Big 12 Women’s Tournament returning to Kansas City unlikely

By Ryan McCarthy

After 11 years at Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City, Mo., might have said farewell to the Big 12 Women’s basketball Tournament on Saturday.

With no remaining Missouri schools remaining in the BIg 12 conference and much lower attendance than the two other proposed host cities, Dallas and Oklahoma City, this could be the last time Kansas City gets the both the men’s and women’s tournaments at the same time.

I don’t expect. I think honestly we’re saying goodbye to it this year,” ESPN.com’s Mechelle Voepel said.

Some fans are OK with moving the a position that will be better for the entire conference.

“I think both of those places are a little more centrally located than Kansas City especially for the team’s in Texas, not so much Oklahoma, but definitely for the one’s in Texas,” Waco, Tex., resident Gordon Neal said.

However, for some local fans it might put them in a difficult situation.

“I hope they do reconsider coming back to Kansas City in the near future,” Kansas fan Barbra Bohan said.

For now it appears that Dallas and Oklahoma City will hold the tournament for the near future.

“That’s the place that really wants it, and that’s probably the best place for it,” Voepel said. “In terms of central location and where it can make it’s own identity

 

Story Transcript:

RYAN MCCARTHY, BYLINE: Although Kansas City, Missouri and Municipal Auditorium has hosted the Big 12 Women’s Tournament 11 of the 16 times since the Conference’s existence, this might be the last time the city sees the tournament. After 2012, Dallas will host the tournament before Oklahoma City does in 2014. But some local fans, like Kansas fan Barbra Bohan, would like to see the tournament stay where it’s been.

BARBRA BOHAN: “This is the first time I’ve heard about the conference moving out of Kansas City. I know that they’ve had it in Oklahoma City a couple of times, and if you look at the statistics they actually had a better attendance when they were in Oklahoma City. Being a diehard KU fan, however, I really  don’t care about the attendance because I will probably not be able to go to Oklahoma City or Dallas to see them. So I hope they do reconsider coming back to Kansas City in the near future.”

MCCARTHY: However, some fans from the other Big 12 schools embrace the change in location. Waco native Gordon Neal, an avid Baylor fan, likes the idea of having the tournament closer to home.

GORDON NEAL: “Dallas will be an hour and half drive, Oklahoma City is half the distance from here so for us it will be great. I think both of those places are a little more centrally located than Kansas City especially for the team’s in Texas, not so much Oklahoma, but definitely for the one’s in Texas.”

MCCARTHY: One of the biggest problems for Kansas City has been attendance. Although Municipal probably fits as an appropriate venue, the Big 12 has not been able to draw large enough crowds from the Women’s side of the Big 12. ESPN.com’s Mechelle Voepel summed up the current state of the tournament best.

MECHELLE VOEPEL: “I think there’s a mentality that they do want to, but you’re right, there’s not a team left here now that’s Missouri is leaving. The fans support hasn’t been fantastic and I think Oklahoma City and to a lesser extent Dallas, both really do want this event. I really, I’m not necessarily trying to be a pitch person for Oklahoma City, but that’s the place that really wants it, and that’s probably the best place for it. In terms of central location and where it can make it’s own identity. If it’s going to come back here maybe since they’re splitting it (The Big 12 Tournament), maybe they would split it time wise and it might come back here. I don’t expect. I think honestly we’re saying goodbye to it this year.”

MCCARTHY: This is Ryan McCarthy reporting for ryannmccarthywordpress.com

Jayhawks try to move forward without Davis

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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Kansas coaches and players on what the team will look like without Carolyn Davis

Story Transcript:

(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