By Ryan McCarthy
The Kansas women’s basketball team suffered a major setback on Sunday when Carolyn Davis dislocated her knee and tore her ACL. On Monday, players and coaches conferred for their first practice without Davis, the audio story below has their reactions to the news and how the team will adjust:
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(SOUNDBITE OF PRACTICE)
RYAN MCCARTHY, BYLINE: One day after Carolyn Davis’ junior season was ended by a dislocated left knee and torn ACL during the 47-43 defeat to Kansas State, it was obvious the Kansas star player was on her teammates’ minds. But when the whistle blew for practice on Monday, the Kansas Women’s basketball team realizes that it must get back to work so they can secure their postseason goals. Senior forward Aishah Sutherland will lead the Jayhawks in Davis’ absence for the remainder of the season. She finished with 12 points and 17 rebounds against Kansas State
AISHAH SUTHERLAND: “We’re just going to take it easy today and recover and stay focused. We have other game we have to attend to. We just all need to figure out how we’re going to work around this and come together as a team.”
MCCARTHY: Kansas coach Bonnie Henrickson knew it would be difficult day for her team, but with many of the players suffering the same injury as Davis in the past, the team had a lot of experience to lean on this situation.
BONNIE HENRICKSON: “So many of them have been through it. There’s the physical piece there’s also such a big emotional piece.”
MCCARTHY: Without Davis, Kansas will have to rely on freshman forward Chelsea Gardner. Gardner played in 23 minutes and scored seven points after Davis left the game on Sunday. Sutherland gave Gardner advise on how to handle the situation.
CHELSEA GARDNER: “Aishah was motivating me to ‘just step up Chelsea you can do it. I know it’s a big thing for you, but just come out and work and just be motivated.’ “
MCCARTHY: Gardner had a chance at the last shot of the game. Junior guard Angel Goodrich passed the ball to her with five seconds remaining on the game clock. Gardner didn’t make the shot but Henrickson said the opportunity showed what kind of trust her teammates have in the freshman.
HENRICKSON: “I know her teammates have confidence in her. Angel wouldn’t have thrown that in at the end if she wouldn’t of had confidence in her. We watched it again as a staff and we said man Angel put a lot of faith in her throw it in where she did. A couple times she made a good decision. Sometimes she got caught in traffic, but if I’m Chelsea Gardner I’m thinking, Angel’s really good and she threw me the ball. She shouldn’t think ‘oh I missed it’. She should think my teammates have confidence in me and coaching staff does too.”
MCCARTHY: Although Kansas lost a crucial part of their team on Sunday, Henrickson still believes the core they have can help them achieve their postseason aspirations.
HENRICKSON: “We know what we lost, but let’s talk about what we didn’t lose, or how dialed in they were or how defensively how good they were. We’ll have to defend better because when you someone who scores like that you don’t have as much wiggle room on the defensive end, well we can control that.”
MCCARTHY: The Jayhawks next game is at Iowa State on Wednesday night at 7 p.m.
This is Ryan McCarthy reporting for ryannmccarthywordpress.com