KU Women's Hoops Notebook

News, notes and quotes on KU women's basketball, while wishing the No. 21 Lady Jayhawks happy holidays and celebrating their 9-2 start and looking forward to their return to Allen Fieldhouse on Dec. 30 to host Pepperdine.

MAGICAL MCCRAY

Senior forward and All-American candidate Danielle McCray is certainly living up to her preseason billing. McCray is averaging a team-high 21.7 points and 1.9 steals per game, while ranking second on the team with 7.1 rebounds per contest. She's shooting 51.2 percent from the field and a scorching 50.8 percent beyond the arc.

McCray is coming off a 30-point game against UC Riverside last Sunday, followed by a career-high 37 at Houston on Tuesday night. She shot 17 of 22 from the field vs. the Cougars, including an eye-popping 12 of 13 (for 25 points) in the first half.

"McCray is an incredible player and we couldn't stop her," Houston coach Joe Curl told the University Daily Kansan. "We tried the box and one. We tried the triangle and two. We put our best defensive player on her. We tried to do everything we possibly could to slow her down."

McCray, who entered the week ranked second in the Big 12 and No. 16 in the NCAA in scoring, passed Lynn Pride with her 37-point outburst and moved into fifth place on KU's all-time scoring list with 1,778 career points. McCray, the preseason Big 12 Player of the Year, has indeed made her mark as one of the best players in Jayhawk history.

And you can bet she's enjoying all the rewards of her hard work.

"It's something I've dreamed about — being in the spotlight and being on the right track, being successful, helping others," McCray said in preseason. "Just being loyal and trustworthy. It's great to be an athlete that has a lot of success and has more things to come."

PROUD PAPA

The Jayhawks have two players whose fathers played in the NBA and NFL. Freshman forward Annette Davis's dad, Antonio, played in the NBA for 13 seasons, while senior forward Porscha Weddington's father, Mike, played five seasons at linebacker for the NFL's Green Bay Packers.

Phog.net spoke to Antonio Davis after he watched his daughter's first exhibition game in Allen Fieldhouse against Pittsburg State on Nov. 1.

Antonio was excited watching his daughter play her first collegiate game.
    
"It feels good," he said. "She's been working really hard trying to get prepared for the season. I just come out here and support her. It's a little bit of a hike (Davis lives in Atlanta), but I'm going to try to get to as many home games and away games as I can this year."
    
Davis, the 6-9 former power forward/center who played for Indiana, Toronto (All-Star in 2001), Chicago and New York from 1993-2006, works for the NBA Players' Association and NBA TV. But his true passion is being a father and watching Annette play.
    
"I'm just tying to be a good dad. That's a full-time job in itself," he said.
    
Any advice Antonio gives to his daughter?
    
"At this particular point in time, it's just be patient and keep working hard," he said. "It's not a sprint, it's a marathon. You'll be here four years, you work really hard, first of all getting a degree and (working on) your studies. With basketball, nothing comes overnight. You just got to keep working and pushing and working and pushing and things will happen."
    
Davis said he gained a greater respect for Kansas basketball after attending the exhibition game and walking around Allen Fieldhouse.
    
"I didn't realize all this tradition," he said. "I walk by the board (by the KU tunnel and concourse where a montage of past Jayhawk greats are displayed) and Drew Gooden is from Oakland, Calif., where I'm from, and Paul Pierce and Danny Manning and Larry Brown, who gave me my first opportunity to play in the NBA (as head coach of the Indiana Pacers during Davis's rookie season in 1993-94). There's a lot of history here and it's really exciting to look on those walls and see all those great names."
    
Davis, a former standout at UTEP, is glad Annette is a Jayhawk after starring at Bellaire High School in Houston, Texas.
    
"I think she picked the right school," Davis said. "From what I know about the coach (Henrickson), she's great. I just kick back and wait to see how she's progressing, making sure she's enjoying it and understand that it's a tough thing to take on. But it's one she chose, so you just do your best."
    
Despite her lack of minutes playing behind veterans Krysten Boogaard, Aishah Sutherland and Nicollette Smith, Henrickson believes Annette has a very bright future. She's averaging 1.0 point, 1.0 rebound, and 4.6 minutes in seven games.
    
"Annette Davis has really shown a high basketball IQ," Henrickson said during Media Day in October. "She creates a different look at the power forward. She is not the shooter that Nicollette Smith is, and she is not the long, lanky, athletic hang-in-the-air kid that Aishah Sutherland is, but a powerful, explosive player who can score on the block, score from the free-throw line or put it on the floor and shoot it."

BELIEVING IN ANGEL

KU redshirt freshman point guard Angel Goodrich has been a huge boost this season. The 5-4 native of Tahlequah, Okla., leads the team with 8.3 assists per game, entering the week ranked second in the Big 12 and fourth in the NCAA. Goodrich (6.5 ppg), who scored a career-high 20 points against Creighton on Dec. 13, has recorded double-digit assists in three of her last five games.

Goodrich's teammates definitely believe in Angel.

"I love playing with Angel," said Smith, a fellow Oklahoma native and Goodrich's former longtime AAU teammate. "She just makes the game so much easier for everybody around her.
    
"She can push the ball constantly. She has great court vision. She knows how to create and she's a point guard who can score outside and take it in and score. She's just an all-round good point guard. That's the type of point guard we need to win a championship."

AISHAH'S BREAKOUT SEASON

This has been a breakout season for the 6-2 sophomore forward Sutherland, one of the most improved players in the country.

After averaging 5.9 points and 4.7 rebounds per game last season in a reserve role, she's become a true force this season. Sutherland has started all 11 games, averaging 13.0 points (No. 2 on team) and a team-high 7.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per contest. She's posted three double-doubles and scored a career-high 24 points in KU's opening game against Oral Roberts on Nov. 15.

She's starting the season as she finished last year, where she averaged 11.8 points and a team-high 9.2 rebounds during the WNIT (five-game run to the championship game). Above all, she's feeling much more confident and comfortable this season.
    
"I've improved on looking for my shot, running in transition, looking for the ball more, finishing, more confident with actually putting up my shot instead of passing it out," Sutherland said.

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