No. 22 Kansas puts away UC Riverside 75-60Dec 20, 2009 - 10:28 PM LAWRENCE, Kan.(AP) -- In the moments after No. 22 Kansas' 75-60 win against UC Riverside Sunday, coach Bonnie Henrickson walked onto James Naismith Court inside Allen Fieldhouse and extended a clenched fist to Associate Athletics Director Jim Marchiony.
"Whew," Henrickson said. "That was ugly."
It certainly was.
There were dropped passes, errant passes and passes that sailed out of bounds. There were air balls, missed layups and missed assignments on defense.
And then, in an otherwise sloppy and nondescript 40 minutes, there was Danielle McCray.
McCray scored a season-high 30 points to carry Kansas' stale offense past a scrappy UC Riverside team that also struggled throughout the game.
Sure, Kansas rolled past another outmatched opponent, again stretching a lead in the second half to double digits. But there were few shining moments for the Jayhawks beyond McCray and the obvious joy of a win.
"She ought to be a little weary because she carried 14 other guys with her tonight," Henrickson said.
In their first game after a week full of finals, the Jayhawks struggled to find any offensive rhythm. But McCray, who entered the game averaging 19.1 points, carried Kansas from start to finish with a hot shooting hand.
During one stretch in the first half, McCray scored 11 consecutive points, mixing strong post play with a soft touch from outside.
She also led Kansas with eight rebounds.
"The first four minutes of the game, it was really sluggish and there was really no intensity," McCray said. "The fans weren't even in it because we weren't doing anything for them to get in it. I just felt like I needed to take over."
That she did.
Behind McCray's scoring, Kansas ended the first half on a 20-8 run, taking a 37-25 lead into halftime. It was never close from then on.
The problem, though, was that McCoy's teammates did little to support the preseason Big 12 player of the year.
Aishah Sutherland scored 11 points - all in the second half - and Krysten Boogaard chipped in 10. But even so, the other Jayhawks around McCray were generally non-factors for large stretches of the game.
Kansas committed 20 turnovers, carelessly throwing the ball around.
"We just weren't dialed in like coach Bonnie said to us in the locker room," Angel Goodrich said. "We just didn't show up."
Neither did UC Riverside.
The Highlanders shot 46 percent, and that kept the final score from really getting out of hand. Still, they turned the ball over 15 times, and they failed to box out the Jayhawks.
Kansas grabbed 22 more rebounds, including 13 more offensive rebounds, than the smaller UC Riverside lineup. In turn, the Jayhawks capitalized with 24 second-chance points.
Marissa Rivera led the Highlanders with 21 points and Rhaya Neabors added 17. No other player scored in double figures.
UC Riverside attempted to spread out a bigger Kansas team to create more open shots.
"We don't dribble the ball that well, so we try to score by catching and shooting," UC Riverside coach John Margaritis said. "We do all the work before we catch the ball."
Yet the game revolved around McCray, an All-American candidate who played like such Sunday.
Continuing a season-long trend, McCray dominated from all spots on the court offensively, routinely searching for a shot.
In doing so, she lifted Kansas to a fifth consecutive victory while delivering UC Riverside a fourth straight loss.
"She was dialed in and great," Henrickson said. "That's what All-Americans do."
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