exhibition games, averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds.

As good as Sutherland and the others are, the one who will make this Jayhawk attack click is redshirt freshman point guard Angel Goodrich. She's an uncanny passer, a calm and poised playmaker who will bring KU's fast-break attack to a new level and get her teammates many easy buckets in transition. She dished out 10 assists against Pittsburg State and seven dimes versus Emporia State.

"She sees things that most people don't see," Henrickson said.

"Her ability to see the court, she's born with it." McCray added. "Not everyone can do that. That's what's great playing with her."

And then listen to junior forward Nicollette Smith.

"That's a type of point guard we need to win a championship."

This Jayhawk team is more talented, deep, and athletic as any in the Henrickson era. Off the bench, Smith is a potent outside shooter who stretches the defense, while guard Monica Engelman has emerged as the best true freshman of the bunch and could become senior McCray's replacement after she graduates.

Seniors Kelly Kohn and LaChelda Jacobs add experience from the guard spots with Kohn a three-point specialist and Jacobs a great defender. Fellow senior Porscha Weddington is an athletic, rebounding presence inside, while freshmen forwards Annette Davis and Carolyn Davis have each shown flashes of great potential during the exhibition season. Junior college transfer Marisha Brown is a slasher and strong defender at guard, while fellow juco transfer Rhea Codio is a quality point guard with a high basketball IQ who can spell Goodrich.

Codio and company's road to the Big 12 Championship and NCAA tournament begins Sunday afternoon in Allen Fieldhouse against Oral Roberts.

As Henrickson said after KU's victory over Illinois State in the WNIT Final Four last April:

"Bring two of your closest friends (for the championship game) and will fill this place up."

It may just be the first game of the season, but why not "fill this place up" Sunday.

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