KU Women Win, 106-80, Over ORU

It was a cold, rainy Sunday afternoon in Lawrence as the KU women's basketball team kicked off its regular season against Oral Roberts.

But inside Allen Fieldhouse, the No. 20 Jayhawks opened the game scorching hot, scoring 64 points on 61.9 percent field-goal shooting the first half, marking the most points in a half since scoring 65 against Wichita State in 1979. The 64 points were also the fourth-most in a half in school history.

While Kansas cooled down in the second half (46.4 percent) and had a subpar defensive outing, the Jayhawks still broke the century mark and won comfortably, 106-80, matching their point total in the season opener last year against Sacred Heart and marking the only other time KU's scored 100-plus points in coach Bonnie Henrickson's era at Mount Oread.

Henrickson liked the way her team shared the ball and got good looks during this up-and-down, high possession game, but lamented her team's defensive breakdowns. KU gave up too many uncontested threes, fast-break buckets (15), and committed 23 fouls.

"I thought that we shared and shot the ball well, but we just need to be better on the defensive end," Henrickson said. "Defensively we have to get better in a hurry.  You have to give credit to them, I thought they attacked us and drove at us. ... I was just so mad defensively that I did not enjoy the offense. Maybe when I watch the film tonight I will just fast forward through the defense and just watch the offense to feel better about it."
Still, it was a relatively easy win for Kansas. The Jayhawks dominated the glass, 51-31, and outscored ORU 18-0 on second-chance points.

And it's always fun in the Phog when the Jayhawks score over 100 points, although the fans weren't crazy about all the fouls and free throws. ORU went 23 of 32 from the charity stripe, while KU made 23 of 34 free throws.

"It would have been a great game, if both of us had not sat at the free-throw line all afternoon," Henrickson said.

Preseason All-American forward Danielle McCray led KU with 27 points, including 21 in that pivotal first half. Sophomore forward Aishah Sutherland scored a career-high 24 points on a sizzling 11 of 15 shooting. Junior center Krysten Boogaard added a double-double (19 points, 10 rebounds), while senior guard Sade Morris (12 points) and redshirt freshman guard Angel Goodrich (10 points) also scored in double figures.

McCray started the scoring off this afternoon with a post-up six-foot jumper. The do-everything forward (she added 11 rebounds, seven assists, two blocks and a steal) and her teammates kept on scoring...and scoring...and scoring that first half to lead 64-42 at halftime.

But ORU wouldn't surrender. The Golden Eagles began the second half with a 12-4 run to cut the lead to 14 (68-54). Oral Roberts, though, would get no closer. Kansas scored the next seven points to put this game away and eventually stretched the lead to 26 with over three minutes remaining.

Henrickson wasn't pleased with her team's play immediately after halftime.

"We need to be better out of the locker room," she said. "That's a choice."

ORU star senior forward Janae Voelker led all scorers with 29 points, while freshman guard Kevi Luper added 24.

Henrickson was quite impressed with the Golden Eagles, who whipped UT-Pan American in their opening game two nights earlier, 98-65.

"That team will win a lot of games in their league (Summit), Henrickson said. "They are positioning themselves to have a very good year."

Next up for the nationally ranked Jayhawks is a road game versus Iowa Wednesday night at 7 p.m. KU whipped the Hawkeyes, 76-55, last year at Allen Fieldhouse.

"The bulls-eye's big," Henrickson said. "We got to respond to that challenge on the road."

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