The year 2009 wasn’t as great for Jayhawks fans as 2008 was, but it was still a decent year. Here are the top moments of 2009.
1. March 7, 2009 – Texas vs. Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse – Kansas wins the 2009 Big 12 Regular Season Championship
Long title, I know. Kansas, as you know, won the 2008 National Championship and their fourth straight Big 12 Championship and 2009 was supposed to be a rebuilding year. Everyone was wrong. Kansas wrapped the regular season up with a victory over Texas to win the Big 12 championship outright, their fifth in a row. #9 Kansas was losing to unranked Texas 44-37 at the half and behind Sherron Collins’ 21 points and seven assists, the Jayhawks dominated the second half and won 83-73. It was a great game and easily the best moment of 2009 for the Jayhawks.
2. WNIT run for the Bonnies. 3/23/09-4/4/09 (five games) – Attendance record shattered
Easily the most exciting time for women’s basketball in Lawrence in Bonnie Henrickson’s tenure… Kansas finished the year strong and were snubbed by the NCAA selection committee.
The excitement was at its highest when Kansas hosted South Florida in the WNIT Championship game and drew 16,113 fans, which was the largest attendance for a women’s game in Big 12 history (also an Allen Fieldhouse record for a women’s game). Kansas averaged approximately 2,000 fans at home during the season.
Kansas lost 75-71 in an exciting game, but it didn’t overshadow their accomplishments. McCray set a WNIT record with 147 points in the tournament. She scored 25 points against Creighton, 35 points against Arkansas, 32 at New Mexico and 31 against Illinois State. Including the WNIT Championship game, Kansas won nine of their last 13 games of the season, after they had lost nine of their previous 11 games. They finished the season 22-14.
3. Senior Night Blowout for women’s basketball over #5 Baylor – 3/4/09
Danielle McCray set a career-high 35 points and hit six of seven threes to destroy the #5 Baylor Bears at home 69-45. Kansas led by 25 at the half (42-17) and even though Baylor was missing one of their best players, the Bears were embarrassed on the road while the Jayhawks were sparked by the win, which led them deep into the WNIT tournament. Krysten Boogaard also chipped in 18 points and 11 rebounds.
4. Coach Turner Gill is hired
After winning it’s first five games, the Jayhawks fell apart and lost their last seven games. Kansas fans were promised a Big 12 North title, and they couldn’t win more than one conference game. Amid the losing streak, allegations of mistreatment of players led to the firing of Coach Mark Mangino, the 2007 Coach of the Year, just two years removed from the 2008 Orange Bowl win.
The program was in shambles and in desperate need for a great hire. Rumors circulated of Stanford’s Jim Harbaugh, but he just used it to get a bigger contract. Enter Turner Gill. Who is to say it will work? Only time will tell. But the hire brought hope back into the program, one that needs some after an embarrassing 2009 season.
5. Olympic Gold Medals for Tyshawn Taylor and Danielle McCray
Taylor and McCray represented their university and their country by playing overseas. Taylor led the FIBA U19 World Championship team with an average of 10.8 points in eight games in New Zealand while McCray was the second leading scorer on the USA Women’s World University Games team which was played in Serbia.
6. Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich return to school; Xavier Henry signs with Kansas after long journey.
You know the story by now… Collins and Aldrich decide to return to Kansas, not leaving early for the NBA Draft and Xavier Henry chooses Kansas after John Calipari leaves Memphis for Kentucky. The three decisions make Kansas the popular pick to win the 2010 NCAA National Championship.
7. Kansas defeats North Dakota State in first round of 2009 NCAA tournament and Cole Aldrich gets a triple-double vs. Dayton.
Woodside went off for 35 points for North Dakota State but Collins’ 32 and Aldrich’s 23 was enough to defeat the upset-minded Bison 84-74.
Later, Cole Aldrich records the first official triple-double in Kansas history (13 points, 20 rebounds, and a career-high 10 blocked shots) to push past Dayton, 60-43. Aldrich was one block shy of Shaq’s NCAA tournament record and Aldrich had the sixth triple-double in NCAA tournament history.
8. Kansas pitcher Schaeffer Hall throws a no-hitter in his first start of the season.
You can check out my article on Hall’s performance here.
9. Reesing ends his career holding all major quarterback records at Kansas. Kansas loses to Missouri in Border War 2009.
While it wasn’t a great ending to his career, you still have to love what Reesing did while at KU, including his school-record 498 passing yards in his final game of his career, a loss, to Missouri.
10. Kansas baseball makes the 2009 NCAA Tournament and Tony Thompson is named to Third Team All-America
Thompson led the Big 12 in homers, RBIs, total bases and slugging percentage, yet was only named Third Team All-America, but he returns to the Jayhawks for 2010.